For a heritage watch brand such as Patek Philippe, there was a wealth of inspiration to be had by inspecting a legacy stretching back 178 years. This year, among a host of new models, the brand highlighted the 20th anniversary of the Aquanaut collection, and the 40th anniversary of the Calibre 240, an ultrathin self-winding movement.

The Aquanaut, popular for its sporty yet chic style, debuted new versions, including the Travel Time Ref. 5650G Advanced Research in white gold and limited to 500 pieces, and the Ref. 5168G in white gold.

The Ref. 5650 is born from the Patek Philippe Advanced Research programme, launched 15 years ago and which boasts two major technical advances. The first is the Spiromax balance spring made of Silinvar and a new geometry design that introduces an inner and outer boss for improved isochronism in vertical positions. The second is a compliant mechanism made from steel that helps reduce the parts used in a time-zone setting mechanism from 37 to 12. This mechanism is used to set the second time zone in GMT watches and is revealed via a transparent section at 9 o’clock. For the first time, both inno-vations are used in one timepiece, making this buzz-worthy timepiece one of the highlights of Baselworld.

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The Aquanaut 5168G features a blue gradient face in a vignette style and encased in white gold – the latter is a first for the line. The timepiece is 42.2mm, a format described as “Jumbo”. Inside ticks the self-winding calibre 324 S C movement, which can be viewed via the transparent caseback. It is water-resistant to 120 metres.

The calibre 240 is used to power other new models in the Calatrava collection, Patek Philippe’s dress watches.

The Calatrava “Squelette” Ref. 5180/1R debuts in rose gold 5N and is skeletonised. It features hand-engraved details on its open-worked structure. The Calatrava Ref. 6006G, reminiscent of the Ref. 5000 launched in 1991, comes in a new white gold version with a dial in black and silver grey pairing. A limited number of Calatrava “Azulejos” Ref. 5089G, featuring dials inspired by traditional glazed tiles used for Spanish and Portuguese style buildings, also house the calibre 240 inside. For the ladies, the Calatrava Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899 is offered, which has a mother-of-pearl dial complemented by diamonds and rose sapphires.

Another highlight is the Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar that is powered by the calibre 324 S Q. Patek Philippe has been a leader in producing wristwatches with perpetual calendars since the first one in 1925. The 5320G features an archetypal design that has graced the dials of perpetual calendar watches since 1941.

Located at 12 o’clock are two windows depicting the day and month; a moon phase and a date dial are at 6 o’clock. Flanking the moon phase on both sides are a day/night aperture on the left, and a leap year aperture on the right. The cream-coloured lacquer dial gives this piece a vintage feel.

The movement can be admired from the transparent caseback. A substitute solid white gold case is optional.

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