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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The perpetual calendar is one of the most rare and desirable complications to have in a watch, and few can claim mastery over this complication as Patek Philippe can. After all, Patek Philippe did introduce the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch way back in 1925. And if that weren’t enough, they even invented the annual calendar just 20 years ago – but we digress. The complication we are interested in today is the perpetual calendar, and for 2016 we see the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 in platinum.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The reference 5496 was first introduced in 2011, and represents one of the six perpetual calendar-only references from Patek Philippe – the others being the 5139, 5140, 5940, 5159, and 5160. It stands out a bit among other perpetual calendar pieces since most people are accustomed to seeing perpetual calendars with three sub-dials. Indeed, just enter “perpetual calendar watch” into Google Images and just count the sheer number of results that have the more typical three sub-dial arrangement. Three sub-dials or not, the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496 watch indicates day, month, date, and leap year as any perpetual calendar watch would.

You can see the month and day with two apertures at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively. The date is indicated by a retrograde display within the dial. A leap year indicator at 12 o’clock and a moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock completes the look of the dial. It’s a rather unusual dial configuration as far as perpetual calendars go, but it is highly legible. I actually find it to be more easy to read than the traditional three-sub-dial configuration.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P beats the self-winding Caliber 324 S QR. It is composed of 361 parts and is, as you would expect from a watch bearing the Patek Philippe Seal, masterfully finished. Some other features include the silicon Gyromax balance, Spiromax balance spring, and the large 21K solid gold rotor. The movement operates at 28,800bph and has a maximum power reserve of 45 hours.

The Caliber 324 S QR isn’t unique to the reference 5496 watch, and is currently found in two other Patek lines that have very similar dial layouts but considerably different styles and personalities. The reference 5159 and 5160 are both more traditional-looking models that are also officer’s watches, meaning they have a hinged cover on the back of the watch. Other touches like the long lugs, smaller 38mm case, Roman numerals, and Breguet numerals all add up to a distinctly less contemporary look.

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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 features a platinum case, with a case dimension unchanged from previous versions at 39.5mm, and water resistance remains the same at 30 meters (what were you expecting from a dress watch?). The straight lugs arch slightly for better wearing comfort, and the watch is offered with a choice of a solid or see-through sapphire crystal case back. As for the strap, it’s a hand stitched brown alligator that has specially selected square scales for a naturally uniform look.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 has a sublime satin-finished silver dial, applied gold markers, and dauphine hands. The moonphase aperture also has gold accents too. It’s hard to see from the photos, but a highlight has got to be the expertly finished hour markers and hands. It shimmers and glints brilliantly, and helps make time readable even if lighting conditions are poor. The applied date markers also give the dial an added sense of depth. Everything looks absolutely pristine and impeccably done, which is really not a surprise at all when you consider the fact that you’re paying six figures for a watch from a brand with a reputation that ranks among the most well-known high-end luxury watchmakers.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 Platinum Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 takes one of watchmaking’s most difficult and exclusive complications and adds a breath of fresh air with clean lines, a legible and useful dial that’s not busy or messy, and wraps it all in that most stealth-wealth of metals that is platinum. The 39.5mm wide size is perfect for the contemporary wearer, without pushing the limits of the tradition the brand holds dear. Price for the platinum Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5496P-015 watch is just around $108,000. patek.com

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Comments

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  • Chaz

    Amazing dial details on a beautiful watch. Strangely though, I’m still more enamored with the thinner cal. 240 based perp calendar.

    • srs144

      That’s not strange at all. The 240 is pure eye candy, and this movement, not so much

  • IanE

    Lovely dial. Shame the movement seems to be so small – no wonder the solid back is on offer!

    Interesting little ‘tongue’ protruding from the metal surrounding the rear aperture – does this have some function in getting into the watch?

    • word-merchant

      I think it’s based on a modified Miyota 6P00.
      Patek just do a bit of polishing, replace a few parts, add a few more parts, stick a perpetual calendar module on top, replace a few more parts, oil it up a bit, put that Masonic symbol thing on everything, and bish, bash, bosh! $108k.

