Patek Philippe rendered the interior of its manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates unrecognisable even to those familiar with it last night as the brand pulled out all the stops to celebrate its 175th anniversary. Courtyards and gardens made way for a huge temporary indoor structure that housed a lounge area, bars and even a temporary exhibition that included a breathtaking 3D immersion into the movement of its new star piece : The GrandMaster Chime.

In what is, perhaps, a tongue-in-cheek dig at Apple’s much-hyped timepiece, Patek Philippe refers to the Grandmaster Chime (reference 5175 for the Patek purists) as an "intelligent watch". For the brand’s master watchmakers, however, intelligence in this case meant developing isolators to ensure that certain functions are blocked to avoid damaging the movement while others are in operation, and meticulously hand engraving the names of the functions on the respective pushers.


Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175 with the front dial view showing the running time, moon phase, date, power reserve indicators and alarm time. © Patek Philippe


The sheer magnitude of the new collection, whose star model alone accounted for 100,000 hours of development, production and assembly (4167 days, or 595 weeks, or a mind-boggling 11 years of cumulative work, to save you the counting), is enough to keep even the most die-hard and demanding watch fans salivating for weeks to come. We will indeed be returning to all the new models in detail over the coming days on WorldTempus.

But back to the superlatives for the Grandmaster Chime : 1,366 individual components in the movement and 214 for each pivoting case, which has an astonishingly reasonable 47mm diameter for a wristwatch with a dial on either side and, among its 20 complications, two "striking" functions that have never before been seen in a wristwatch : a striking alarm and a new, patented, striking date.


The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175 back dial view showing the 24-hour display, instantaneous perpetual calendar indications. Note the highly unusual four-digit year window. © Patek Philippe


Our contributor David Chokron will come back to these radical new features, as well as the 18 other complications, just as soon as he has had time to digest the many functions of this new piece. WorldTempus will also take a closer look, of course, into the other new timepieces presented for Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary, for which names for once take priority over reference numbers (to the delight of those with dyscalculia).

Look out for more details, therefore, on the beautifully engraved dial of the Chiming Jumping Hour (ref.  5275) the World Time Moon (ref. 5575 and 7175) and the Multi-Scale Chronographs (ref. 5975 and 4675) plus a whole series of watches that show off the brand’s rare handcraft capabilities.