How Patek Might Win Back Young Buyers:
Hands on with the Patek Philippe 5930G

Article By: Logan Hannen

WATCH101 | June 17, 2019

In partnership with London Jewelers

It’s no secret that Patek Philippe has the unfortunate reputation of being an “old man’s” watch brand. In part, this is their own fault, as many of their designs are classic, but ultimately unappealing to a younger audience that has grown wary of being fed the same thing over and over again. The other part is the price point, something that for many in the subcategory of “young watch geeks” is simply unattainable. And while they may eventually aspire to own a piece of that caliber, if they’re not sold on the watches, then they will eventually choose to spend their money elsewhere.

They’ve made successful passes at this before. First was the release of the Gerald Genta designed Nautilus in 1976, a watch that took the same ideal as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (also designed by Genta previously), being a luxury watch in steel, and further refining it in a way that only Patek can. They managed it again in 1997 with the release of the Aquanaut, an even sportier model equipped on a rubber strap that was perhaps the least Patek-like thing they’d ever made. Both times, this worked to rope in the younger watch buyer without sacrificing anything that made the brand so prestigious.

With this, however, came one fatal issue – the watches, now, are almost entirely unattainable. The waiting list for a steel Nautilus 5711 is years long, and the Aquanaut is only marginally better and more accessible at retail. This, once again, pushes the brand out of reach for young watch geeks.

Last year, the brand tried once again with the launch of the Aquanaut Chronograph 5968, but the release fell flat on its face for not only bulking up an otherwise elegant watch, but by taking for granted the fact that young potential clients of Patek Philippe look for more than a sporty complication and some bright colors to really rope them in.

In 2016, though, Patek had given it yet another go, one that had flown almost completely under the radar, and this time, they may have just stuck the landing. Enter the 5930G, the brand’s world time chronograph, and the first time the two complications have been combined by the brand for a production model.

Source: Anna Griffin

The Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930G
Case Diameter: 39.5mm
Case Height: 12.86mm
Case Material: White Gold
Strap: Royal Blue Alligator Leather
Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber CH 28-520 HU
Price: $75,300

The new 5930G is not entirely new, in that it was inspired by a piece unique that was developed by the brand for a physician in 1940. That watch, the reference 1415 HU, is a decidedly different watch visually. Executed in yellow gold and featuring an entirely different case, hand set, and dial layout, the inspiration is loose to say the least, but that may well be the thing working in the brand’s favor.

Source: Anna Griffin

One of the things that is abundantly clear from the look of the watch is that, for a chronograph, it oddly only features one subdial. The reason for this is simple – Patek wanted to ensure that the central second hand could still be running at all times. The chronograph can time events up to 30 minutes exclusively, and all of the relevant chronograph information is displayed on the single 30 minute subdial found at 6 o’clock. This helps to free up the dial substantially compared to other, similarly complicated watches, making everything incredibly legible.

That being said, you’d be forgiven for thinking the chronograph pushers were actually function pushers for the world time given how little attention seems to be paid to the chronograph complication on the dial. While it works wonders for legibility, it also serves to diminish the impressive nature of this complicated watch a bit. Is it unredeemable? No, but it definitely does render the chronograph feeling like a bit of an afterthought.

Source: Anna Griffin

The world time discs are executed in the same vivid blue as the dial, with a gap of white between the city names and main dial on the 24 hour disc. There’s no getting around it – they’re not subtle. However, this works not only to enhance their legibility from a practical standpoint, but also to make the watch feel just loud enough that it would be attention getting to a younger potential buyer, without resorting to bright orange (looking at you, 5968).

At just under 40mm, the sizing is contemporary for both the older, more traditional Patek buyer as well as the younger crowd the brand may have been subtly trying to attract with this watch. Its price point, while substantial, manages to avoid the trap of slipping into the six-digit price bracket that takes many a Patek and makes them unattainable even to the most well-off young professionals.

Source: Anna Griffin

Then there’s the design of the case, beautifully executed with a number of superb bevels and brushed elements that make it both classic and interesting at the same time. Its lugs are curved in a more complex fashion without feeling gimmicky in the slightest. And its pushers, for both the chronograph and the world time, are rectangular, meaning they manage to ride the line between sporty and dressy perfectly. And really, that’s exactly the position this watch fills as a whole. It isn’t a pure sport model, but on a blue nubuck strap could easily be a casual option in the right setting, but in its stock configuration, is also incredibly dressy when the need arises. If you need one watch that can do nearly everything but get wet, and you want to make sure its from some of the best in the world, then the 5930G might just be the perfect way for the young horophile to keep it classy, watchfam.