Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930

The Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 combines a column-wheel chronograph with a flyback function and a world timer, all packaged in the most exquisite 39.5mm white gold case. Angus Davies explains why this is an incredibly tempting ownership proposition.

This detailed review of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Patek_Philippe_World_Time_Chronograph_Ref. 5930_dial - ESCAPEMENT Magazine by Angus Davies

For most of my life, the world of haute horlogerie has fascinated me. The very notion of a time-served watchmaker crafting parts, some of which are microscopic in scale, and polishing them to a blemish free outcome is, in my opinion, quite magical. Moreover, despite having cradled thousands of watches in my hands over the years, my obsession with timepieces has never waned.

I consider myself to be very fortunate. Each day I write about beautiful examples of watchmaking. On many occasions, I have been invited to meet my horological heroes and observe them at close quarters as they manipulate tools with dexterous hands, crafting spellbinding watches. I have toured fascinating ateliers, some with sepia-tinged histories, and drooled over gorgeous pocket watches from a bygone era. Quite simply, I am paid to indulge my passion for horology and, at this stage of my life, I could never envisage retiring.

However, no job is without its frustrations and even my seemingly utopian career presents challenges and drawbacks. For example, travelling to Switzerland necessitates visiting my local airport and boarding a plane. Whilst I appreciate the importance of security, I always struggle to speedily remove my shoes, belt and jacket in the necessary record-breaking time. Thereafter, while wondering if I placed my toothpaste in a clear plastic bag, I am ushered towards a stale-smelling security guard with oversized hands and face the indignity of an intimate body search. Later, I have to board my flight, safe in the knowledge that my legs will be crushed and my in-flight meal may well contain a pathogenic strain of salmonella.

Once I have arrived in Switzerland, I can look forward to the eye-watering cost of accommodation and food. For example, I know that a pizza and glass of apple juice will necessitate payment with gold bullion. I adore Switzerland with its picturesque landscapes and polite residents, however, with its super-strong Swiss Franc, restrained consumption is the order of the day. I know a six months residency in this landlocked nation would probably address my gluttonous appetite.

Having imparted some of the professional downsides to my occupation, I hope you, the reader, can now appreciate the sacrifices made to deliver editorial about interesting timepieces. One such ‘interesting’ example of high-end watchmaking is the new Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930. It is my desire that after reading this review, my choice of subject and the sacrifices I have made, such as nearly succumbing to deep vein thrombosis and food poisoning, will be judged as justified.

The dial

The dial of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 is an arresting shade of blue, inculcating my eyes with desire. The tonal shade is neither dark or pale and appears quite contemporary. Despite there being many watches on sale with blue dials, this particular hue is very distinctive. Furthermore, the sumptuous character of the blue dial is augmented with a hand-crafted circular guilloché pattern.

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The 18-carat white gold, dauphine hour and minute hands feature three facets and are lined with white luminescent treatment. Each hour is indicated with neat, faceted and luminescent batons.

While the hour and minute hands indicate the local time, a 24-hour ring, positioned adjacent the central area of the dial, allows the wearer to determine the time of day in one of the 24 places shown on the city disc. The 24-hour ring also incorporates a day/night indicator to mitigate the risk of phoning home at an unsociable hour.Patek_Philippe_World_Time_Chronograph_Ref. 5930_dial3 - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus DaviesA chronograph scale sits between the day/night indicator and the city disc. The central chronograph seconds hand spans over the 24-hour ring, interfacing with the chronograph scale. This scale is marked with ¼ second integers, matching the frequency of the balance wheel and the tempo of the chronograph seconds hand.

A 30-minute chronograph register is positioned at 6 o’clock and features crisp white, Arabic numerals and snailed detail.

It would be quite feasible for the dial, with its plethora of elements, to appear cluttered, but it actually proves simple to read and the complications are intuitive to use.

The case

The 39.5mm diameter 18-carat white gold case is a paragon of tasteful restraint. This watch does not crassly boast about its wearer’s wealth, but exhibits a softly spoken style that is very becoming. Furthermore, the height of the case, 12.86mm, is relatively slender when considering the numerous parts of the modular movement and the complications provided.

Patek_Philippe_World_Time_Chronograph_Ref. 5930_crown - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The case of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 features highly polished surfaces, save for a few areas which are satin brushed. The curved vertical plane of each push pieces is highly polished, but the surfaces which enter the case, once pressed, are satin brushed. This may sound a minor detail, but the skill necessary to execute these two contrasting finishes, positioned in very close proximity to each other, indicates the superiority of the finish.

Another illustration of the aesthetic prowess of Patek Philippe is the charming design of the chamfered, ‘winglet style’ strap lugs. Indeed, if the eyes follow the arcing line of the case band, they will discover the leading edge of lugs emanate outwards at 45°. The visual result is extraordinary, recalling the design of watches of the 1940s and 50s. Indeed, the lugs usurp the perfunctory offerings of some lesser brands but, by default, take a little longer to realise. It is this painstaking attention to detail which explains Patek’s reputation as one of the finest practitioners of watchmaking.

