To commemorate the opening of their new digs, Patek Philippe has dropped the Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon. HoDinkee’s Jack Forster had a major Patekgasm. “In terms of classic fine watchmaking, the movement is, in its most essential elements, almost reactionary; not only is there simply nothing to criticize, but there is also a feeling of leisurely disregard for any sort of practical constraints on time and cost of production.” Oh please . . .
It may feel like Patek created this watch for sheer f*ck of it, but the Swiss watchmaker is in the business of selling watches.
Mr. Foster can sleep soundly knowing that the Swiss watchmaker will make a substantial profit on the $710k timepiece. The new Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon isn’t a limited edition; you can multiply their per-piece margin by a factor of ten.
I’m sure private collectors are making discreet enquiries as I write, putting their private pilots on notice that a quick jaunt to Geneva is in the offing. Good for them.
Mr. Foster’s ode to Patek’s genius, attention to detail and flawless workmanship may threaten death-by-erudition, but it’s spot on. We’re all better for living in a world where classic horology creates products previously reserved for royalty and robber barons. Now available to others at Patek Philippe’s discretion.
But Jesus is this thing ugly.
There I said it. And I’ll say it again. It’s as if Mr. Stern directed his designers to make a gold Patek Philippe Hublot Big Bang. That chimes. Oh, and throw in the world’s most useless complication (a tourbillon).
Not to put too fine a point on it, if it was a dog I’d shave its ass and make it walk backwards. If nothing else – and there is plenty else – those skeltonized happy hands look like cat eyes.
I get it. This is a watch where you can see everything. Gongs that are normally hidden or placed discreetly are on full display. As are a myriad of other bits and pieces that make the watch do its thing, finished by hand with microscopic precision. Patek didn’t want the watch’s hands to obscure anything, ever.
And so they don’t. But where’s the symmetry, the elegance, the understated magnificence of, I dunno, every other watch that Patek Philippe makes or has ever made?
Patekophiles may point me to equally aesthetically “challenged” Patek Philippe complications. (I’m told there’s one on the video above.) Do me a favor. Don’t. This one is bad enough.
Spell my name with two “r’s” (farrago) and you’ll have a good idea what I think about the combination of elements creating this timepiece. The indices tell us that legibility is a secondary concern. The prominence of the branding tells us that Patek flexing was given the highest priority. What is the word tourbillon doing on the top of the dial? Or on the dial in the first place?
To be fair, I’m also no fan of the caseback. Forgiving the movement’s misaligned screws, the superstructure surrounding the movement is magnificent – in the sense that I’d be the first to commission Patek to build a solid gold garden trellis. Am I the only one who expects a watch movement to fill the caseback?
I could go on, but why bother? If you love it, I’m OK with that – although I wonder if slavish devotion to Patek’s feats of horological engineering, decoration and finishing has clouded your vision. And refer you the wikipedia entry for the term Rube Goldberg.
Patek Philippe stands bestride the watchmaking world like a colossus. To continue the Shakespeare quote, “We petty men walk under his huge legs and peep about. To find ourselves dishonorable graves.” As I draw ever closer to the day I’ll shuffle off this mortal coil, I humble myself at the feet of the fabled Swiss watchmaker,
Forgive me, my horological betters, for raising a Roger Moore-like eyebrow at the Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon. This is the first Patek I’d sell if it were given to me. And that’s saying something.