If the 5303 looks like a rather unusual Patek Philippe to you, well, then, you are one astute Patek connoisseur. You see, the Patek Philippe 5303R Minute Repeater Tourbillon Grand Complication is the first minute repeater from the manufacture that displays the striking mechanism on the dial side, making this a big and important first for the Genevan watchmaker. First launched late last year in a limited edition at the Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019, the 5303R returns in a new, more balanced iteration.
Brand: Patek Philippe
Model: 5303R Minute Repeater Tourbillon Grand Complication (reference 5303R-001)
Dimensions: 42mm-wide, 12.13mm-thick
Water Resistance: Don’t even think about it.
Case Material: 18kt rose gold 5N with inlays in 18kt white gold
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire crystal
Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber R TO 27 PS
Power Reserve: Minimum 40, maximum 48 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator leather with large square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp in 18K rose gold 5N
Price & Availability: Available on request — should be above half a million in any hard currency.
Patek Philippe prides itself for its involvement in the process of miniaturizing grand complications for wristwatches ever since the 1920s — things began in 1925 with what is currently known to be the first perpetual calendar wristwatch. Reference 5303R-001 is testament to that know-how by offering a minute repeater and a tourbillon in a movement that has fewer parts (356 components) than, say, this Audemars Piguet with a simple chronograph module over a base movement (365 parts).
All the goodies one expects from a Patek Philippe Grand Complication are here: the massive third wheel elevated over the plane of movement plates with achingly beautiful, hand-bevelled, twisting spokes; a governor (that regulates power fed to the minute repeater during its operation) with a golden Calatrava Cross over it; and a mahoosive tourbillon bridge mirror polished to perfection.
Add the pierced, black-lacquered, solid 18kt white gold hands and the oddly mismatched subsidiary seconds to the mix, and the result is a dial of striking beauty… and that’s before you start the chiming function. Although no one expects the re-invention of the minute repeater from Patek Philippe, the overall layout does remind us a bit of the (mind you, also excellent) Chopard L.U.C Full Strike that misses out in the tourbillon department but adds a unique monobloc sapphire crystal gong to create the loudest repeater we have ever heard. Click here for a video of that in operation.
Things get real rococo when you pull your loupe-covered eyes away from the movement and take a glance at the ring that covers the periphery of the movement, as well as the profile of the case and lugs. These white gold inlays with “foliage engravings” can also be found on the slider used to power up and initiate the minute repeater. An unexpected “high-tech” detail is the hour circle’s “black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim” with powdered rose-gold markers as we rarely see sapphire crystal used for the markers’ ring, and a black-lacquered version is all the more unusual.
The Patek Philippe 5303R Minute Repeater Tourbillon Grand Complication does all it is expected to strengthen and lengthen the longstanding status of Patek Philippe Grand Complication watches. Following a brief 12-piece limited edition launched last year, the 5303R-001 is here to stay as part of the manufacture’s current collection. Price is available upon request, but you should be prepared to spend in the high-six figures. You can see more grand complications at the company’s website here.