Top 5 Patek Philippe Grand Complications With Black Dials

Top 5 Patek Philippe Grand Complications With Black Dials

Collector’s Guides • 30 Nov 2015

Top 5 Patek Philippe Grand Complications With Black Dials

by Low Ka Wei


For practitioners of stealth wealth, so-called “Q cars” like Audi’s RS models – high performance vehicles masquerading as the more pedestrian sedans, estates and 4x4s found elsewhere in the line up – have long been the transport of choice. Likewise, nothing beats the understatedness and capabilities of a Patek Philippe grand complication for the discreet wrist jewellery. And what better colour to keep undesired attention away than black?

Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph
A stunning, no-nonsense piece containing arguably the most useful complication of them all: the chronograph. This one is additionally a rattrapante, allowing the timing of two events simultaneously, e.g. that of one lap as well as that of the entire race. The enamel dial is a work of art, recalling elegant 1940s designs without pandering to nostalgia. What’s underneath is a revelation too: a superb CHR 29-535 PS calibre developed in house based on classic chronograph principles such as manual winding, two column wheels and a horizontal clutch.

Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5370 Manual winding Platinum case Leather bracelet Men's watch/Unisex CHR 29-535 PS Fold clasp Chronograph
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph is additionally a rattrapante, allowing the timing of two events simultaneously. (Credit: Time and Watches)

Ref. 5204 split-seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar
The daddy of the Ref. 5370. Released in 2012, it is the first Patek with this combination of complications to use the new full-manufacture CHR 29-535 PS Q calibre. In true house style, the dial is well organised despite the complexity of the watch, with information spread out over a dozen easy-to-read indications.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5204 Rose gold Crocodile skin Men's watch/Unisex Silver dial Chronograph Perpetual Calendar
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5204 split-seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar is the first patek with this combination of complications to use the new full-manufacture CHR 29-535 PS Q calibre. (Credit: The Keystone Watches)

Ref. 5078 self-winding wristwatch with minute repeater
If you wondered what a three-hand piece is doing here, you have just proved our point. That hard-to-spot lever on the left means this is a minute repeater. Patek’s simplest one, in fact. But “simplest” being relative, of course, for beneath that simple dial lay 342 individual components. And like all Patek chimers, this one has to pass the personal listening test of the two Sterns before it can be delivered to the customer.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater 5078 Platinum case Crocodile skin bracelet Men's watch/Unisex Sapphire Glass Black dial Roman numerals Minute Repeater
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5078 self-winding wristwatch with minute repeater is Patek’s simplest minute repeater, but beneath the simple dial lay 342 individual components. (Credit: Forum Getat)

Ref. 5539 tourbillon with minute repeater
Another hyper-unpretentious piece, with the tourbillon visible only from the crystal case back. Unbeknownst to others, the plain-looking dial is in fact a 18k gold disc covered with fired black enamel; flip the watch over, and behold the third movement wheel that’s made from hardened solid gold. Ticks all the right boxes for detailing that matters to old-money.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater 5539 Manual winding White gold Crocodile skin Men's watch/Unisex Not water resistant Sapphire Glass Black dial
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5539 is a minute repeater with tourbillon, an exceptionally complex and fine watch that is also unpretentious. The signature feature of the movement is the third wheel in hardened solid gold. (Credit: Worldtempus)

Ref. 5216 tourbillon with minute repeater and perpetual calendar with retrograde date and moonphases
It is Patek’s fourth most complicated watch, containing what the company says are the five most popular complications. Other superlatives define this piece: an enlarged case for sonorous chimes; a penurious maximum deviation of -2 to +1 seconds per day that earns it the Patek Philippe Seal; and a 122-year period before the moon-phase mechanism deviates from the true lunar cycle by one day.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar 5216 Manual winding Platinum Crocodile skin Men's watch/Unisex Sapphire Glass Black dial Minute Repeater Chiming clock Tourbillon Date Month Year 4 Year Calendar Perpetual Calendar
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5216 rises to a further level of sophistication, with the five most popular complications in a perceptibly larger case that encloses a more voluminous resonant cavity to enhance the sonority of the chimes. (Credit: Thekeystone)

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