Patek Philippe has made a variety of rare pieces in its history. Obscure vintage references often exist in only a few examples; manufacturing quirks lead to a dial anomaly that makes one variant more valuable than another. While there are a wealth of these oddball pieces that command a pretty penny, it’s relatively uncommon for Patek Philippe to create a true limited edition. Even when a piece is produced in small quantities, Patek seldom makes mention of the exact numbers. Today, we are addressing an exception to that rule, the Patek Philippe annual calendar chronograph, reference 5905P-014 Weir and Sons Limited Edition.
The annual calendar complication was born in 1996 as a solution for collectors looking for more complication than a Calatrava but less expense than a Grand Complication. For years, Patek had never had a product to occupy that middle ground market positioning. The reference 5035 became the first annual calendar complication and the beginning of the “Complications” collection of accessible complications. After a lineage of annual calendar complications in the years following the 1996 reference 5035, in 2006 Patek launched the 5960, a combination of the annual calendar and a flyback chronograph. Finally, in 2015, Patek reimagined the annual calendar with flyback chronograph and released the 5905. The 5905 was a bit more refined than the sporty 5960, but the underlying DNA remained the same. The 5905P-014 was introduced in 2019 in celebration of the 150 year anniversary of Ireland’s historic Weir and Sons retailer in Dublin. The special edition was limited to only 25 pieces in noble platinum.
From a design standpoint, for the most part, the 5905P-014 is a carbon copy of the standard 5905 models. It is only in the “hardware and software” that the models differ. In place of the typical steel green dialed 5905/1A, with this variety, we now see a platinum case and a modified dial with a Kelly green color scheme. No longer on a steel bracelet, the 5905P-014 is affixed with a strap like the precious metal variants of the 5905 available. The caseback of the limited edition is engraved “Weir and Sons 150th Anniversary”. Additionally, this special edition comes with an equally special display box designed for the model, and a set of matching white gold cufflinks.
With those aesthetic and material distinctions aside, the watch remains like any other 5905. Central chronograph seconds and time are displayed as with a conventional timepiece. At 6 o’clock, the constant seconds is situated in place of a conventional index, and snailed for texture. Two concentric rings subdivide the dial and frame the annual calendar functions displayed around 12. The hour markers are fashioned from white gold and faceted to catch the light. If you have a chance to examine Patek faceted indexes under a loop, you will see just how precisely refined they are. Watches are meant to be examined up close, and it’s mind boggling to see the level of precision that is capable of being achieved on these timepieces.
One of the hallmarks of this generation of complication from Patek is the 5905’s concave bezel profile. Rather than a convex round, on these modern models (see for example the 5205), Patek has scalloped the bezel inward. Similarly, a relief has been taken from the sides of the lugs. This is a very modern (and difficult to execute) technique, but it yields an interesting aesthetic that is different from what can be found elsewhere.
The Patek Philippe reference 5905P-014 is powered by the caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H. The automatic winding caliber is standard Patek Philippe, with a precious metal winding rotor, 55 hours of power reserve and 40 jewels. This caliber provides the annual calendar display, with day, date and month, alongside the chronograph functionality and a day/night indication. For its part, the chronograph is a standard column wheel flyback mechanism, providing strong tactile feedback in use and crisp operation. The CH 28-520 QA 24H is found in each of the 5905 models in the current collection and is the most modern iteration of the complication available.
Versus the Competition
Collectors that can’t get their hands on one of the 25 examples of the 5905P-014 are in luck, because for practically the same appearance, the 5905/1A-001 is a great alternative. A green dial and white metal (in this case steel) case, few would guess that there’s a six figure difference in price between the two models. Of course, the limited edition is as its classification attests, limited. This carries with it a level of desirability that a production model will not afford. That said, if you are looking at aesthetics, you will be more than satisfied with the green-dialed brother to the green-dialed limited edition.
If you are looking for slightly different complications but enjoy the layout and modern styling of this Patek, the 5205 is also a great option. Providing a moonphase and date complication in place of the flyback chrono, some will find this annual calendar more aesthetically pleasing. Depending on the complications you are looking for, you may gravitate one way or another.
Finally, the most direct comparison to the standard 5905 would be the Patek Philippe 5960. The 5960 shares an incredibly large number of characteristics with the 5905, although the 5960 dips further into the sports aesthetic. Next to the 5960, the 5905 feels more refined and mature, although its stainless steel case and bracelet practically make it more robust. Collectors with smaller wrists will favor the slimmer dimensions of the 5960, while those with larger wrists will gravitate towards the bolder proportions of the 5905.
The collector looking at this watch is a fan of rare Patek. This is not a first watch kind of piece. Commanding a significant sum, a limited edition of only 25 pieces from Patek would be valuable in a nuclear crisis. There’s no doubt this is a beautiful piece, but with watches at this level, for many the watch is viewed as an investment. When collectors part with a significant chunk of change, they want to be able to trust in the security of that allocation. Few investments in the world of timepieces would be more trustworthy than this one. To simplify for those in the investment world, the 5905P-014 would have a very low VaR.
What can be said about a limited edition Patek Philippe? These watches exist alongside souscription Journe watches in the pantheon of exceptionally collectable fine timepieces. It’s hard to imagine that there ever would be a time where a watch like this wouldn’t be in demand. Released originally in celebration of a historic retailer from Ireland, the Weir and Sons 5905P-014 is a special piece. While the 5711 may be a cultural icon, the 5905P-014 exemplifies the modern Patek Philippe philosophy beautifully, and we couldn’t be happier to cover it.