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The Calibre 89

Patek Philippe 150th anniversary

Devised in 1989 to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, this piece is the most complicated portable timepiece ever made, and remains unequaled to this day. Exhibiting 24 hands and with a total of 1,728 parts, the pocket watch is the result of five years of research and development, taking another four years to bring into physical existence. The watch also includes two dials, eight disks, 61 bridges, 129 jewels, 184 wheels, 332 screws, 415 pins, and 429 mechanical components.

The case is a substantial 88.2 mm in diameter, and 41.07 mm from top to bottom.

On the front side, its indications feature a full perpetual calendar showing the year in an aperture; the moon’s age and phases; a split-seconds chronograph; and a second time-zone. The reverse shows astronomical indications, with sidereal time, equation of time, times of sunrise and sunset, display of the seasons, equinoxes and solstices, and the signs of the zodiac, together with a rotating celestial chart. Acoustic indications offer grande and petite sonnerie; a minute repeater which chimes on four gongs; and an alarm on the fifth gong. Swiss patents are awarded for the date of Easter indication, which varies according to the ecclesiastical calendar, and for the secular perpetual calendar with retrograde date indication, displaying the day’s date based on a cycle of four hundred years, and requiring no adjustment until the 28th century.

Just four watches were made: one each in 18k white, yellow and rose gold, and one in platinum. In addition, a prototype is displayed in the Patek Philippe Museum.

The REF. 3960 Officer’s watch

Patek Philippe 150th anniversary

The celebration of 150 years was, said Philippe Stern, a moment to “do something interesting for collectors.” Certainly, the Calibre 89 achieved this, and far more – but it wasn’t the only remarkable piece during this big anniversary. From a design point of view, the REF. 3960 Officer’s watch commanded attention, with its distinctive straight lugs, gold screwed bars, turban-style crown, and solid, polished, hunter-style hinged case back, which opened to reveal an engraved cuvette. A rare enamel dial featured painted Breguet numerals, blued steel hands and subsidiary seconds dial. Two thousand examples were made in yellow gold, 150 in white gold, and 50 in platinum.

REF. 3960: caliber 215 movement. Porcelain-white dial, small seconds. Three-part case, snap-on caseback with engraved inscription protected by hinged dustcover. “Turban”-style crown. Diameter: 33 mm excluding crown. Height: 8.2 mm. Geneva Seal hallmark.

The REF. 3974 Minute Repeater and Perpetual Calendar

Patek Philippe 150th anniversary

1989 was also the year in which Patek Philippe relaunched the wrist minute-repeater, with the REFs. 3974 and 3979. The first of these two has become a rare and now near-legendary minute repeater, in such demand that it has broken records at auction. Within an applied gold cabochon minute track, a subdial at three o’clock displays the month and leap-year cycles; a subdial at six o’clock shows the date and moon phases. The nine o’clock subdial shows day and 24-hour time, with the area between “18” and “6” shaded to represent night time. The perpetual calendar will require adjustment just once a century. Movement is the self-winding caliber R 27 Q, featuring a 22k gold microrotor with hand guilloche decoration. The minute repeater’s hammer and gongs can be seen through the display-back crystal. Housed in a case measuring 36 mm in diameter and the most complicated wristwatch of its time, it remained part of the company’s collection until 2000, produced in very small numbers in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, or platinum.

REF. 3974: Self-winding caliber R 27 Q movement, hallmarked with the Geneva Seal. Movement with 467 individual parts. 22k microrotor with hand guilloche. The minute repeater’s hammer and gongs can be seen through the display back crystal. Case diameter: 36 mm. Height: 12 mm.

The REF. 3979 - Minute Repeater

Patek Philippe 150th anniversary

Now no longer in production, this self-winding wristwatch with minute repeater on two gongs is the legitimate successor to the stately REF. 2524/1 (originally produced by Patek Philippe for Tiffany and launched in 1955). The REF. 3979 is fitted with the ingenious caliber R 27 PS movement; with 342 parts, it includes a minute repeater mechanism with two gongs and a 22K gold microrotor. The porcelain-white dial features Roman numerals, with a subsidiary seconds dial.

