Patek Philippe Icons – Part 7/10 (16th JANUARY) – REF. 5074P

Unlike so many other complications, Patek Philippe cannot lay claim to inventing the minute repeater. Notwithstanding that, within horological circles there is little that is seen as more exhilarating than a minute repeater manufactured by Patek Philippe.

Minute repeaters, along with rattrapante and tourbillon, are seen as the three highest complications courtesy of the technical difficulty involved in their execution. Many would argue that the minute repeater is the absolute epitome of complication.

Patek Philippe can date their involvement with repeaters back to 1839 – a quarter repeater that was, in fact, only the 19th registered watch ever made by Patek Philippe. The first minute repeater came 6 years later. The first wristwatch repeater came in 1916 (a 5 minute repeater) with the first wristwatch minute repeater coming in 1925.

It is fair to say that minute repeater production has always been scarce. Through the 1960s and 1970s, and most of the 1980s, hardly any minute repeaters were made. Things started to change from 1989, when the Ref. 3974 was produced. Thereafter, Patek Philippe produced a more regular range of minute repeaters.

For me, it is difficult to evaluate what would represent the most iconic Patek Philippe minute repeater. In one sense, any Patek Philippe minute repeater is an icon. I have a lot of admiration for the enamel dial minute repeater that is currently in production – Ref. 5178G. It represents for me everything that a perfect minute repeater should possess. However, the Ref. 5178 very much reflects my own taste rather than what should be considered an all-time classic. For that, I think the watch that qualifies is the Ref. 5074P.

The 5074P is one of those instantly recognisable watches.

(Source courtesy of Quill & Pad)

Described in the 2012 London Exhibition special edition book “Minute Repeaters”, the Ref. 5074P is described as an old-school classic. A self-winding caliber R 27 Q composing of 467 parts. The watch is available in platinum and rose gold. A minute repeater with two cathedral gongs, perpetual calendar and moonphase.

The watch has been in the Patek Philippe collection since 2002 and has become a classic over that time. It is instantly recognisable courtesy of its case design. I think identifying a minute repeater icon within Patek Philippe is possibly harder than for any other complication merely because they are all icons. But if I had to pick one…… Ref. 5074P

Old-school classic

(Source courtesy of Quill & Pad)