  • BrJean

    I think there is a secret rule in haute horology which says: “If you make a watch with a perpetual calendar then you must place something RED on the dial”. Usually it’s a red “4” in leap year indicator but here it’s a red tip of date hand. I’m not a fan of this color accent but besides that this watch is awesome. The dial is greatly balanced and I agree with reviewer that the size is perfect too.

    • egznyc

      Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is ALSO a red “IV” for the leap year. 😉

  • word-merchant

    Nice, but $108,000. Really?
    I think the Rolex Skydweller is much better value for money (and I know, it’s an annual calendar which is simpler.)

    • egznyc

      Yes, those Rolex movements are rather “crude,” in comparison, that is, to PP. But don’t get me wrong, I mean crude in the best possible sense: the Rolex has the more robust movement, too!

  • Ulysses31

    A design misstep of almost Skydweller proportions. The date implementation, while distinctive, is inelegant, which from a brand that usually typifies elegance, is most unfortunate. The rest is typically flawless, as expected.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Other than the fact it would look a bit girly on me it’s absolutely gorgeous.

  • Willy Chu

    If Patek is so well known for sweating the details on a dial, how did they allow the leap year window to encroach upon the date indicator, cutting into the “15” and “17”? So glaringly inelegant.

    Hardly “flawless.”

    • srs144

      Agreed, and even more so because Patek started this model without the 15 and 17 cut at all, the Ref 5050 is the same complication in a smaller case without this issue.

      • Radoe

        … which is argument enough that this is a design decision and not a flaw, as if that wasn’t obvious enough. But some have to whine, and, lacking any real arguments (which are not needed in fact when expressing dislike for esthetics) they will twist the obvious to validate their opinions.

  • Shirley Furby

    Patek is supposedly the best with finishes that are perfect. In inspecting the finish on the rotor the perlage is haphazard. Over $100,000 nothing but perfection should be acceptable. I guess we love to pick on Patek but they are the king of the hill, at least that is what we have been told.

    • Radoe

      Uh, where, I don’t see it…

      • Shirley Furby

        Look at the perlage around the center of the rotor, some swirls stand alone and some are on top of each other. OK?

        • Radoe

          Actually no – the last one has a gap to the first one, that’s all.

          • Shirley Furby

            I see the gap in the photo you are mentioning but(and I am old and wear tri focals) if you look at the photo that shows the whole rotor and enlarge it, it appears in my monitor to show a group of the perlage circles which appear to “tumble” over each other while others appear uniform in their spacing. I am totally open to be shown my mistakes. Thanks for your interest in my comment.

          • Radoe

            I know what you mean but it is far more likely that what you’re seeing is an aliasing effect due to the low photo resolution and the very fine pattern, than someone mucking up the decoration.
            It’s basically impossible for that to happen, unless this is a hurried demo piece and not a production one.

          • Shirley Furby

            Probably right I had not of it being a result of low res, good thought, thank you.

  • Allan

    beautiful as always although I still prefer the simplistic dial design of the calatrava. Common as muck by the standards of such an expensive piece as this, but its immensely elegant. 5107R was a firm favourite of mine.

  • Omegaboy

    Really nice. The crown, though, is too narrow.

    • wallydog2

      Phew! Thanks for the heads-up about the crown. I was just about to fork over $109,000+sales tax. Wonder what time the Mercedes dealer closes today?

      • Omegaboy

        You bet, anytime.

  • Same gripe I’ve echoed numerous times. If you are going to expand the case diameter to near 40mm, it’s about time to update the movement to use the real estate for larger apertures to display data. A 28mm movement in a 40mm watch makes the entire product look (as Willy Chu points out) “inelegant.”

  • Shawn Lavigne

    nice watch.

  • Michael Kinney

    Wow. The date markers alone are fantastic. Does it come with a Swiss valet to keep it wound?

  • srs144

    The original retrograde perpetual from Patek is the Ref 5050. It’s 36mm and has no “nibbled” numerals (the 15 and 17). So why does this at 40mm have that?

  • egznyc

    Nice enough (though not at this price) but I cannot help but see Mickey Mouse’s head at 6:00. In all seriousness, this space would be far better utilized with a date aperture, and get rid of the retrograde date scale above.