REF. 3979: Gentleman’s self-winding wristwatch with minute repeater on two gongs. White “porcelain” dial, painted Roman numerals, minute track; subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock. Blued steel feuille hands and counterpoised seconds hand. Caliber R 27 PS, with 22k gold microrotor. Case diameter: 33.4 mm. Height: 10.2 mm.

The REF. 3969 Jump Hour

Patek Philippe 150th anniversary

The smooth tonneau-shaped case of this exquisitely delicate manually wound watch pays tribute to the 1920s-era jump hour wrist watches, which were introduced by Patek Philippe. The watch features an outer black minute track and single Breguet minute hand, and displays the hour via a small disk that rotates beneath the aperture at twelve o’clock; each time the minute hand passes 12, the disk “jumps” to the subsequent hour. Produced in a limited series of 500 pieces – 450 in rose gold, and 50 made in platinum.

REF. 3969: caliber 215 HG manual-winding movement. Free-sprung Gyromax® balance. Aperture for the jumping hours, outer black minute track, Breguet numerals, Breguet minute hand. Two-part tonneau-shaped case with snap-on caseback featuring engraved commemorative inscription: “Patek Philippe Genève 150e Anniversaire 1839-1989.” Case width: 27 mm. Height: 8 mm. Geneva Seal hallmark.

The REF. 5500 Pagoda

Inauguration of Plan-les-Ouates workshops

Commemorative watches were produced by Patek Philippe to celebrate not just anniversaries, but also certain important chapters in the company’s history – and so, when the workshops and headquarters at Plan-les-Ouates (near Geneva) were inaugurated in 1996, uniting all production facilities under one roof, collectors were delighted to be offered the REF. 5500 Pagoda wrist-chronometer. It was a piece guaranteed to be exclusive and so, once the last watch was made, the dies were destroyed. This means that the REF. 5500 is now very rarely seen. The edition was limited to 1,100 pieces in 18k yellow gold, with a gold dial; 500 in 18k rose gold, with silvered dial; 250 in 18k white gold, with salmon-colored dial; and 150 in platinum, with black dial. The watches are fitted with an unusual rectangular case whose case band, when seen from the side, is shaped like a pagoda; the dial features Roman numerals, with subsidiary seconds at six o’clock. The REF. 5500 is powered by the manually wound caliber 215, which includes a Gyromax® balance.

For the first time in watchmaking history, Switzerland’s official chronometer certification bureau the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and the Geneva Seal Authority join together to issue a new exclusive individual rating certificate for the men’s Pagoda. This unique certificate is created for Patek Philippe to acknowledge and officially recognize the exceptional quality, precision, and excellence of the company’s craftsmanship.

With an alligator strap, a buckle shaped like the top of a pagoda, and a back case engraving with the commemorative year – 1997 – and the word “pagoda”, the watch is accompanied by a silver commemorative coin, and delivered in an oriental-style presentation box.

REF. 5500: Caliber 215 PS manual-winding mechanical movement. Movement diameter: 21.5 mm, and height: 2.5 mm. Hours, minutes, seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Number of parts: 130. Case dimensions: Width: 29.2 mm. Length: 40.8 mm. Height: 11.6 mm.

The REF. 4900 Pagoda

Inauguration of Plan-les-Ouates workshops

Another piece celebrating the inauguration of the Plan-les-Ouates workshops and headquarters in 1996 is the REF. 4900, a companion ladies’ version of the REF. 5500 Pagoda. The dial features diamond markers in place of numerals and is contained within a rare, rectangular flared “bombé” case (the term, French for “bomb”, is used to describe an inward-curving shape) – fashioned into the unique pagoda curve. Five hundred were made in yellow gold, 150 in rose gold and one hundred in white gold.

The ladies’ watch is fitted with a delicate caliber 16-250 manual wind, the smallest movement to be hallmarked with the Geneva Seal, which denotes the supreme quality of Geneva watchmaking in all Patek Philippe’s mechanical movements.

REF. 4900: Caliber 16-250 manual winding mechanical movement. Movement diameter: 16.3 mm, and height 2.5 mm. Hours, minutes. Number of parts: 99. Case dimensions: Width: 24.5 mm. Length: 31.8 mm. Height: 8.2 mm.

