By now you are all no doubt familiar with the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175R, a $2.2 million masterpiece made in celebration of Patek’s 175th anniversary (if not, here you go…). But there was another piece among the anniversary collection that I wanted to highlight: the Chiming Jump Hour 5275P. This is an intriguing watch for more reasons than one, so let’s take a closer look shall we.
The 5275P, presented in a classic tonneau-shaped case (39.8 x 47.4 mm, made of platinum), combines three jumping indications with an acoustic indication at the top of every hour. The periphery and the minute circle of the dial, as well as the case flanks are engraved with an intricate floral motif (which, like the ostentatious engraving on the Grandmaster Chime, I am not particularly fond of). The watch has a solid platinum case back with the engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014”.
The small slide for enabling and disabling the hour strike is located at 10 o’clock.
At 12 o’clock, the gold dial features an aperture for the digital hour indication. The minute hand revolves in the off-center minute circle that dominates the top half of the dial. The scale is graduated with black Arabic numerals as well as black minute index dots. The prominent seconds subdial at 6 o’clock has a black railway track scale, black Arabic numerals, and a black nickel-plated Breguet-style hand.
The platinum fold-over clasp bears the engraved inscription “PATEK PHILIPPE 1839 – 2014” as well as an engraved Calatrava cross in the middle. Superb!
The name of the watch tells us that this is a jump hour watch, but in fact it is more than that — all timekeeping functions on the watch are “jump” (rather than “sweep”). A closer look at the Chiming Jump Hour reveals that the seconds hand jumps from one scale marker to the next in one-second steps. As soon as the seconds hand reaches the 60, the minute hand also jumps from one minute marker to the next. And finally, once an hour, the digital display in the aperture at 12 o’clock jumps to the new hour precisely at the same moment when the seconds and minute hands advance. Also at the top of each hour, the Chiming Jump Hour gives a soft chime, thus marking each hour acoustically as well.
These mechanics are achieved in an ingenious way with the new manually wound caliber 32-650 HGS PS movement. During a period of four years, the in-house ateliers developed mechanisms that could not only store the energy needed for the jumping indications but would also synchronize the jumps of the seconds, minutes, and hours with extreme accuracy. Three patent applications were filed for these solutions. Also of note is the use of Patek’s Silinvar (a silicon derivative) for some of the components, as described further below.
A most conspicuous part of the caliber is the seconds lever made of Silinvar®, a derivative of silicon. It is connected to a spring which stores the energy of the eight semi-oscillations of the balance that make up one second. The lever engages with a wolf-tooth Silinvar wheel which in turn meshes with the fourth wheel. After every sequence of eight semi-oscillations, the lever is lifted. The wolf-tooth wheel advances by one tooth and moves the fourth wheel by 6 degrees, which causes the seconds hand to jump forward by one second. For more on general jump hour mechanics, see “Did You Know”, below.
The watch pays tribute to the Ref. 3969 with a jumping digital hour which was launched in 1989 on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary (side note: compared to the 1989 Ref 3969, you can see just how far Patek has progressed during the past 25 years!).
The Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275 is being crafted in a limited anniversary edition of 175 pieces. Price is 310,000 Swiss Francs, or about $350,000 US.
Did You Know?
A Patek Mini-Primer On Jump Hour Watches
In conventional mechanical watches, the hands move continuously in step with the balance. In most watches, it oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 or 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour, corresponding to 6 or 8 oscillations per second. With every semi-oscillation, the balance allows the escape wheel to rotate by one tooth, and this motion is transferred to the hands by the going train. The hands move forward incrementally. The seconds hand makes this cadence apparent, but the stepwise motion of the minute and hour hands is barely discernible.
The Chiming Jump Hour also has a balance, and it performs 8 semi-oscillations per second. However, the energy is not directly transferred to the seconds hand. Instead, it is accumulated in a storage mechanism that only releases it to the fourth wheel when the eighth semi-oscillation takes place. Analogously, the power stored during a time interval of 60 seconds must be delivered to the minute hand instantaneously, and the same process occurs after 60 minutes when the digital hour display needs to be advanced as well. This particular moment involves a handicap: an hour disk is heavier than an hour hand and thus needs more power to move. But even more energy is needed, since a small hammer strikes a gong at the top of every hour. This aptly illustrates that a watch with three jumping indications plus an hour strike is a remarkable accomplishment in energy management.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe re-established its supreme status as the most valuable timepiece in history, selling at auction for CHF 23.2 million ($24 million / €19.3 million / £15.1 million) in the Sotheby’s “Important Watches” sales in Geneva earlier today. This surpasses the previous record sale for a timepiece of $11 million, which was established in 1999 by…this very same watch. Five bidders competed for this masterpiece of horology which went to an anonymous buyer in the room after 15 minutes of suspense. Completed by Patek Philippe in 1932, the Henry Graves Supercomplication is the most complicated watch ever made by human hands – and now quite likely the most famous watch in the world. The watch originally sold for the tidy sum of $15,000 on January 19, 1933 to Mr. Henry Graves.
Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe
Discover the Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe, the most important watch in the world. First commissioned in 1925, the Supercomplication has an astounding 24 complications
The Story of the Henry Graves Jr Supercomplication
THE 24 COMPLICATIONS
Weighing approximately 535g (1 lb. 3 ounces), the watch consists of 920 individual components including 430 screws, 110 wheels, 120 mechanical levers or parts and 70 jewels.
Henry Graves Jr.
Mr. Graves began acquiring Patek Philippe timepieces in the 1910s, ultimately becoming one of the firm’s most notable patrons. Mr. Graves would either commission watches from the firm or would ask Patek Philippe to personalize timepieces he acquired with his family’s coat-of-arms.
I do recommend the Official Lots Notes by Sotheby’s for more information.
Patek Philippe hosted a 175th anniversary celebration tonight in New York at the recently renovated Rainbow Room on the top floor of Rockefeller Plaza. It was a fine and dandy event, punctuated by fourth-generation Patek leader Thierry Stern’s unveiling of the new Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref 5175. Only seven pieces are being made — Patek is keeping one and the other six are already spoken for.
Before unveiling the actual watch, Stern showed the following film on the big screen — essentially the “Making Of” the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime:
Yes, it is Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary, and yes, we’ve all been waiting for the commemorative watches to be unveiled. Well, today, October 13th is the day that makes Patek 175 yrs old. So wait no more. There are several new watches I’ll get to in due course, but for now let’s start with this, the flagship of the 175th anniversary collection: the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175. This is a 1,366-part grand complication including a grand and petite sonnerie, perpetual calendar and more — 20 complications in all. Oh, and thanks to its swiveling, ornately engraved case, the watch is fully reversible — you can wear either side up. 7 pieces will be made, and 6 of them will be sold — at a price of 2.5 million Swiss Francs apiece. Believe it. The Grandmaster Chime is a watch unlike any in existence.
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 175th Anniversary Watch, presented by Philippe and Thierry Stern