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Head-to-Head with the Patek Philippe 5905P and 5396G

Taking a look at two of Patek Philippe’s less-frequently discussed complicated watches, the 5905P and the 5396G.

May 19, 2020
By: Logan Hannen

Patek Philippe is known for a few different things. The brand is widely respected for its Calatrava model – classy and conservative dress watches in modest sizing. Another icon is the Nautilus, a Gerald Genta designed “sport” watch (near impossible to get a hold of new at retail). And then, of course, we have the watches that they’re perhaps least often associated with in mainstream parlance, but the watches that are clearly a serious passion — complications.

Over the decades, Patek has released a range of different, incredibly complicated watches, all of which have garnered immense respect, and a serious price tag to match. Much of the conversation around their complications focus references like the 3940 and 5970. However, their range is much wider. Today, we’re going to take a look at two of their less-frequently discussed complicated watches, the 5905P and the 5396G, pitting them head to head to see just how different, or similar, two Patek Complications can really be.

 

Case

The Patek Philippe 5396G and 5905P (respectively)
Source: Theo & Harris

Perhaps the first thing that’s noteworthy about both of these watches is their case materials. The 5396 is executed in white gold, while the 5905 is executed in platinum. On the surface, these are similar metals, possibly mistaken for stainless steel by the unknowing eye. This works wonders for their “stealth wealth” factor, since both are obviously precious metal, not just steel, but it does equally make for an interesting side-by-side. When we talk about “stealth wealth,” it’s the idea that you can look at a watch and not realize just how premium it really is because its precious metal case resembles the typically more affordable stainless steel. In this case, though, even if you were aware they were precious, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the 5905 is also in white gold, and not platinum. Thus, we almost end up with a kind of dual layered stealth wealth factor.

These watches really stand apart in size. The 5396G is housed in a 38.5mm case, whereas the 5905P is housed in a 42mm case. The 5905 is, of course, already looking to garner a premium based on the more precious metal (platinum), and increasing the mass of that metal certainly helps to up the pricing a bit. In terms of finishing, though, both are fully polished, again lending to the visual impression that they’re crafted of the same material.

 

Dial

Source: Theo & Harris

The 5396G features an opaline silver dial with applied hour indices that are highly polished to match the case, and a set of dauphine hour and minute hands at center. A thin, needly seconds hand is also found at the center of the dial. Under the Patek Philippe name at 12 o’clock, we have apertures for the day of the week and month, along with a subdial at 6 o’clock for the date. Embedded here, we also have a moonphase indicator.

Source: Theo & Harris

The 5905P features similar calendar apertures, all executed differently than on the 5396, since the 5905 is an annual calendar chronograph, meaning the dial needs to not only accommodate windows for the calendar, but also displays for the chronograph functions. To do so, we have the three windows for the calendar function displayed between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, with white text on a black background, which matches its black dial base. There is no constant seconds indicator here — instead, we have a 60 minute subdial at 6 o’clock, and the main, central seconds hand is used to track time via the chronograph.

 

Movement

The Patek Philippe 5396G and 5905P (respectively)
Source: Theo & Harris

Powering the 5396G is the Patek caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/303, a complicated name for an equally complicated movement. As mentioned, we have an annual calendar here, meaning the watch knows the difference between months with 30 and 31 days. The only time the date will need to be manually changed is during the jump from February to March. It also features a moonphase indicator. The movement is automatic, and features an 18k yellow gold rotor for automatic winding.

The Patek caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H powers the 5905P. Like the 5396, the calendar knows the difference between months with 30 and 31 days, and needs only be set manually during the jump from February to March. There is no moonphase indicator here, though, instead opting for a 60 minute subdial and a central chronograph seconds hand. Unlike most chronographs, the 60 minute totalizer is the only such scale on the dial, making for a cleaner aesthetic and also, by virtue of there being less to display, a slightly thinner movement than many chronographs. This movement also tracks day and night via an indicator embedded in the 6 o’clock subdial.

 

The Damage
The Patek Philippe 5396G goes for $47,970.
The Patek Philippe 5905P goes for $78,200.

 

The Verdict

Source: Theo & Harris

What we have here are two incredibly similar watches on paper that are worlds apart in reality. From case material to dials to dimensions, it’s impossible to quantify exactly how unique and special each of these watches are on their own. And that, ultimately, is the crux of the argument. They’re very different in the metal, so much so that they were clearly designed for two entirely different clients. For the 5396G, we’re looking at someone after a dressy, but complicated watch, someone likely wearing a suit five days out of the week or with a desire to present their refined taste via their wrist. With the 5905P, we have something much bolder — still elegant, but with a kind of aggression that is impossible to deny based on the size and increased premium of the platinum case. Yet, because of these differences, they would fit just as well together in one collection.

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