Grand complication…new landmark reference…
This evening in Geneva, Patek Philippe unveiled a stunning new grand complication which will undoubtedly and quickly become a new landmark reference for the brand: the Ref 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon in white gold. One of the most complicated watches Patek has ever produced, the Sky Moon Tourbillon is not entirely a new model from the Geneva-based masters, but it is, as one might say, the “latest and greatest” take on the 2-dial, 12-complication Sky Moon Tourbillon.
Though I am far from an authority on all-things Patek, I can tell you that the Ref 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon, first launched in 2006, is now widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest and most important watch models ever created, incorporating in spectacular fashion an impressive quantity of attributes, complications and rarity. The new Ref 6002 takes it to a new level with an incredible and far-from-sober aesthetic.
Officially the Ref 6002G Sky Moon Tourbillon, this grand complication is first and foremost distinguished by its case. Forged in white gold, it is elaborately and masterfully engraved entirely by hand, sized at just under 43mm x just over 16mm. Patek notes that the “eloquent ornaments, arabesque garlands, and gently curved elements of the Calatrava cross are produced with chip removal techniques using sharp burins that not only incise the precious metal but actually “lift” the decorations out of the gold surface.”
Further, “the engraver not only molds the gold in bas-relief but also applies the chisel to sculpt life into the small surfaces between the three-dimensional structures.” The minute repeater slide is also engraved, as are the crowns and the white gold clasp on the strap. More than one hundred hours of engraving work is required to meet the satisfaction of the artisan, and ultimately Patek Philippe’s President Thierry Stern.
Speaking of the crown, the ornaments of the two crowns are as informative as they are decorative. According to Patek “The dynamometric winding crown at 4 o’clock shows an arrow in relief to indicate the direction of rotation, while the moon and stars in relief on the crown at 2 o’clock reveal that it is intended to adjust sidereal time and the celestial functions on the rear dial.”
The second distinguishing feature of the Ref 6002 is the dial, made of blue “email” (“enamel” for you neophytes out there) using both the champlevé and cloisonné techniques. The cloisonné technique is seen in the center of the dial and its resultant fleur pattern. The contours of the blossoms and leaves are crafted using fine, flattened gold wire that is painstakingly affixed to the dial. These cells, or “cloisons”, are then filled with enamel of different shades of blue, and then fired.
Though almost all of the white gold embellishments on the dial are thus embedded in the enamel, a discerning eye will note that the gold Roman hour numerals are appliques and thus sit on top of the enamel. Further, the numerals and the markers of the retrograde calendar scale (outer edge of the dial), the PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE and TOURBILLON inscriptions, the movement number and the delicately pointed stars are also painted rather than applied or embedded within the enamel. Note also the engraved hands. Yes indeed.
Next feature of note on the 6002 are its apertures for calendar day of week, month, and leap year display indications. Resulting in a very clean dial for such a complicated watch. This in contrast to sub-dials as used on the 5002. I am a big fan of aperture-based displays for perpetual calendars due to the more legible and cleaner look that they afford the dial. It also gives a look that belies the complexity of the watch, in my view.
Like the 5002, this Sky Moon has a caliber with 686 components (the original Sky Moon mechanism is based on the astronomical module developed for the Star Caliber 2000) and measures in at 12.6mm thick — fairly thin for such a highly complicated watch. And of course, finished in the inimitable Patek manner and bearing the Patek seal.
As you can see, the new Ref 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon appears more than ready to supersede the Ref 5002. It will be interesting to see where Patek prices this masterpiece — how high above $1 million, that is the question. Production of the 5002 was limited to just two units per year, and when up for sale a 5002 typically fetches well north of $1 million (Christies, Antiquorum).
One thing is for sure — only Patek Philippe’s top-of-the-line clients will get a chance to own one of these, and they will pay handsomely — and gladly — for it.