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Something old, something new

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 3 min read
Something old, something new
Patek Philippe, one of the most coveted watch brands, does not disappoint with this year’s collection, showcased at Baselworld 2017
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Patek Philippe, one of the most coveted watch brands, does not disappoint with this year’s collection, showcased at Baselworld 2017

Last year was a busy and eventful one for Patek Philippe, a brand that can trace its beginnings to 1839 with the launch of a pocket watch. The watchmaker celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Nautilus and came up with a beautiful timepiece highly coveted by watch collectors.

To cap a successful year, the manufacture launched the book Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography by Nicholas Foulkes. The 500-page tome chronicles the history of the brand, starting from its founder to the present-day owners, the Stern family (see “Tale as old as time”).

This year is no different for Patek Philippe. Its timepieces were showcased at Baselworld 2017, the leading watch and jewellery show that is on until March 30. Options gets a preview of some of these outstanding watches, including a gorgeous vintage inspired piece.

One for the ladies
The Ref. 7130 World Time ladies’ watch comes with a blue-grey hand-guilloched dial centre surrounded by diamonds and a white-gold case. The mechanical timepiece indicates the time in 24 zones worldwide via an adjustable disc. The blue-grey alligator strap provides an elegant finish to the watch.

Retro chic
Patek Philippe has launched a new selfwinding perpetual calendar timepiece with a vintage look. The case has a lacquered cream dial graced with luminous numerals and hands as well as three-tier lugs. The watch was inspired by exhibits in the Patek Philippe Museum from the 1940s and 1950s. Its heart is a newly developed caliber 324 with double apertures for the day/month and an analogue date.

Two in one
The Ref. 5960/1 self-winding flyback chronograph with annual calendar in stainless steel unites two extremely popular Patek Philippe complications and features a new ebony-black opaline dial. The personality and uniqueness of this timepiece is highlighted by its face, which has three apertures arranged along an arc for the day, date and month as well as a chronograph monocounter at six o’clock.

Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography by Nicholas Foulkes was launched last year, but made its debut this month in Singapore. The book has more than 600 images, 544 pages, 25 chapters and a 40-page watch reference appendix, and measures 289mm by 305mm.

It is a book for both watch collectors as well as history buffs, as it tells the story of one of the oldest watch brands. Foulkes, a renowned historian, author and editor, has combined in-depth research with lengthy interviews with owners, staff and watchmakers past and present to narrate the evolution of the manufacture.

The story of Patek Philippe begins with founder Antoine de Patek’s early life in Geneva, his meeting with watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe right up to the purchase of the company by the Stern family in 1932.

Two interesting titbits from the book: Queen Victoria bought a unique Patek Philippe timepiece for her husband, Prince Albert, and Foulkes had the rare opportunity to interview the widow of Swiss jewellery designer Gerald Genta, the man who designed the first Nautilus in 1976.

There are many more interesting nuggets of information in the book. Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography is available for order directly through the Patek Philippe website ( for CHF220 ($308). Or you can make enquiries at The Hour Glass, Cortina and Emperor, which carry limited stocks.

This article appeared in Issue 772 (March 27) of The Edge Singapore.

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