The REF. 5029 Minute Repeater

Inauguration of Plan-les-Ouates workshops

In 1997, to celebrate the inauguration of the new Patek Philippe Plan-les-Ouates workshops and headquarters just outside Geneva the previous year, a limited series of just 30 pieces is made of the REF. 5029 – a self-winding minute repeater chronometer. Fitted with the automatic movement caliber R 27 PS, the watch has a gently curved officer’s-style case and straight screw-set lugs. This simple but elegant style with applied Breguet numerals belies the incredible complexity of the nickel-finished lever movement beating beneath, which includes a Gyromax® balance, 22k gold microrotor, free-sprung regulator, and the two gongs responsible for chiming the hours, quarters, and minutes. The REF. 5029 was made available as 10 pieces in 18k yellow gold with champagne colored dial; 10 in rose gold with silver colored dial; and 10 in platinum with a black dial.

REF. 5029: Caliber R 27 PS self-winding minute repeater movement. 22k gold microrotor. Applied Breguet numerals and hands in gold. Round case with hinged back and inscription “Commemoration 1997.” Geneva Seal hallmark. Case dimensions: 35 mm.

Star Caliber 2000

A timepiece to mark the third millennium

Unveiled to mark the start of the new millennium, the double-faced Star Caliber 2000 pocket watch embodies a reassuringly traditional look and feel while representing an extraordinary new pinnacle of engineering; with 21 ingenious complications, it stands as the third most complex portable timepiece ever made.

Weighing more than half a kilo and with a case measuring 73 mm in diameter, the watch comprises 1,118 parts, among which are 336 screws, 292 pins, 135 wheels, and 73 springs.

Among the 21 functions is a five-gong Westminster chime, the Star Caliber 2000 being the first and only portable mechanical timekeeper in the world to play this legendary carillon with all notes in the correct and original sequence. Other functions include a perpetual calendar, day and night display, power reserve, and times of sunrise and sunset. The engraved, open-worked, sprung cover opens to reveal a rotating celestial chart within, depicting the apparent movements of the stars – with an ellipse framing the portion of the sky visible from a given location – as well as the angle of the progression and phases of the moon, and the time that Sirius passes across the local meridian.

The watch is produced in a limited edition of 20 pieces: four sets of four watches each in yellow, rose, and white gold, as well as platinum; and a fifth set with platinum cases. The six Swiss patents it was awarded include a mechanism ensuring sunrise and sunset times always correspond to the current date; a mechanism allowing the selective opening of the front or back sprung cover; and one for the Sky Moon mechanism showing sky chart with many stars and the lunar orbit and phases of the moon.

The REF. 5100 – 10-day

A timepiece to mark the third millennium

To welcome the new millennium, Patek Philippe creates a limited edition flourish of three thousand fascinating watches under the reference 5100. Of these, 1,500 were made in 18k yellow gold with a white dial; 750 in 18k rose gold with a brown dial; 450 in 18k white gold with a blue dial; and 300 were in platinum with a white dial.

The model’s rectangular case was shaped to recall the fluid outline of the aquatic “winged” manta ray. The dial, fitted with yellow gold Dauphine hands, shows applied Arabic numerals, a power reserve indicator at twelve o’clock, and subsidiary seconds register at six o’clock. The fascinating and irreverent lines of the manually wound REF. 5100 house a true horological prodigy, one of the most advanced calibers ever devised by Patek Philippe. This entirely new chronometer movement, the caliber 28-20/220, features a 10-day power reserve – a first in the history of watchmaking. The movement uses two barrels to achieve an astonishing 240 hours of reserve power; despite the limited space available given the rectangular shape of the case, the watch has the endurance of a marathon runner. The transparent caseback allows full view of the movement.

REF. 5100 – 10-day: Rectangular, manual winding chronometer caliber 28-20/220 with 10-day power reserve, power reserve indicator, and seconds. Case dimensions: Width: 33.9mm. Length: 46mm. Height: 12.8 mm. Certification: exclusive certificate issued jointly by the Official Swiss Chronometer Bureau and the Geneva Seal Institute. Geneva Seal hallmark.