Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition A global debut for watch connoisseurs and collectors in Southeast Asia
Patek Philippe is presenting a new grand complication with a minute repeater and a tourbillon. For the first time, its open architecture allows the hammers and gongs of the strikework to be observed at work on the dial side. It is a fascinating manifestation of high-end watchmaking artistry and perfect manual finissage. The extraordinary timepiece in an exclusive rose-gold case with white-gold intarsias is being launched as the precursor of a 12-watch limited special edition created especially for Patek Philippe’s “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019”.
Among connoisseurs, Patek Philippe minute repeaters are in high esteem due to their unique sound quality, the result of a continuous know-how transfer from one generation to the next. The fortunate owners of such timepieces can also enjoy observing the mechanisms through the sapphire-crystal case backs. But now, devotees of these resonant celebrations of time can watch the strike sequence executed by tiny hammers on gongs even while wearing the watch on their wrists.
The new Ref. 5303 Minute Repeater has an open architecture that exposes the heart of the movement. This degree of transparency and the unique case design might also remind brand enthusiasts of another Patek Philippe creation: the Ref. 5304 Grand Complication with a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and a retrograde analog date.
That watch was launched as the Ref. 5104 in platinum in 2006, then presented in a new rose-gold version as the Ref. 5304 in 2014. It shifted the focus on the innovative perpetual calendar mechanism with displays based on a system of thin sapphire-crystal disks. The new Ref. 5303 echoes the tradition of the Ref. 5304 by adopting the aesthetic elements, thus propagating the style of a family of inimitable timepieces. And it pays tribute to the combination of two grand complications: the minute repeater and the tourbillon.
Saluting the caliber R 27
The heart of the new Ref. 5303 is the manually wound caliber R TO 27 PS, an advanced version of the legendary caliber R 27 that helped establish the reputation of Patek Philippe watches with minute repeaters. To assure a clear view of the strikework, the movement was partially reengineered to expose the gongs and hammers on the dial side of the plate. This redesign required some twenty new components that had to be integrated in an already very compact space. The plate was slightly enlarged while the bridges retained their original dimensions. The extra height needed to accommodate the rearranged gongs and hammers was largely offset by the elimination of the dial.
However, the thickness of the hammers had to be somewhat reduced in the direction of the center of the watch to prevent the hour hand from being obstructed along its trajectory. The quest for transparency applies to the tourbillon as well: the underside of its cage can be viewed through an aperture of the plate. At Patek Philippe, tourbillons are usually not visible through the dial to prevent daylight from prematurely ageing the lubricant, which could compromise rate accuracy in the longer term. For this reason, the tourbillon timepieces of the Genevan manufacture can only be seen through the sapphire-crystal case back on the wrist side.
The new Ref. 5303 is an exception that exposes the tourbillon on the dial side but the sapphire crystal was endowed with a UV protective coating that shields the lubricants against the harmful effect