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The Patek Philippe 5035 Annual Calendar.

By Michael Delage-Pandeli of www.skjwatches.co.uk

 

 

It is not often I write about expensive watches but currently there is a historically and technically important watch out there that is a bargain. Now, I know that £14,000 to £16,000 does not sound like a bargain, but in 5 to 10 years time people will look back and wonder why this watch was so cheap. 

From the arrival of quartz watches through the 70s and into the 1980s the Swiss watch houses were struggling, demand for complicated mechanical movements was low, and companies were cutting costs, amalgamating, closing, or being bought up. 

 

In 1991 in this climate of upheaval, Patek Philippe ran a project with the School of Engineering in Geneva to come up with new mechanical ideas to fight off the onslaught of quartz watches. Patek Philippe subsequently employed the graduate who worked on that project. Together with Patek technicians they came up with the idea of making an affordable annual calendar. Instead of simplifying a Perpetual calendar movement, they would start with a regular calendar mechanism and add to that. After years of experimentation they came up with the 315s QA24h movement for the 5035. Before the Patek Philippe 5035 was launched in 1996 there was no such thing as an annual calendar. You could buy a triple calendar watch that told you the day date and month but you had to set it five times a year in months with less than 31 days. There was a perpetual calendar, which set day date month and leap year all automatically but these were very complicated to make and so where exclusive and expensive. The 5035 went on to be voted Watch of the Year by Montres Passion the Swiss watch magazine in 1996, it won not only for its innovation but also its easy to read dial, beautiful proportions and excellence of build. The watch remained in production until 2005 and to this day modern variations are still made some adding phases of the Moon and power reserve.   New Patek Philippe annual calendar prices start at over £30,000, recent auction prices for the 5035 ranges from £12,300 (white gold, Sotheby’s Hong Kong April 2016) to £16,250 (yellow gold, Bonham’s December 2015), and Internet sellers have examples for sale from £14,500 (no papers yellow gold). In my experience with discontinued Pateks, is that demand goes down, prices drop, supply drops off, then a few years later everybody wants one at the same time pushing prices sky high. This has happened in the recent past with the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut, both unloved watches of the 1970s and 80s now making very high prices at auction. With the 5035 my buying advice is to go for yellow or rose gold case with white, pink or black dial with raised roman numerals for the hours. If you can stretch your budget consider the Platinum with salmon pink dial and roman numerals but these will be over £20,000 and quite rare. And of course buy the best example you can afford.

 

So if you like the Patek Philippe 5035 and you can afford it buy one now. 

Antique Explorer Sept 2016: 12th Aug 2016 11:58:00

 

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