Do not let that plum dial of the Patek Philippe Ref. 5330G-010 fool you into thinking this is a mere novelty with a twist because it does something no other wristwatch with world timer can do. With Ref. 5330G, Patek Philippe adds a date function to its signature World Timer complication, with the added bonus of the date being synched with the local time; it adjusts backwards or forwards when a different time zone is selected, which is just really cool. Ok, so a date with a Patek Philippe World Timer, is something probably very few collectors asked for; we ourselves have never wondered why these two complications never appeared on a wristwatch before. However, the manner Patek Philippe has done this, with a patented world-first, makes Ref. 5330 properly notable. That means this is a historically significant wristwatch with a new movement to go with that glorious purple dial, which the Geneva manufacture does call ‘plum.’
To backtrack a little before getting into the automatic calibre 240 HU C, Ref. 5330 made its surprise debut at the recently concluded Grand Exhibition Watch Art Tokyo 2023. The watch is a limited edition of 300 pieces, which is an unusual move for Patek Philippe; the manufacture prefers to let editions run their course, although most of the watch collecting world will remember the green dial Ref. 5711 as a prominent exception. Ref. 5330 one-ups this thought because it is only available in Japan, which casts the whole release in a different light. Seen as a promotional release to support the Grand Exhibition, or Grand X as the cool kids call it, Ref. 5330 is even more impressive. Collectors no doubt swarmed into Tokyo for the event just for shot at Ref. 5330. Well, maybe. Our man in Tokyo did not report any disturbances at the event, but that is probably because Ref. 5308P stole the show. Importantly, Patek Philippe is unlikely to have invested in such a watch to only sell it in one market so look out for some version of this reference in future.
Moving to Ref. 5330 itself, this version is a 40mm white gold piece, with a comfortable lug-to-lug length of 49.74mm. It is also impressively thin at 11.57mm, crystal-to-crystal, which is only to be expected given that Patek Philippe likes to keep things slim. The date display will take some getting used to, given the busy nature of worldtimers, not just the Patek Philippe World Timer. You will notice a scale of 1-31 on the outer periphery of the dial here (a beveled flange according to the manufacture), with a central hand with hammer-shaped head pointing out the relevant date. This hand is very interesting, being made of transparent glass; this is a first for Patek Philippe and it might be a first for watchmaking too! While the aforementioned busy nature of the dial, plus the colour and the guilloche, make the watch is a niche proposition, we are convinced by both the new colourway and the decoration. We would say more about the fit and feel but that will have to wait for the local touch and feel session (although the Japan limitation might make that impossible
Closing on calibre 240 HU C itself, here the manufacture has introduced a patented differential system for the date train that has some 70 components. While Patek Philippe has not said much about this innovation yet, it seems to be of the sort that is complex to build but easy to operate, which we respect. The power reserve tops out at 48 hours, water-resistance is 30 metres and the movement is finished to Patek Philippe Seal standards.
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