ince it made its first pocket watch with a minute repeater (1845), Patek Philippe has established itself as one of the gifted interpreters of the music of time. This remarkable know-how comes to the fore even in the most extraordinary creations, such as the Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatch featuring a minute repeater with cathedral gongs or the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime with five chiming functions including two patented global debuts.
The manufacture also offers the broadest selection of regularly produced minute repeaters, watches with classic or cathedral gongs and models featuring a minute repeater with or without additional complications (perpetual calendar, tourbillon, World Time, chronograph). But never before had Patek Philippe crafted a minute repeater with a striking mechanism that was visible on the dial side.
The Ref. 5303 was unveiled in 2019 in a limited edition of 12 watches as a world debut on the occasion of the “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019”.
Now, a slightly modified version of the Ref. 5303 Minute Repeater Tourbillon has become part of the current Patek Philippe collection. This new complication for enthusiasts of repeater timepieces stands out with its open architecture without a conventional dial. The repeater mechanism – for the first time with the hammers and gongs – can be admired in action without removing the watch from the wrist. This is a further expression of Patek Philippe’s customer-centric development philosophy. The transparency aspect also applies to the tourbillon: the back side of its cage can be seen beneath the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. In this veritably perfect composition, the filigreed steel parts glisten against the backdrop of the rose gilt plate.
The aesthetic of the manually wound caliber R TO 27 PS was subtly reworked to emphasize its appeal. For instance, certain components were pierced, as is common for skeletonized movements. Of course, Patek Philippe also mobilized its heritage in the manual finissage of movement parts: it decorated the plate with Genevan circular graining, applied a delicate perlage to the recesses, and decorated the hammers with a circular satin finish.
The inimitable rose-gold case sports a wide, cambered and polished bezel as well as white-gold inlays with foliage engravings that grace the caseband and the strap lugs. The white-gold slide in the left-hand case flank that activates the minute repeater features the same motif. The hour circle is black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim with powdered rose-gold markers. The movement can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back and is framed by a white-gold rim. Its open-worked decoration echoes the case inlays and the repeater slide.
This fantastic lesson in watchmaking artistry, elegance, and manual finissage is complemented with the unique sound that is typical of Patek Philippe repeater timepieces. As is the case for every Patek Philippe minute repeater, this melody of time is personally rated with great care by manufacture president Thierry Stern.