Patek Philippe released the Reference 5905 Flyback Chronograph Annual Calendar in platinum in 2015, then rose gold in 2019, and now it’s available in stainless steel.
Stainless steel is not rare in any way whatsoever. In fact, it’s the most common material used to manufacture wristwatch cases. However, in recent years Patek has restricted the production of the common metal within the collection, making the supply and therefore availability constricted. Ultimately, it has gotten to the point that releasing any stainless steel model causes a stir because the supply of these watches is so constrained within the brand. The otherwise common metal becomes more desirable than the precious metal to the point that on the secondary market stainless steel Pateks can often command more than the same watch in precious metal.
Introducing Patek’s latest stainless steel timepiece, the 5905/1A-001 Annual Calendar with Flyback Chronograph, offered in a 42 mm x 14.13 mm polished case, with a polished and satin-finished integrated steel bracelet, and featuring an olive green sunburst dial. Like with the past 5905 references, the case features a concave bezel and recessed flanks. This is not only the first time the 5905 has been offered in stainless steel, it’s also the first time an integrated bracelet has been developed for the model. Inspired by the sporty Aquanaut Reference 5167/1A, with polished outer links and satin-finished inner links, the new integrated steel bracelet is equipped with a patented Patek Philippe hidden fold-over clasp with four independent catches.
There’s a lot happening on the dial, although, despite the relatively complicated functionality of the timepiece, the layout is rather simple — making it incredibly easy to read. At the top of the dial, in an arc from left to right — in a way that Wes Anderson would surely appreciate — the day, date, and month are indicated within their own distinct, symmetrically positioned apertures. If the watch is kept wound, the Annual Calendar complication keeps these three displays perfectly accurate, all year long, with only one correction needed on March 1st. A more complicated perpetual calendar corrects for March 1st, which this does not, however, Patek offers a nice additional function, subtly embedded in the chronograph minutes counter at 6 o’clock, which indicates whether it’s day or night via a small circular aperture is white during the day and dark at night, which makes setting the day/date/month — controlled by two recessed pushers on the left case flank — easier.
In keeping with the intuitive layout of the Annual Calendar, the flyback chronograph has a 60-minute counter located at 6 o’clock, as opposed to a 30-minute counter, which is far more useful and easy to read. The designers included ten full-length applied, faceted indices to mark the hours, with shorted square-shaped double indices at 12 o’clock and a single square-shaped index at 6, ensuring readability for all twelve hours. Dauphine-shaped, faceted rhodium-plated hands display the hours and minutes, and while the central second hand, which is actuated by the pill-shaped pushers on the right-hand side of the case, counts the chronograph seconds 0-60. Notably, the chronograph seconds hand can also be used as a traditional center seconds hand that sweeps continuously, according to Patek. This is possible thanks to the configuration of the chronograph, which I’ll discuss below.
Driving the aforementioned functions and complications is Patek’s caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H, which was first introduced in 2006, and represents the second in-house chronograph movement made by the Genevan watchmaker. Patek Philippe highlights the vertical disk-type clutch system, a technical aspect of this movement, that allows the chronograph seconds hand to be used as a permanently running seconds hand — with minimal wear and tear and no amplitude loss — should you so choose. This is possible thanks to a configuration that does not reduce the movement’s timekeeping amplitude when the chronograph is running, which is not exclusive to Patek but does require a premium vertical clutch and column wheel configuration. Further adding to the usefulness of the chronograph integration, is a flyback function, which allows the chronograph seconds hand to be restarted without actually stopping it first, contrary to regular non-flyback chronographs.
From the immaculately decorated movement to the sophisticated clean white print and well-positioned aesthetic of the dial to the intricate styling of the case and the new integrated steel bracelet — everything has been manufactured to the highest standards, resulting in a sublime collector’s timepiece designed for daily use. Patek’s Flyback Chronograph Annual Calendar Ref. 5905/1A-001 joins references 5905P-001 with a platinum case and blue dial, and 5905R-001 with a rose gold case and brown dial.
The retail price is $59,140.
Photos by Patek Philippe.