As we await the debut of the much-anticipated new Patek Philippe watches commemorating the Swiss brand’s 175th anniversary this year, we revisit a Patek Philippe timepiece, released in 2013, aimed squarely at aficionados of classical, hand-wound watches: the Ref. 5200 Gondolo 8 Days, Day and Date Indication.
The watch features the Gondolo collection’s well-known Art Deco aesthetic and a manual-wind manufacture movement developed specifically for it. In its press materials for the watch, Patek Philippe expounds on the appeal and “incontestable technical advantages” of manual-winding watches:
“A watch that is wound by hand at regular intervals is very precisely adjustable because the declining torque of the gradually relaxing mainspring can be taken into account in the poising process. Conversely, in a self-winding watch, the tension of the mainspring varies with the intensity of the movements of the wrist while it is worn. Another argument in favor of manually wound timepieces is the tactile experience of turning the crown between fingertips and feeling the smooth action of the winding train. It is like a recurring ritual that strengthens the relationship between the watch and its owner.”
The rectangular movement, Caliber 28-20 REC 8J PS IRM C J, contains components made of Silinvar, a silicon-based material developed at the Patek Philippe Advanced Research horological think tank, which is extremely hard, antimagnetic, corrosion-resistant and two-thirds lighter than steel. The new reference is reminiscent of its 2000 predecessor, the Ref. 5100 “10 Day,” except that here the power reserve is two days shorter because of the energy required to power the watch’s other complications, which include a day and date indication that switch instantaneously.