Basel 2013 was another event that many Patek Philippe enthusiasts were waiting for. Patek may have disappointed some as it was focussed on slight variations to existing models. Nonetheless, they unveiled some very nice models such as the 5227 Calatrava, a new 8-day Gondolo, and a variation to the popular 5170G chronograph. We’ll focus on the pieces we find interesting.

Before we get into the watches, let’s take a look at the Patek Philippe booth itself. They’ve re-used the same booth from previous years, and the main booth is invite-only. Those that weren’t lucky enough to get an invite still had to pleasure of viewing the 2013 novelties through the surrounding displays.

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Main booth (courtesy of PuristPro.com)

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One of the unlucky ones (courtesy of PuristPro.com)

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Movement display (courtesy of PuristPro.com)

Calatrava 5227

The new Calatrava model measures 39mm and comes in either a 18ct. white, rose or yellow gold case. This new watch shares many characteristics of other Calatrava’s but the stand out feature is the larger size and cream toned dial.  Another key difference is the officer style case back that acts like a dust cover but still allowing you to admire the decorated movement inside. We love that the hinges for the case back are completely hidden inside, keeping the rear of the watch very simple and neat. This case back is a perfect opportunity for an engraving. The strap on the 3 variations are the glossy versions of the strap, keeping in line with the other Calatrava models.

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The new 5227 Calatrava

The movement is a the Patek in-house caliber 324SC, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 48 hours. The balance spring is made from Silinvar and the watch operates in a very narrow tolerance of -3 to +2 seconds per day. This is certainly a much tighter tolerance than the popular COSC certified watches which are between -4 to +6 seconds per day. The case and movement appears to be finished extremely well, and as a result, the watch bears the Patek Philippe Seal as with all post 2009 Pateks. Patek chamfers the edges of the movement parts by hand and pays particular attention to the Geneva striping and pearlage on the movement. Finally a 21ct. gold rotor keeps the watch wound when on your wrist.

The piece is a great no-nonsense dress watch and definitely has a timeless feel to it. The Ref. 5227 Calatrava is priced at USD$37,300 in both rose and white gold and USD$35,400 in yellow gold. A premium over the similarly featured 5127 that retails for approximately USD$29,000 so you are paying a premium for the case back and larger size.

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5227 officer’s style case back with internal hinge

Gondolo 5200G

The Gondolo collection is a rectangular styled collection of watches that often does not get enough attention. This year Patek have released the white gold Ref. 5200. The 8-day day and date watch comes in either a blue or silver dial. The Art Deco inspiration is reflected in the 2-step sides of the case and the hour markets on the dial. The movement is a new caliber, the 28-20 REC 8J PS IRM C J. Sounds like a mouthful but essentially it was derived from the immensely popular movement from the 10-day Ref. 5100.  This new caliber is missing the two days because it takes a bit more power to run the date and date complications.

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The new Gondolo with silver dial (blue face is a winner though)

Proving Patek’s watchmaking ability, the watch is able to change the date and day indicators simultaneously within 3 milliseconds of 12 midnight. The movement utilises Patek’s Spiromax balance spring and Pulsomax escapement, the first 28,800 vph movement to use both. The Pulsomax escapement with a Silinvar lever and escape wheel requires no lubrication. This saves energy each time each time the lever contacts the escape wheel. Furthermore, the Silinvar based materials make it extremely hard and resistant to magnetic fields.

I’ve never really warmed to the Gondolo collection however I must say that this is a very nice piece. The watch measures 46.9 x 35.20 mm and suits people with larger pieces, however if you are looking for a change to the usual round faced watches, add the 5200G to your shortlist.

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Chronograph 5170G

The 5170G chronograph released this year has some small but striking changes from the original 5170J that was released 3 years ago in yellow gold. This year the case is made of white gold. It is pretty much the same manually wound Patek Caliber CH 29-535 PS with 65 hour power reserve and very impressive watchmaking finishing. However, the white gold case is paired with a revised dial. Instead of the roman numerals at 12 and 6 with stick markers at every other hour, it is replaced by Breguet styled numeric markers. It is not a huge change but certainly gives the watch a new refreshing look.

Pricing on the Patek Philippe 5170G is USD$87,100. Although it may look a bit “cold” to some, I actually find the 5170G a nice update to the original 5170J. The stick and roman numeral markers on the J has less appeal to me that the Breguet numerals.

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Breguet markets on the dial

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The newer 5170G (left) vs. the current 5170J (right)

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The well renowned 5170 movement. Impeccable.

Until next year, we’ll be waiting patiently for Patek Philippe’s novelties. Fingers crossed there will be some bigger changes or entirely new models given that 2014 will be their 175th anniversary.