Diary of a Patek Philippe collector – considering a 5167R (25th April 2020)

The fact of the matter is that I am considering very seriously buying a 5167R. How did this happen?

When I worked in London, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a very specific code of dress. Suits were blue or grey. Pinstripe was optional. Shirts tended to be either blue or white. Shoe colour was not optional. It was anything so long as it was black. Socks obviously black.

It worked brilliantly. This was my people. It was also something that had been drilled into me from my schooldays. One could tell where someone didn’t go to school by whether they made the outrageous faux pas of wearing brown shoes with a blue suit.

When I started working at a hedge fund in the mid-1990s, a new type of uniform emerged. Chinos. Plain blue oxford cotton shirt. Brown oxford shoes. It was an unspoken code.

Any deviation from the “code” was instantly recognisable. Of course, nobody ever said anything because one didn’t need to. As Reginald D. Hunter accurately observed, the British class system was developed to discriminate against people who look the same.

It occurs to me that my watches follow a similar code. My dials are either blue, black or occasionally white/silver. Just like I wouldn’t ever wear a brown suit or a pink suit, I wouldn’t wear a watch with a brown dial or a pink dial. Would I?

Actually, while I am on the issue of pink dials, can I ask why people call it salmon? It is pink. Do owners feel a certain sense of unease about calling it pink so instead say salmon? My apologies to any pink dial owners. Obviously, we are all entitled to our subjective tastes. But pink suits and pink dials are not for me. Just saying.

Having said that, what on earth is happening to me as I am now considering a watch with a brown dial. Specifically the Patek Philippe 5167R.

My son owns the 5167A. It is a watch he received to commemorate becoming a doctor after six years of study at university. I love that watch. For me, it is close to being the perfect everyday wearer. Aquanauts work for me. The nature of the composite strap and the curved lugs make it fit perfectly for me. It is also incredibly comfortable. Yes, the style of the 5167 works for me as a perfect everyday watch.

Has to be close to being the perfect daily sports watch.

However, I don’t feel comfortable buying a second 5167A and so decided to take a look at the 5167R.

It just fits perfectly with the composite strap and curved lugs

Well, of course, the actual style of the watch works effortlessly. But hang on, not only is it a sports watch made in rose gold but, good grief, it has a brown dial. These two factors should totally rule this watch out of consideration. And yet, the exact opposite has occurred.

It happened like this. Amidst this period of lockdown, my family and I were sitting outside in the garden. It was a beautiful sunny day. I was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a crisp white cotton shirt. In my hand was a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc. It was absolutely perfect. I looked down on my wrist and visualised what watch would work well in this “perfect” scenario. It was the 5167R – that is what I saw.

Why? I kept asking myself how I could possibly like a sports watch in rose gold? Well, for one thing, it is a most overt incongruity. It sticks out as incongruous and that, for me, appeals. For a daily wearer, I need my watch to have something that keeps me looking at it. To be honest, after a few days on my wrist, modern Rolex just don’t do it. Some are better than others, but to have something on my wrist 100+ days per year, I need something more.

And what about that brown dial? Again, the contrast between the dark brown dial of the 5167R and its rose gold case is a superb match. It works. The combination just has something.

I am not a social animal. Hence, I don’t enjoy parties. And I don’t do dinner parties. I work from home, watching a Bloomberg screen and playing adult space invaders. A classic introvert who is truly happiest in an introverted world. What matters to me in a watch is what my head tells me makes me happy. In all likelihood, nobody will ever actually see my 5167R on my wrist. But I will see it. And that’s why I am going to get one. And when I look down at it, I will also envisage the 5167A sitting on my son’s wrist. Yes….. this works. And another journey begins…..