  • Marius

    Patek is famous for its perpetuals, but this watch sucks big time. In fact, it sucks more than Jenna Jameson and Mia Khalifa put together. Allow me to explain.

    Firstly, I find this dial configuration to be the least attractive from the range. If you like this style, just get a Rolex Skydweller and save yourself 80 grand.

    Secondly, the movement looks rather boring. If I’m spending almost $110,000, I would like to see a spectacular caliber. This Patek might be a perpetual, but aesthetically it looks identical, and I mean IDENTICAL to a “standard” 324SC used in the three-hander Calatrava and Nautilus. If you’re looking for an automatic perpetual, the best choice would be the Audemars Jules Audemats/Royal Oak perpetuals using the 2120 caliber. The 2120 is probably the finest thin automatic around, and certainly much more attractive than the Patek.

    Lastly, this Patek is super expensive, even when compared with other Pateks. Besides the fact that the above-mentioned Audemars perpetuals cost around $70,000 (so $40,000 LESS), for the price of this Patek you could easily buy a Lange Perpetual Chrono, which has the additional chrono complication and a much more attractive movement. Similarly, for around $120,000 you could even acquire a rose gold Patek Perpetual Chrono. Granted, it’s not Platinum; however, I would gladly forego the case material for an iconic watch featuring a much more attractive and complicated movement plus a better-looking dial and case.

    • Gokart Mozart

      First of all going by your first paragraph I thought you were going to explain something else. Hov vacuum’s work.

      Second, you’re PP are way overpriced, just about all of them. A bit like the brand that likes putting a novel on the dial and a piece of headgear as its logo

      Thirdly, I am not enough of a PP fan to comment on the movement, so I will take your word for it. I think PP are OK watches you respect not love and a bit clinical. A bit like Mercedes. Obviously there are exceptions but most of them are vintage. Yes PP and Merc.

  • DanW94

    The dial design doesn’t do much for me. The finishing on the dial elements looks superb (it’s a Patek after all) but if I had 110k to spend on a perpetual, it’s going to be a Lange Datograph.

  • Kuroji

    I clicked through solely out of morbid curiosity over the price.

  • SuperStrapper

    The date style may not be the most elegant (word of the day) but the execution is great. Picture 9/11 is very nice.

    • wshandling

      Picture 9/11 was an inside job.

      • SuperStrapper

        Thats like… nine hundred and eleven million…

  • Lawrence

    For that price, I would buy a Richard mille

  • BasonJourne

    pretty sure the balance isn’t silicon, Kenny…

  • Arnold

    It’s a beautifully finished piece! I love the dial with the raised day figures.

  • funNactive

    Wow, I love it. Knock one of the 0s off the price & I’ll take it.

  • Actually, let’s talk about attention to detail. And let’s me start by saying that I own a 2012 version of the 5496. How ironic is it that with all the hand finish etc, Patek did a beginner’s mistake on the typesetting of the calendar numbers? If you look closely, you will see that the numbers with a “1” in the front are not actually centered between the dots. The probable reason for it is that the type setting is done by a machine and the spacing of the numbers done on the width of the “glyphs” ie the width of the numerals plus the white space around them as opposed to the actual width of the numeral itself while it wouldn’t be a problem on letters for which the space around the letter is adapted to be visually consistent with other letters, it is not the case for numbers that are often “monospace” ie have a fixed identical, non relative width among all of the numbers in order to align perfectly when “stacked*, for the purpose of accounting, traditionally. Therefore it is a known thing for typographers, that you often need to visually “kern” and space the numbers among themselves for a correct visual spacing. What Patek Philippe failed to do here. Anyway, here is a personal conjecture on the reason why, but notwithstanding my hypothesis, the result is here: the spacing is incorrect. Which causes the arrow hand indicating the date to unpleasantly fall not between the numbers but pretty much on the “1” of the numbers in question. This is just an example of the overall dysfunctional relationship that watchmaking has with typography. Which is even stranger and more upsetting when you know that Switzerland is highly regarded historically for its Graphic Design and Typography.

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