Patek Philippe - RETROSPECTIVE: 2000 - 2020 Geneva Sunday, November 8, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 2020
    Reference No: 5531/1R
    Movement No: 5'176'805
    Case No: 6'357'387
    Model Name: World Time Minute Repeater
    Material: 18K pink gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. R 27 HU, 45 jewels, stamped with the Patek Philippe Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K pink gold Patek Philippe bracelet, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K pink gold Patek Philippe double deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin dated February 29, 2020 and stamped by German retailer Oeding-Erdel, additional solid caseback, numbered sale tag, leather folder with outer packaging and numbered sleeve, massive fitted presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    Few models command as much attention as Patek Philippe world time and minute repeating timepieces. Both complications are indissolubly linked with the manufacturer; the world time is as iconic in its modern incarnations as it is in its ultracollectible vintage ones; on the other hand, the company holds in such high regards their minute repeating watches that every single one of them is reportedly tested by the company’s president and owner - Mr. Stern - before leaving the factory.

    It is no surprise, then, that when in 2017 Patek Philippe unveiled a timepiece reuniting the two complications - and adorned it with an exquisite enamel dial - the collective gasp of the collectors’ community was most probably heard in nearby star systems.

    Reference 5531 immediately rose to the top of horological aficionados’ this lists worldwide - while the output of this outstanding work of art is and remains extremely limited, estimated in a few dozens per year: true “unobtanium” for even the deepest pockets in the market, with the few lucky recipients of the watch guarding their pieces with extreme tenacity.

    The model was technically launched at the Patek Philippe New York Grand exhibition, but in fact on that occasion only 10 examples - 5 sporting the NY skyline during daytime on the dial, 5 sporting the skyline at sunset - were made. The model was introduced in the official collection only the following year, featuring en enamel dial representing the Lavaux vineyard terraces on the shores of Lake Geneva.

    Following the tradition of vintage world timepieces - which at times feature a cloisonné dial with various geographical maps - reference 5531 also feature an enamel dial. Albeit it is customarily defined as “cloisonné”, it in fact is a highly unusual and complex hybrid. Gold wires are used to define compartments (cloisons) then filled with enamel powder as it always happens with cloisonné dials. However, the compartments are not simply filled with monochrome enamel. They are furthermore decorated in the technique of miniature enamel dials; this is most obvious when examining the surface of the lake: minuscule highlights of blue and yellow render the impression of ripples on the surface of the lake and of the reflection of the sky. Such enormously complex dial design is without a doubt one of the reasons behind the scarcity of the timepiece.

    The other reason, of course, is the movement. When Patek Philippe decided to launch a world time minute repeater, they knew very well that they were “toying” with their two most iconic complications. Thus the final result truly had to be exceptional, both under an aesthetic point of view and under a mechanical point of view as well. The result of this effort is the innovative cal. R27HU. While world time minute repeaters have been realised before, never before a world time piece has been able to chime the local time, being instead immutably set on the home time. Instead, Ref 5531 adjusts its chiming to the local time, which can be adjusted when travelling by pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock. Next to this landmark innovation, many other subtle details are introduced, such as security systems to avoid damaging the movement if trying to change timezone while the repeater is engaged.

    While any example of reference 5531 can be rightfully considered as a crown jewels of any watch collection, the present example pushes the boundaries of collectability even further. Offered complete of all its original accessories, it is the so far only known specimen of the reference to be born with a bracelet instead of the usual leather strap. Considering how difficult - some would say near-impossible - is to obtain this watch from Patek, and how difficult is to be granted a special request, the present special request timepiece can be without a doubt be considered as one of the pinnacles of collectability when it comes to modern timepieces.

  • Artist Biography

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Ref. 5531/1R
A possibly unique and very important pink gold minute repeating world time wristwatch with miniature cloisonné enamel dial, bracelet, certificate of origin and presentation box

42mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF500,000 - 1,000,000 

Sold for CHF1,191,600

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724


Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031

RETROSPECTIVE: 2000 - 2020

Geneva Auction 8 November 2020