Insight,  Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe 2019 – The “Profiles” case

Hello everyone,

Even after we spent quite some time with watches, I noticed we often miss out on cases’ details. Especially considering what they precisely offer for someone who loves craftsmanship and how brands create appealing aesthetics. The case profile is all about what makes a watch’s attractiveness, whether for aesthetical reasons or for what it says about the effort and skills that was put in its designing and crafting execution.

It is because of such well chosen details that an object is better in the end.

Nowadays, brands often promote their watches through a size increase: thicker case, huge lugs, width starting over 42mm etc… This is even true for some traditional high-end watches following this easier path.

Patek Philippe, among all the brands we are used to getting interested in, are maybe the ones who kept that smaller size. It is even true for complicated watches (cf. the Minute-Repeaters history article). They are certainly the ones who performed a subtle and very interesting work on their case shapes the most, especially with such wide diversity. This is something we tend to overlook because of their discretion and refinement but this is a very important topic.

Hence, I always found that exploring Patek’s cases, from the lugs to the bezels, was one of the most interesting exercise. It indeed teaches a lot about what they do (and “how”) on that time consuming matter (explaining also a part of price differences). It is about grooves, round curves, inner angles, open-worked lugs, engraved pushers, gaudrons décoration, polishing squared shapes, making a complicated watch look thinner etc…

Consequently, it also highlights what the others don’t do. The dial, though it is the first thing we have a look at when holding a watch, isn’t necessarily the only main thing to look at and can even lead to miss what can make a difference between brands.

A watch’s appeal and sensuality often take their origin in the case itself.

Patek is usually about subtlety. The interest we can get from a watch can be something we don’t guess where it is coming from. That’s why I love looking closely at the whole case side as it helps enjoying this hobby of ours a different way.

The Profile tells a lot from a watch design and crafting, so let’s have a look at the diversity and interests of Patek’s 2019 novelties profiles.

Of course, there are many more in the last 20 years you can have a look at. Just to mention a few, the 5975, 5227 or 5070 could be added for instance.

Have a nice read!

MEN WATCHES

6300G Grandmaster Chime

Patek Philippe 6300G_010
6300G Grandmaster Chime

This masterpiece (coming from the 5175 Grandmaster Chime) has one of my favourite case aesthetics (as long as one likes the “clous de Paris” pattern, which is my case, reminding elegant 1950’s lighters’ decoration).

Patek Philippe 6300G_010

5078G Minute Repeater

Patek Philippe 5078G_010
5078G Minute Repeater

In this model, the case also has to take into account how the sound will be transmitted from the gongs to the outside.

Contrasting with the majority of today’s models, we can notice its rounder curves at every levels. Yet, it isn’t excessive. The symmetry or more precisely the balance from the top side to the back, in 3 layers, is looking like perfection.

Even the glass smoothly coming up the bezel’s top is finely tuned.

5520P Alarm Travel Time

Patek Philippe 5520P_001
5520P Alarm Travel Time
On the contrary to many Patek models, the whole design from a lug to the opposite one, through the caseband, is continuous (from the 5524G “Pilot” line). Maybe that such flat and pure polished choice is also made because of the 2 crowns on both sides, avoiding unnecessary heaviness.

As with the 5078, the case design has to take into account the sound propagation (as it is based on a Minute Repeater sound mechanism).

5172G Chronograph

Patek Philippe 5172G_001
5172G Chronograph

After I saw it in the metal, I’d like to underline the gorgeous new 5172G’s style. It borrows the 5320’s case, built a little differently (not stamped as they modified the crafting process because of its size), with the same added 3-tiered lugs. These stepped lugs require some sure skill from the polishers in order to preserve the edges.

This is what I talked about earlier: keeping the aesthetics, even if requiring more time, care and mastery (thus more expensive). Clearly, for many cases, this kind of difficulty is something the brand accepts to invest on.

Compared to the 5320, the pushers make a very important addition: this is a stunning overall work to admire in the metal if you can.

5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar

Patek Philippe 5212A_001
5212A Weekly Calendar
This 5212A is maybe the more surprising one as it is something I didn’t notice in the metal. The bezel and back sides are inversed in a quite geometrical way whereas the case band is totally round. Interesting and good looking I think even if less consensual.

5231J Enamel World Time

Patek Philippe 5231J_001
5131J Enamel World Time
I like the 5230’s case, more angular than the previous generations but with very appealing lugs (same as in the recent 5930G). Nevertheless, it has to be seen as a whole as the case itself remains quite straight and simple.

Surprisingly, this 5231J looks less angular from the profile than what it looks from the front side. Certainly that the round glass takes its part in this impression.

5235R Annual Calendar “Regulator”

Patek Philippe 5235_50R_001
5235R “Regulator”

From a first look this pure design case looks quite simple. However, you can notice the very nice “V”-shaped gap between the bezel edge and the case that is different from the other profiles I gathered here. Again, this isn’t random but a volunteer choice after comparing different versions on drawings. This is exactly the kind of details that we won’t notice but that give another “taste” to a watch (as long as we have a good magnifying glass though!).

The alternate polished and brushed parts are also of high interest. For instance, it isn’t just a 100% polished bezel and a 100% brushed caseband. It alternates both finishing techniques on each of them. Again, not the easier way, but clearly the most interesting.

You can notice additionally the shorter lugs (more inclined) because of a wider case, in order to limit the overall diameter. Still, attention to details.

5905R Annual Calendar Chronograph

Patek Philippe 5905R_001
5905R Annual Calendar Chronograph

A work to limit the visual thickness at every level: the concave bezel, the lugs’ grooved side… It looks quite chunkier than the other profiles but beautiful looking nevertheless in the metal. That’s a romantic design I loved already in the 5205.

5726/1A Nautilus Annual Calendar

Patek Philippe 5726_1A_014
5726 Nautilus

Just a work of art imho, like the Royal Oak. However, the best side of the case is clearly to me on the front side (and its bracelet!).

5168G Aquanaut

Patek Philippe 5168G_010
5168G Aquanaut
The Aquanaut has a mix of inward brushed and plane flat surfaces together with rounder polished ones that are curved the opposite way. This addition of “opposites” matches quite well the sportier spirit of the Aquanaut imho.

LADIES WATCHES

4899/901G

Patek Philippe 4899_901G_001

4978/400G

A beautiful ladies Calatrava, entirely diamond-set (cf. the article of the 4978).

Patek Philippe 4978_400G_001

7300/1450R Twenty-4
Patek Philippe 7300_1450R_001
7118/1R Nautilus
Patek Philippe 7118_1R_001

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