When you travel, you are usually concerned with just a single time — the time of where you’re at. Still, for those needing to stay in touch with those in other parts of the globe, then a GMT or World Time complication becomes handy, and getting those two together is no difficult feat. If you also want to time how long you’ve left the rental parked at the meter, then a chronograph would be handy, but that sounds like a separate watch. Unless, of course, you’re wearing the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P.
The Patek Philippe World Time 5930P is a fairly recent creation, having just been released at the end of 2021. Go back a few years, to 2016, and we see that it was preceded by the Patek Philippe World Time 5930G, when Patek combined the world timer and chronograph functions in the layout we have here. True history detectives will go back even further in time. The layout we see on the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P with world cities around the outside of the dial? It was first invented by a watchmaker by the name of Louis Cottier in 1931. More precisely, Cottier made the design into something that caught the eye of watch brands. His father, Emmanuel Cottier, originated the idea in 1885, but no one took notice. When Louis built his father’s idea, then the concept of timing all the world on a single dial took off.
It was 1937 when Patek Philippe released their first world timer, the reference 605 (a pocket watch). A few other models were made after that, but one we want to focus on is from 1940. This was a one-off “piece unique”, officially known as the Patek Philippe 1415-1. This was a world timer, of course, and also combined a pulsometer chronograph, making it the obvious progenitor of the 5930 World Time Chronograph line.
The most striking thing about the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P is the emerald green dial. This gives a much brighter look to the watch than the deep blue of the 5930G. Light plays across the hand-guilloche center of the dial, which one can almost imagine as fight paths of planes around the globe. Going out from the verdant center you have the 24-hour day/night indication, around which you have the world times done in green-on-white, further brightening the looks.
For all that is going on with the watch, complication-wise, it is quite legible and easy to use. Legibility is handled via the luminous fill on the applied indices and dagger-style hands. The subdial at 6 o’clock is the 30-minute accumulator for the chronograph, with the chronograph seconds hand in its place right on the center pinion. The chronograph itself is triggered with the pushers that flank the crown, with the added benefit that you can reset the timing on the fly. In other words, you don’t have to stop it, reset it, and then start it again — just reset and things keep running.
That leaves the third pusher on the platinum case of the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P. That is how you adjust the world time display. So, while the watch may look intimidating at first glance, it’s quite intuitive, and the owner of one would no doubt quickly acclimate to the workings of the watch.
While design goes a long way towards making this watch so easy to use, you cannot understate the importance that the movement tucked into the case of the 5930P. In this case, it is the Patek Philippe 28-520 HU movement. This is an automatically wound movement that provides a 48-hour power reserve while running at 4 Hz frequency. Of course, it also provides the world timer and chronograph functionality, and all of this is visible via the exhibition caseback.
The chronograph piece hides another interesting tidbit. We touched on it above when we mentioned you can reset the timer on the fly. This is due to the movement relying on a vertical clutch. Aside from being an interesting party trick, it also means you can leave the chronograph running and use the chronograph seconds as a running seconds hand, if you desire. In a regular chronograph, that would bring a whole host of concerns, not limited to undue wear-and-tear on components and running down the power reserve. With the vertical clutch, those concerns are indeed swept to the side. So, more than just being a pretty face, this is a watch with some very accomplished watchmaking chops backing it up.
Versus The Competition
Since Patek Philippe has been making world timer watches with the world cities for 85 years now, the most obvious competition would be from within their own catalog, with a watch such as the Patek Philippe 5131P. One can certainly cast a wider net.
While it drops the chronograph functionality, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone keeps world timing front stage, doing things in a bit different method. You’ve got two time indications (local and home), which each have their own day/night indicator. Additionally, as you’re setting the city you’re tracking (via the arrow between the 4 and 6 on the subdial), you get an indicator of if that city observes daylight savings time or not. It’s a clever touch, and just one of many that this watch packs in.
If, on the other hand, you want your world timer to be a bit less subtle, then the Richard Mille RM63-02 is where we would direct your attention. For all of its bright colors and bold design elements, the world time function is deceptively elegant. To adjust things, you simple use the bezel to align your local city to 12 o’clock, and everything else falls into place, including the hour hand. Hard to beat that for ease of use!
When you consider Patek Philippe and the watches they offer, you no doubt have an idea in your mind of what you’d consider the personality of the watch (and its owner) to be. I think their world timer line tends to break that mold a bit, setting off on a more artistic approach to things, particularly with their enamel world map dials. While there’s no enamel to be seen here, the guilloche dial still has that touch of artistry to it that sets it apart from a subdued and flat dial.
For all the artistic day dreaming of flight paths, the Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P is about being on top of time in your life. Not in control of it, no, but being able to track it minutely. Between local time, world time, and chronograph timing, this watch lets you watch time how you want to, whether or not it’s flying out the window. This is a watch that likes knowing where it is in the day and getting you that information cleanly and clearly.
While a number of luxury watch models have gone the path of moving away from precious metals and towards steel, Patek Philippe bucks that trend. The original Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930 came in a lovely white gold, and for this release, upped the ante by going with platinum – denoted also by the small diamond set between the lower lugs.
All in all, this is a watch that certainly defines elegant simplicity. Yes, what the movement is doing is anything but simple, particularly with the combination of complications put together here. And that’s not even to mention how compactly it is done, allowing for a relatively thin watch. For all of that, the dial is still crisply legible, and actually interacting with those complications is clearly handled via the pushers on the case. For all of the complexity, the actual use is simplicity itself. That simplicity is then wrapped up into an elegant luxury watch that will be more than happy to travel the world with you, no question about it.