Look, I get it, a new Nautilus is a big deal and earlier this week Patek Philippe announced several new examples into the lineup and people are champing at the bit to share their thoughts on the new 5811 and its siblings. As for me, I’m simply thrilled to get to write about what I see as two of the best watches in the recent announcement, the grandly complicated 5204G and the wildly cool 5935G. You can have my spot in the Nautilus line because, if we’re talking about my own joyfully hypothetical buying power, I’m looking for something a bit more interesting. Interesting…and complicated, as this article will focus on two new references from Patek Philippe, the 5204G Split-Seconds Chronograph Perpetual Calendar and the 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph. Do you remember that “Justification For Higher Education” poster with the big house and the supercars? You could just use a photo of either of these two watches if cars aren’t your thing. Cars are my thing, among many things. Maybe I should have been a doctor, after all.
Starting with the 5204G-001, it is essentially a white gold version of the existing 5204R, which was originally launched 10 years ago, in 2012, but was recently updated with a grey dial in 2021. This new version matches its white precious metal case with an olive green sunburst dial that continues the legacy of QP chronographs like the 2499 and the 5270 by offering the combination and then taking things a step further by featuring a split-seconds function for the chronograph (which is controlled via the button set into the crown). All of that grand complication is powered by the manually-wound CHR 29-535 PS Q and it is tucked inside a case that is only 40mm wide and 14.3mm thick. When you blend the sizing with the less formal dial coloring, the white gold, and the continued inclusion of luminous hands and markers, you get a very soft-spoken, almost unassuming, execution of what is a very (VERY) hardcore piece of watchmaking.
As soon as I started to look over the images of the new 5204G, I found that its general vibe reminded me of another very Grand Complication from Patek, the 5004. Retired in 2011, while the 5004 was made in several different versions over its 15-year life cycle, Patek commemorated the end of production for these Split-Second QP Chronographs by creating fifty examples in steel with gorgeous creamy dials and black dial furniture (I love when Patek does black markers and hands). As the 5204 came into being a year after the 5004 was retired, maybe the new 5204G is one step closer to seeing some version made in steel. While this 5204G is not specifically limited, it’s worth noting that Patek was only producing around twelve 5004s a year back in 2011. Like its rose gold sibling, 5204G has the sort of price that you write on a piece of paper and slide across a table. I suppose the digital equivalence would be for me to omit the price from this sentence and tell you that I’ve included it at the bottom of the article.
If only I were a rich guy – because holy moly – do I like the 5935A. As an extension of my fascination with travel watches, I love the romance of a world timer, especially those of a Cottier-derived nature (I wrote a bit about it here, and more about it in Watches: A Guide by Hodinkee). I know, I know. It’s only full-hour time zones but the idea of the whole world on your wrist has a very old-world charm to it and the new 5935 only amplifies that charm by mixing a steel case with a stunning dial and a special movement. Let’s start with the movement, as it’s the first time that the CH 28-520 HU has been used in a steel watch. You might remember previous and precious outings for this caliber by way of the blue- or green-accented 5930G, and the CH 28-520 HU is notable for its combination of both a traditional world timer (showing instantaneous time and an indication of day/night in 24 time zones) along with a 30-minute flyback chronograph.
For the 5935A, the combination is so well done, especially in terms of how lightly the chronograph treads on an already complicated dial. The sizing is good, too, with the 5935A measuring 41mm wide and 12.75mm thick while housing an automatic movement with two rather useful complications. Then we get to the dial, which is described by Patek Philippe as rose gilt with a carbon motif and charcoal grey accents. Did I mention that I love when Patek Philippe uses black dial furniture? I did, but feel free to add charcoal to that list – the first-gen 5270, the final 5004, Briggs Cunningham’s frankly jaw-dropping 1526. The mix of the rosey dial, the dark and legible markings, and that carbon-effect center finishing, I just love it.
Interestingly, Patek says that the carbon motif is in reference to the ref. 6007 LE from 2020, but let’s not forget 2017’s 5208T-010 for Only Watch (and yes, I had to google that reference), or the unique 5004T (thank you for that one, Ben). With the 5935A carrying a price tag of $63,870, what can I say? A fella can dream, and hope that my meager GME holdings shoot for one of Jupiter’s moons. I’m afraid our own moon simply won’t cut it anymore.