The push pieces on the right hand side of the case operate the column-wheel chronograph. However, this is not merely a regular chronograph but a flyback chronograph, proving ideal for timing successive intervals. Located between the two push pieces is a highly polished crown with well defined knurling and the brand’s Calatrava logo on its vertical plane.

 

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Located at 10 o’clock, a third push piece advances the city disc and hour hand. If, for example, the wearer flies from London to New York, he merely needs to press this push piece to advance the city disc until the words ‘New York’ are presented at noon. The hands will then display the local time in the ‘Big Apple’. If the wearer wishes to see the time back in London, the prevailing hour will be shown on the 24-hour ring adjacent ‘London’ on the city disc.

The watch is presented on a matt navy, hand-stitched leather strap paired with a white gold fold over clasp. This ensemble delivers a magnificent means of uniting the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 with its privileged owner.

The movement

The Caliber CH28-520 is a self-winding movement, featuring a column-wheel chronograph wth a vertical clutch. This movement has been used in various Patek Philippe watches before. Indeed, one variant of this movement, the Caliber CH28-520 IRM QA 24H, appears within one of my all-time favourite watches, the Chronograph Annual Calendar Ref. 5960/1.

Patek_Philippe_World_Time_Chronograph_Ref. 5930_CH28-520HU - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

In the case of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930, the Caliber CH28-520 provides the slender base movement, measuring only 30mm in diameter with a height of only 4.9mm. A separate time-zone module is added to the movement, increasing the overall height to 7.91mm. In its desire to make the timepiece as slender as possible, great care and skill are required to bring the base, module and dial together and, in so doing, uniting the functional and non-functional parts.

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The 30-minute chronograph register on the Caliber CH28-520 had to be relocated in order to accommodate the 24-hour ring. The complete movement of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930, with the base and module combined, is referred to as the Caliber CH28-520 HU.

Patek_Philippe_World_Time_Chronograph_Ref. 5930_movement - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

It seems almost unnecessary to discuss the finishing of any timepiece sporting the ‘Patek Philippe Seal’. Indeed, such is the high regard in which this maison is held, ‘Patek’ is a byword for perfection. However, I would feel disrespectful in not mentioning the matchless finissage or by not pointing out just a few of the specification highlights of the Caliber CH28-520 HU.

The bridges feature circular Côtes de Genève motif and the bevels are superbly executed, evincing a spectacular gleam. The jewel and screw sinks are highly polished. The screws have chamfered rims and slots. Wheels are circular grained and the main plate is decorated with perlage, delivered in different sizes. The Gyromax® balance incorporates four adjustable weights, positioned in-board on the rim of each balance wheel spoke. By positioning the weights inboard, there is less turbulence when the balance wheel oscillates, hence enhancing precision.

Finally, another aspect of this movement which indulges one of my horological predilections is the welcome space between the bridges, according a partial view of the gear train and balance.

Closing remarks

Over the many years I have spent obsessing about watches, initially collecting the odd example and then going on to write about them professionally, I have acquired certain horological fetishes.

My preferred dial colour is blue and I will always have a tendency to favour this regal shade when selecting a watch. I adore hand guilloché dials and obsess about lucid displays. White gold or platinum are my two favourite metals and I cherish the push piece feel of column-wheel chronographs.

 

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The Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 is not platinum, nor does it sport any grand-feu enamelling, another personal weakness, but its specification features most of the elements of my idealised watch.

I sometimes find the world timers a tad too busy for my taste, but not in this instance. The movement finishing is excellent. The 39.5mm case formed a comfortable marriage with my wrist. Even the retro-inspired ‘winglet-style’ strap lugs imparted a nod of appreciation from my direction.

At this point, you are probably expecting me to say that I have already ordered a Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930. Regrettably, no. The recommended retail price of £48,480 (RRP as at 16.6.2016), at this juncture, is beyond my financial grasp. This is not to criticise its price, its flawless creation and high quotient of hand craftsmanship justifies every penny.

Sadly, the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 reminds me of one of the biggest occupational challenges I regularly have to endure. While an esteemed example of watchmaking evokes broad smiles of appreciation to appear on my face, there comes a time of realisation when, a no-compromise timepiece, with a justifiably high price, leaves me feeling bereft.

Patek Philippe has an uncanny ability to delight and torment me at the same time. I know its splendiferous watches are among the finest, but likewise I know that many of its best creations are too expensive for this middle-aged father of two. Nevertheless, I am delighted that the Genevan brand makes watches to such an exceptional standard as it preserves skills and tradition for the next generation.

Finally, please be reassured, I intend to continue writing about Patek Phillipe’s watches, despite suffer numerous occupational challenges, in order to meet the needs of ESCAPEMENT’s loyal readers.

Technical specification

  • Model: Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930
  • Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 39.5mm; height 12.86mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; world-timer with 24 time zones; day/night indication; chronograph.
  • Movement: Calibre CH 28-520 HU; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 50-55 hours; 343 parts.
  • Strap: Blue hand-stitched alligator leather strap with large square scales paired with a 18-carat white gold fold-over clasp
  • Price: £48,480 (RRP as at 14.6.2016)

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