Review: Patek Philippe World Timer Ref. 5230
Sporting a dandified dial among other subtle changes, the Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230 appeals to the stylish connoisseur
One of the most agonising dilemmas, and also the most pleasurable conundrums, a watch collector could ever face is having to choose a Patek Philippe complication, especially if it is to be one’s first complicated Patek Philippe watch – that it wouldn’t be the last is another matter for the very fortunate individuals. Just when your heart says it should be an annual calendar piece, your brain tells you it can only be a chronograph model. Then there’s the world timer, which you’ve set your eyes on since forever…
Don’t bother asking Siri. Unless you want to send her straight into shut down mode – or a complete system meltdown. And don’t type this question into Google unless you want to break the Internet, which is far, far worse. OK, we jest. But it’s not like we have a solution and we have been debating for years. Just know this: there is no right or wrong choice. There is only the timely choice, like this Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230. Let us explain.
New for 2016, Ref. 5230 is poised to replace all existing world timers at Patek Philippe. This means that it is the latest and most updated version of the watch. Doubtlessly, the manufacture constantly updates all of its timepieces, but for the world timer, this is especially germane, seeing as the world is also constantly changing. In particular, indication of the world’s time zones would see all kinds of fluctuations every now and then. Some zones are now defined by new cities: Dubai instead of Riyadh, for instance, and Brisbane instead of Noumea (capital city of New Caledonia).
In 2014, Moscow switched from UTC +4 to UTC +3. As such, Ref. 5230 is the perfect platform to reflect all these changes, although, the world time display isn’t the only part of the watch to be updated. Patek Philippe took the opportunity to rework the case, dial, and hands, giving the watch a refreshing new look that, however, isn’t too far from its original mien.
While it comes with the traditional Calatrava case, its lugs and bezel deserve special mention. Winglet-style lugs lend it an old-school vibe and the narrow, polished bezel distinguishes it from the earlier world timers. Unlike Ref. 5131, this watch does not have the “Patek Philippe” and “Geneve” engravings on the bezel – for every one collector who would be pleased with this touch of refinement, another will bemoan the loss of a small but treasured detail.
The hands are another part of the watch that got an update. Before, the gold hours hand is ring-shaped. Now, it reflects the contours of the Southern Cross constellation. The minutes hand, too, changed from Dauphine to a lozenge shape. Both hands mark their individual paths around the dial, which features a hand-guillochéd center featuring an elaborate vieux panier basket weave pattern. This center portion of the Patek Philippe world timer is always a source of delight for watch connoisseurs, as it typically showcases exquisite guillochage in various styles (grain d’orge, sunburst, etc) or cloisonné enamel featuring, appropriately, a world map.
Otherwise, the core aesthetics remain unchanged, with a cities ring encircling the dial and the 24-hour ring with day/night indication. Local time refers to time in the city indicated by the red arrow tip at 12 o’clock, while the remaining 23 time zones can be deciphered at a glance. Control the 24-hour ring by pushing the button at 10 o’clock, which is synchronised with the hours hand. The minutes hand, however, can be adjusted freely by manipulating the crown – especially handy when you’re travelling to cities with half- or quarter-hour deviations.
- Dimensions: 38.5mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, world time with 24 time zones
- Power Reserve: 48 hours
- Movement: Self-winding Calibre 240 with 24 time zones and micro-rotor providing 48-hour power reserve
- Material: White or rose gold
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather in black or chocolate brown with fold-over clasp
This article was first published in World of Watches.