Patek Philippe has been producing some of the world’s most coveted world time watches for nearly 80 years. At this year’s Baselworld, however, the brand announced that it is retiring all existing references in its so-called Heure Universelle collection and launching a new, upgraded model in their place: the Patek Philippe Ref. 5230 World Time.
Patek says that the decision to introduce a new world-timer (and discontinue production of its legacy models) was motivated by, primarily, political and cultural changes worldwide that have necessitated updates to the original timepiece’s 24-hour city ring. Dubai, for example, has replaced Riyadh as the internationally recognized representative city of its time zone, and Moscow, which for many years had been located in the “UTC+4” zone, recently shifted to “UTC+3,” nearer to Western Europe, as its chosen time zone. The new Ref. 5230, available in both 18k white gold and 5N rose gold cases, now has a “globally valid” world-time city ring that accurately reflects the modern state of time zones across the world.
The company also took the opportunity to do some subtle but significant reworking on the World Time watch’s case, dial, and hands. Ref. 5230 retains the iconic Patek Philippe Calatrava case (measuring 38.5 mm in diameter and 10.23 mm thick), but with new winglet-style lugs and a more narrow, smoothly polished bezel. The hands will be more noticeably different to a Patek aficionado: instead of the ringed hour hand and Dauphine minute hand on previous references, the watch has a pierced hour hand in the shape of the Southern Cross constellation and a lozenge-shaped minute hand, both with sharp center ridges between lapped, beveled flanks. The hands, and the applied baton hour markers, are crafted from the same gold as the case.
At the center of the dial is another decorative element new to Patek Philippe’s World Time watches. Whereas previous models were renowned for their polychrome cloisonné enamel world map motifs, Ref. 5230 features a black, hand-guillochéd, filigreed basket-weave pattern inspired by a historical pocketwatch on display at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. The dial pattern was created on a nearly 100-year-old, meticulously maintained rose engine at the Patek Philippe manufacture.