Patek Philippe used the occasion of Watches and Wonder Geneva – the first time the watch world assembled in one place since 2019 – to reveal Ref. 5326G-001, a next-generation watch that combines the annual calendar with a second time zone display. Yes, that makes this the first watch to feature the signature annual calendar and Travel Time functions. This year was already set to be a strong one for Patek Philippe, as far as the brand’s presence in media stories is concerned. It is one of a handful of brands that gets mentioned regularly in whatever media you care to consume, including this one of course. Ref. 5326G gained lots of attention and won rave reviews, despite Patek Philippe dropping the incredible Ref. 5470P right after the fair, creating a bit of a battle for attention between two very significant Patek Philippe references.
We hedged our bets with both references, leading with Ref. 5326G in our daily reports from Geneva, but saving the first dedicated watch feature from the fair for Ref. 5470P. In WOW, we covered both watches in the same issue, but here we take a deeper dive into what exactly makes Ref. 5326G so special. Of course, there are eight patents working behind the scenes (unless you wear your watch movement-side up) to bridge and connect the annual calendar and travel time complications. We already noted what we think is the most significant element in this watch so we will spend a little more time with the overall look and feel of this 41mm Calatrava in white gold.
We will get the obvious out of the way first: for all its theatrical technical complexity, the display is a study in practicality, and the watch is easy to use. The central innovations here are having the date mechanism tied to local time, and having all the main time functions controlled by the crown, rather than with pushers as is typical for Travel Time watches. There are separate pushers for independent adjustment, presumably to use when the watch stops for a prolonged period.
According to Patek Philippe, practicality was the watchword here, because the date one sees on the dial should correspond to local time rather than home time. Having the date set to home time can result in confusion and errors, as you can easily imagine. If you wonder what happens when you are going about business at home, the central solid local time hand and the open-worked home time can be synched up so that they move as one. Local time can also be adjusted forwards or backwards, with no fear. Now we will repeat ourselves for a bit: what makes this watch amazing is that it is virtually impossible to desynchronise the indications, whether you move the hands backwards or forwards.
Indeed the self-winding calibre 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H is built to withstand operator error; we are often the worst enemies of our own watches, ironically. One interesting point to note here is that the day/night indicators are present for both home and local time, which Patek Philippe confirmed was simply a matter of getting good symmetry going on the dial. Aesthetics are overtly important in this watch, because the absence of traditional pushers (the ones present are recessed) was something Patek Philippe wanted so that the hobnail decoration on the case flanks would not be disturbed.
There is truly too much to say about a piece such as Ref. 5326G, certainly more than this post can accomplish. We will finish with a summary of the information on the dial, itself new for Patek Philippe (granular grey with gradation) and made in-house (by the Patek Philippe-owned Cadrans Flückiger in Saint-Imier). The day and month are in-line at 12 o’clock; the date is at 6 o’clock; day/night indicator for local time is at 8 o’clock; day/night indicator for home time is at 4 o’clock; and moon phase display is at 6 o’clock.
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