The history surrounding the first perpetual calendar wristwatch is a little hazy, but the Patek Philippe Ref. 97975 is widely regarded to be one of, if not the first wristwatch to feature a perpetual calendar. As a result, there’s something special when Patek Philippe releases a new perpetual calendar watch. And this was exactly what happened earlier this year at Baselworld 2017 when they announced the new brown alligator straps Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar fake watches, which is a little special because it adapts and combines traits of various vintage Patek Philippe perpetual calendar watches.
There’s something quite special about wearing a perpetual calendar watch from Patek Philippe, or any perpetual calendar watch for that matter. It relieves its owners of the arduous task of having to adjust the watch to account for the inconsistencies of the number of days in a month. Helpfully, it also displays the current day and month, and also the date and phase of the moon. It is almost as if there is a microprocessor inside the watch.
Starting with the case, it is 40mm in diameter and done in white gold. Personally, I feel that 40mm really is the sweet spot, in my opinion, and the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G appears neither too bulky nor too dainty on the wrist. The case has many elements worth talking about and the design seems to have been influenced by the Ref. 3449 perpetual calendar from the ’60s. For example, the bezel and lugs are stepped, which adds more visual appeal to the case, and not to mention complexity in construction and finishing. The stepped lug concept, in particular, is an interesting touch that is seldom seen on new watches.
The construction of the entire case is also quite unusual in that it is stamped from a block of white gold and then machined down and finally finished with a mixture of machine and hand-finishing. Stamping in metalworking is often thought of as a low-cost process, but the final product that we see here is as well constructed and finished as any other high-end Patek Philippe watch that I have seen. In fact, if I hadn’t volunteered this piece of information to you, you probably would never have known that the case was stamped.
Unfortunately, despite being made from a single block of gold, water resistance is still rated at just 30m. Though not necessarily a deal-breaker for this kind of watch, a higher water resistance would have been welcomed, especially for folks who are less careful with their watches around water. The last thing you want is to damage your precious Patek just because you were a little careless while washing your hands.
The dial comes in a warm ivory cream color that I like very much. The color is rich and consistent throughout the dial, but it should be noted that it is lacquer and not enamel. The dial configuration is classic Patek Philippe: apertures for the day and month at 12 o’clock, a moon phase display and date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. To the right of the date sub-dial you also have the leap year indicator, and to the left you have a day/night indicator. All of the perpetual calendar indications are well-sized and easy to read at a glance.
Elsewhere on the dial, the hour markers are marked out using a combination of large Arabic numerals and round markers, which are actually black-coated 18k white gold. They look exceptionally well-made and have smoothly curved edges. They are also filled with luminous material, and they give off a bright blue glow in the dark that instantly calls to mind Rolex’s Chromalight luminescent material. The minute tracks are in black and the printing is, as you would expect from the Arabic numerals Patek Philippe copy watches, simply immaculate.
But perhaps the most attention-grabbing element of the dial are the syringe-style hour and minute hands, which are inspired by the Ref. 1591, a unique stainless steel perpetual calendar from the ’40s. It was auctioned by Christie’s in 2007 for slightly over $2.2 million and the story goes that it was once owned by a Maharajah. In any case, you don’t often see syringe hands on new Patek Philippe watches, so this makes the new ref. 5320G look and feel quite special. Like the hour markers, the hour and minute hands are made out of blackened 18k white gold.
The Caliber 324SQ movement within is new. While older perpetual calendars from Patek used the Caliber 240Q, the Ref. 5320G breaks tradition by using this new movement, which is essentially the base Caliber 324 fitted with a perpetual calendar module. The biggest difference is that the Caliber 324SQ relies on a full rotor to wind its mainspring, which should mean quicker winding when worn on the wrist. The old Caliber 240Q uses a micro-rotor.
The Caliber 324SQ has all of the niceties afforded to modern Patek movements, which includes a Gyromax balance, a Spiromax balance spring, and a large 21k gold rotor. It consists of 367 components, and despite the use of a full-size rotor, it is fairly thin at just 4.97mm. It beats at 4Hz and it is finely finished with generous applications of perlage on the main plate, as well as beveling and Côtes de Genève on the bridges. That said, it doesn’t quite have the level of detail that you would find on an A. Lange & Söhne and that’s something prospective buyers should take note. Power reserve isn’t totally impressive either, with a minimum of 35 hours and maximum of 45 hours.
The new Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G is a charming watch with many nice design touches. I especially like the stepped case and lugs, as well as the ivory dial and hour markers. The syringe-style hands are quite cool too, but, believe it or not, I’m actually indifferent towards them.
For the few and lucky folks in the market for a perpetual calendar watch from Patek Philippe, the new Ref. 5320G represents an interesting choice. Compared to the Ref. 5327 or Ref. 5140, the Ref. 5320G is definitely more refreshing and stands out. While it costs considerably less than the Ref. 5140 and about the same as the Ref. 5327, I guessed a lower price-tag would be attached to the watch. If you are lucky enough to be in such a position, all these delicate replica watches don’t really make for a bad problem to have.