Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 (Live Pics)

The Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 presents a combination of two long-standing Patek Philippe specialties that true connoisseurs so far have seen only in a single piece from the 1940s. The chronograph range of the Genevan manufacture ranks among the most eclectic of our era, extending from manually wound classics with horizontal clutches and the world’s thinnest split-seconds chronograph with two column wheels to the monopusher chronograph with a minute repeater and an instantaneous perpetual calendar. Concurrently, with their ingenious patented time-zone mechanisms and inimitable aesthetic appeal, Patek Philippe World Time watches are among the most coveted timepieces in their category. Now, the World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 brings together what is so compellingly complementary.

To date, only a single Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph is known, a one-of-a-kind piece crafted over 70 years ago. It is wristwatch No. 862 442 dated 1940 (Patek Philippe Museum Inv. P996) featuring a dial with pulsimeter and asthmometer scales, and it probably belonged to a physician. With the Ref. 5930, Patek Philippe adds the World Time Chronograph as a member to its regular collection, upgrading it to the 21st-century state of the art. This is an ambitious venture, because both the World Time watch and the chronograph have made epochal progress at Patek Philippe since 1940. The mechanisms have become more precise but also more complex, so it was challenging to integrate both functions into one movement.

The development of a chronograph on which the sun never sets (because it always indicates all 24 time zones) is an adventure in space management. The classic World Time watch does not have a seconds hand, but the chronograph features a long trotteuse and a 30-minute counter. Where conventional chronographs have a scale graduated in fractions of a second, the World Time Chronograph has a moving city disk with place names that each represent one of the 24 international time zones as well as a moving 24-hour ring on which the time is indicated for the city that stands directly above it. So quite a few things are in motion on the dial of a World Time Chronograph, driven by mechanisms (self-winding chronograph movement, World Time mechanism) that must interact in total harmony. The difficulty of this venture is compounded by the Patek Philippe Seal directives which call for the conceivably thinnest and most elegant solution and apply to self-winding watches as well. At the same time, saving hundredths of a millimeter must avoid compromises as regards the quality and precision of the new movement.

The Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 comes in a white-gold case and a blue, hand-guilloched dial center. It is worn on a hand-stitched matt navy blue alligator strap with large square scales to match the dial. An 18K white-gold Calatrava fold-over clasp keeps the watch comfortably secured to the wrist.

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