patek philippe reference 5208t 010 only watch 2017 03
Vintage & Auctions

Patek Philippe Ref. 5208 T-010 Only Watch: The Eternal Hour

By donating this unique titanium-clad timepiece with large complication to the Only Watch auction, the Patek Philippe watchmaking manufacture gives a nudge to all the leading collectors in the world and appeals to their generosity. Discover a gem! 

By Vincent Daveau

Today the whole world knows about Only Watch, the charity auction event of unique timepieces organised by the Monaco Association to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This go-to event offers watchmaking brands the chance to do good, while enabling collectors to buy totally one-of-a-kind creations in the name of the afore-mentioned charity. Since its inception, this unique sale has raised 25 million Euros for the effort towards combating muscular dystrophy. Every two years, its catalogue attracts the coveting eyes of watchmaking enthusiasts, who pore over its pages in search of creations to satisfy their individual tastes. This year, of all the watches presented, the reference 5208-T -010 produced by Geneva Manufacture, Patek Philippe, will be the focus of attention among public benefactors, cultivated, powerful men of unlimited means when it comes to contributing to a good cause.  

A subtly oversized watch

To set this watchmaking gem apart from the manufacture's other rare pieces bearing the 5208 reference (a very limited annual edition of individual pieces selling for around CHF 825,000.-), Patek Philippe's master watchmakers have crafted its 42 mm diameter case in titanium. This makes the large complication watch (an epithet attributable to timepieces that include at least three traditional complications) truly "unique". A noble metal, almost twice as light as steel, but just as resistant and entirely bio-compatible, titanium rarely goes into the making of watch cases at Patek Philippe and is never used for its fine watchmaking editions. 

Nevertheless, it would have been a pity to rule out the metal's unique properties in this particular instance. In actual fact, designers and makers of large complications discovered only a few years ago that titanium also has the added attribute of lending a more sparkling tone to a chiming instrument. Owing to its lightness and ductility, titanium improves the acoustic intensity of those models sporting elements crafted in this type of metal. This may appear to be a negligible detail, but it's an important one when the object in question sports the rare and highly coveted minute repeater complication, not to mention single pushpiece chronograph and instant-jump perpetual calendar. And it is even more important when you consider how often acousticians speak about the growing noise pollution that surrounds us daily. 

The exception becomes the rule

Clearly, the reference 5208T-010 designed especially by the large complications department at Patek Philippe for Only Watch 2017, is a real first and must remain unique if it is to retain that level of rarity so dear to collectors. To make it even more unique and stand out from other highly exceptional editions of the same type, the manufacture has chosen to embellish it with an elegant blue dial with handcrafted guilloché "carbon" pattern. In doing so, it honours a long-standing tradition of craftsmanship, especially that of the "guillocheur", who has taken years to master the capricious whims of the ancestral machines used to produce such highly unique, contemporary patterns.

For this piece, the special "Only Watch" decoration is unsparing in its commitment to originality. Thus, the mechanical calibre with automatic winding by micro-rotor, known under the brand's nomenclature as reference R CH 27 PS QI, open to view through the transparent back of the titanium case, reveals some very special finishes. Bridges and bottom-plate are plated with a black rhodium treatment and the mini-rotor crafted in platinum to increase its weight and therefore its winding capacity, sports handcrafted guilloché-work to reflect the same pattern visible on the dial. Such unique finishing lends a distinct edginess to the 719-part calibre. This complex timepiece not only tells the time, but also sets it to music on demand thanks to the two-tone minute repeater complication. It allows the wearer to measure short time intervals by means of a single pushpiece chronograph complication (start, stop and reset to zero) with a 60-minute and 12-hour counter and also boasts an instant-jump perpetual calendar mechanism with aperture displaying the day, date, month and leap years flawlessly until 2100 for as long as the piece continues running. And just to prove you can always gild the lily, it also sports day-night and moon phase indications. 

This magnificent timekeeper, which comes with dependable Cordura® strap, will be going under the hammer on November 11th together with 49 other models from prestigious brands for the second edition of the Geneva-based auction founded in 2005. 

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