For 2016, Patek Philippe released the new 5930 series starting with the white gold 5930G, a world time chronograph and a rare occasion for us to see arguably two of the most useful complications for mechanical watches in alluring combination. The Patek Philippe 5930G world time chronograph is further an attractive piece, but does all this translate into a winner for the famous brand?
Despite its $70,000-plus price tag, we can say that the new Patek Philippe 5930 is a watch that will actually get some wear-time on the wrists of globe-trotting Patek collectors, so to answer that question, we’ll have to look at this piece’s actual usability – yes, that. For history buffs it is worth noting that the 5930, as well as other modern Patek Philippe World Time watches are inspired by a 1940 Patek Philippe world timer watch.
It’s worth starting by saying that as a frequent international traveler (more than 6 trips around the world in the past year alone), I have first-hand experience using a world timer watch. However, for economic reasons, mine is not made by Patek Philippe, but offers the same basic functionality that all true world time watches offer: the ability to read the time around the world at a glance. For anyone traveling and/or working with international teams, the world time watch is quite possibly more useful, more convenient, and faster to use than any electronic device at hand, let that be a smartphone or even smartwatch.
At 39.5mm wide, the new world timer Patek Philippe 5930G (5930) is a hair larger than the brand’s other world time watches, and also thicker at just under 12mm. The execution of the white gold case is top-notch, with all corners polished and chamfered helping the Patek Philippe 5930 watch sit firmly on wrist, while remaining as classic and timeless as Patek designs are known for.
The Patek Philippe 5930G is currently only offered in 18k white gold with a blue dial, paired to a matching blue alligator strap. The inner part of the dial has a beautiful, hand-applied guilloché pattern that calls for attention while balancing the rest of the dial, which is busier than most other watches from the brand, with four rings of information.
First is the 24-hour rotating ring that is divided into light and a dark sections indicating night and day, followed by the chapter ring for the chronograph seconds hand – no numerals here, a compromise that keeps the dial a bit more clean but also makes reading the exact time at a glance a bit more difficult – and finally, at the periphery is the two-tier city ring. This, like the one on the 5230, is updated to represent new international cities, all written out in a not particularly interesting, all-caps font.
So, how legible is it? The main dial in the center may be optically dwarfed a bit by the four wide and busy-looking rings that surround it, but the hands are optimally sized, the indices are large, and hence overall legibility is not at all compromised. So, even if your vision up close isn’t as good as it once used to be – given the target demographic, this may have been a consideration – you’ll still be able to make out the large hour and minute hands, the 24-hour disc, as well as the bold, all-caps city names.
Something else worth noting is that unlike its brethren, the 5230, the new Patek Philippe 5930G world time chronograph’s gold hands and applied indices are filled with luminescent coating which should help when glancing at the current local time on these long flights without having to disturb your neighbors with your seat light.
The movement that drives the Patek Philippe 5930G is the new CH 28-520 HU which, in addition to the world time complication, includes a 30-minute chronograph, with a small but effective sub-dial positioned just above the 6 o’clock marker. Composed of 343 parts and 38 jewels, it runs at 4Hz and provides a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 55 hours of power reserve – mostly determined by whether or not the chronograph function is in use.
The larger case coupled with the traditional shorter hour hand and longer minutes hand are a welcome addition, to my taste, with a long white seconds hand that is activated like other chronographs by the pusher at 2 o’clock. The second chronograph pusher, at 4 o’clock, can be used to reset the chronograph either after it is stopped or on the fly to restart a measurement interval – frequently called a “flyback” function.
While a flyback chronograph has some utility if you are an actual pilot keeping track of flying distances over landmarks, I am still trying to think of how useful a half-hour chronograph would be to me as a business traveler… I guess maybe to count down how long I am in line to get inside the plane or, better, when to call the flight attendant for the next drink. It seems to me that while technically impressive and done by Patek in an admittedly discrete fashion, the chronograph complication – especially with only a 30-minute register – is less useful than, say, a date indicator would be for a world time watch.
Changing that local time is as easy as pressing on the pusher at 10 o’clock which will advance the hour clockwise while moving the city ring in the opposite direction. The goal is to have the local city at 12 o’clock which makes for easier orientation to where you are in the globe relative to other timezones (represented by cities) that are nearby.
Both Patek Philippe world timer models including the 5930 have updated international city rings which reflects more recent changes to the international timezones. Cities such as Buenos Aires, La Paz, Sao Paulo, and Brisbane are making a new appearance while Caracas, S. Georgia, and Rio have now left the dial. Patek does not offer any customization options for their world time watches, though I am sure a “special customer” may be able to persuade them otherwise. There are also no means to indicate half-hour or even quarter-hour timezones, nor summer (daylight saving) time. All are useful additions that are included in other world timers, though typically done with sacrifices to legibility.
The new Patek Philippe 5930G (5930) reference was beautiful on wrist when we got a chance to try it live at Baselworld 2016, and the finishing and feel are also everything a Patek Philippe watch should be. Patek Philippe opted for legibility in this new world time model, and the result is a complicated yet simple and legible watch that retains the pure and slim profiles that are commonly found in their Calatrava line, which remains for me the prototypical dress watch. Price for the new Patek Philippe 5930G reference is just over 73,000 Swiss francs, and again, it is only available in white gold at this time – but expect future 5930 World Time iterations in the future. patek.com