With its built-in minute repeater, monopusher chronograph, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar the automatic Patek Philippe Triple Complication Ref. 5208P lacks only a tourbillon escapement to become a real flagship of the enormous fleet of ultra-luxury watches that one of the oldest Swiss-based brands currently has on offer.
As one might have expected with such a complicated model, the new Patek Philippe Triple Complication Ref. 5208P is presented in a massive (not only looking but actually weighting) case.
Crafted from 950 platinum and only 44 millimeters in diameter, the precious case could even have been considered “compact” if not for its formidable thickness. Being almost 16 millimeters in height, the mirror-polished case will give a head start even to some professional divers.
However, the reason for the extreme thickness of the case doesn’t have to do with increased water resistance or thickness of its sapphire crystal. It is all about the movement.
The new Caliber R CH 27 PS QI is based on the Caliber R 27 PS natural-born automatic “minute repeater” that we have already seen in their relatively simple Ref. 5078P and Ref. 7000R models presented earlier.
Featuring a sexy micro-rotor design, the base caliber is only 28.00 mm in diameter and just 5.05 millimeters in height, which is considered slim for an automatic movement with a built-in minute repeater complication.
However, adding a pair of expansion modules atop the original caliber (and thus creating the R CH 27 PS QI movement) made the tiny engine both larger and thicker increasing its dimensions to 32.00 mm in diameter and whopping 10.35 millimeters in height.
Looking to official specs, it looks like the major part of the blame goes to the perpetual calendar module.
While the chronograph mechanism with its column wheel and the horizontal clutch system is only 2.40 mm thick, the calendar module adds almost three extra millimeters to the grand total.
The movement has also become much more complex.
While the base unit comprised “only” 331 parts, the chronograph module and the perpetual calendar mechanism added 160 and 210 parts respectively, raising the total parts count to even more impressive 701 parts.
It must be a real nightmare to service if you live far from the civilized world.
Well, that is the name of the game with Grand Complications. Owning any of them is like owning a supercar: you either can afford it or you can’t.
On the surface, however, the 5208P looks stunningly elegant and deceptively simple.
Unlike offerings from some “young and aspiring” brands that tend to stuff their high complication timekeepers with functions not worrying a bit about the legibility of the final product, Patek Philippe always takes the problem of legibility with extreme prejudice.
Just looking at the charcoal-colored solid-gold sunburst face of this gorgeous timekeeper tells you that the Swiss watchmakers put countless hours into designing its “user interface.”
The face is logically split into two main zones: the pair of chronograph sub-dials takes are placed between 8 and 9 o’clock (the 12-hour counter) and between 3 and 4 o’clock (the 60-minute totalizer,) slightly below the horizontal axis.
The triple instant calendar display stays in the upper half of the dial closer to the minute track.
Counterbalancing it, the moon-phase indicator is placed at 6 o’clock. It shares the space with a baton-shaped subsidiary seconds hand.
Of course, managing all this data isn’t that easy thing to do. I mean, the watch is extremely easy to operate its basic functions: to start, stop, and reset the chronograph, you only need to press the single push-piece at 2 o’clock and to activate the minute repeater you have to move the platinum slide positioned on the left side of the case at 9 o’clock.
However, to set the calendar, you will have to sequentially press four corrector push-pieces for the day, month, moon phase and date placed between 11 and 12, 12 and 1, 5 and 6, and 6 and 7 o’clock respectively.
Luckily, there is a bespoke correction stylus in ebony and 18-karat white gold delivered with every watch.
See also: A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Striking Time in White Gold and Platinum (Refs. 145.029 / 145.025)
Photos: Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Triple Complication 5208P specification
Price: $800,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber R CH 27 PS QI, 32.00 mm in diameter, 10.35 mm in height, 701 components (Caliber R 27 PS base movement with minute repeater complication: 331 parts; chronograph module: 160 parts; perpetual calendar module: 210 parts,) in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve, Barleycorn guilloche on the rose gold micro-rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, moon phase, minute repeater, chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: 950 platinum
Size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Case height: 15.70 mm
Dial: Charcoal-colored solid-gold sunburst
Hour markers: 18-karat white gold, applied
Hands: Dauphine-shaped, 18-karat white gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Matt black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, secured with a comfortable-looking 950 platinum foldover clasp