Through its centuries-long history, Patek Philippe has garnered a reputation as the manufacturer of the world’s most elegant dress watches. Within this broad characterization, many have also come to know the Geneva-based brand as the producer of the first world-time wristwatch.
For this review, I have a wristwatch that fuses these two attributes: the Patek Philippe 5110J World Time watch. I’ll be taking a closer look at this dressy-yet-complicated watch via the following categories:
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Patek 5110 World Timer Specs & Price
- Case Diameter: 37mm
- Case Material: 18K Yellow Gold
- Crystal: Scratch-Resistant Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 30M / <100ft
- Dial: Guilloché
- Movement: Patek Philippe 240 HU Manufacture Caliber
- 48-Hour Power Reserve
- World Time Complication
- 22K Yellow Gold Micro-Rotor
- Geneva Hallmark Finishing
- Retail Price: Discontinued
- Browse on [eBay / Bob’s Watches]
Patek Philippe 5110J Case Overview
Broadly speaking, the case of the Patek Philippe 5110J is rather simple. This is to be expected from most dress watches and, as I’ll delve into in this article, the devil is in the details.
On paper, the case of the 5110J is 37mm in diameter. However, I don’t believe this dimension is the traditional “9 to 3 o’clock”; indeed, Patek often measures their watches diagonally across the face of the watch. Nevertheless, I personally measured the 9-to-3 dimension and found it to be about 39mm which is definitely proper for a dress watch.
Additionally, the 5110J World Time is 44mm from lug-to-lug, 9.5mm at its thickest point, and 20mm between the lugs (strap size).
As mentioned previously, the case is rather sterile as far as superficial design features though this is not to say that it is boring. The lugs slope gently away from the watch head and down into the wrist. On the right side of the case, this same line converges at the crown from top and bottom, essentially creating integrated crown guards.
Moreover, the bezel also employs a gentle curvature that blends into the domed sapphire crystal protecting the face of the watch. Overall, the 5110J boasts very few (if any) sharp edges on its case that could eject its design from the dress watch realm.
The 5110J’s Guilloché Dial
The clean case design stands in contrast to the dial of the 5110J World Time which, to the unfamiliar, can appear to be almost too busy. There is seemingly a lot of text, a lot of numbers, and a lot of texture that at first confuses the eye. Yet, by taking a moment to understand what’s going on in the face of the watch, one can garner a greater appreciation for Patek Philippe’s way of conveying a lot of information in a simple way.
First, we have an intricate Guilloché inner dial onto which 18K yellow gold baton hour indices are applied. Surrounding this inner dial is a rotating, dual-toned disc that serves as an AM/PM indicator. And lastly, surrounding the previously described elements is the reference time zone disc that also rotates and which is imprinted with the 24 different cities representing 24 different global time zones.
There are additional details, such as the 18K yellow gold hands and the gold-painted sun and moon icons on the 24-hour disc that are also worthy of admiration.
How To Read The 5110J World Time Watch
The indications on the face of the 5110J can at first be confusing though once one learns how to use them, telling the exact time in any of the 24 global time zones becomes a breeze.
First, one must set the “home” time zone. This is done by using the button at 10 o’clock to rotate the cities disc until the home city is at the 12 o’clock position. Next, one would use the crown to the correct hour and minute.
From this point, one would then be able to tell the time in any time zone in the world using the 24-hour disc and the minutes hand at center. For instance, using the close-up picture above, we can see that London is set as the home time zone and that the time is around 7:30 AM.
If we wanted to know the time in Denver, we can see that the city is currently between the moon (24) and the 1 on the 24-hour disc. Using the minute indication at center, we aggregate these two data points to get 12:30 AM as the time in Denver. Indeed, a quick Google search proves that London is 7 hours ahead of Denver. The same way we determined the time in Denver, we can do so for any city in the world as long as we know its time zone.
Yet, this is the long way to calculating the time in a different time zone. The short-and-easy way is to simply use the pusher at 10 o’clock to bring the desired city to the 12 position and the hour and minute hands at center will automatically move to reflect the correct time in that time zone.
This is the beauty of the Patek Philippe World Time complication – an incredibly complex internal mechanism performs complicated calculations with the literal push of a button.
Black Alligator Strap & 18K Yellow Gold Clasp
Patek Philippe did not stray far from tradition when settling on a strap option for the dressy 5110J. A classic alligator strap, though beautifully executed with matching-tone stitching, suffices.
It’s worth noting that the alligator hide possesses a beige calfskin backing that ensures comfort. It is also accompanied by a substantial Calatrava cross folding clasp presented in a matching 18K yellow gold.
Aside from imparting the luxury of more Patek Philippe gold on your wrist, the heft of the clasp helps to balance the heft of the gold watch head on the wrist.
The Calatrava Cross also makes it evident that you’re wearing a gold Patek Philippe watch even when the face of the watch isn’t visible.
Patek’s 240 HU Caliber
The self-winding 240 HU (Heures Universelle = hours universal) is the movement powering the 5110J as well as many other of Patek’s world time offerings.
Among the highlights of this caliber are included a 48-hour power reserve, a 22K gold micro-rotor, Geneva seal finishing, and more.
Geneva Seal finishing speaks to certain criteria that the watch and movement must meet in order to display the Poinçon de Genève. To the layman, the most important aspect of this qualification is that it makes the movement truly pleasing to look at.
The sapphire case back makes it very easy to admire the movement at any time, and the micro-rotor architecture ensures that the view isn’t blocked by a traditional, centrally-mounted winding rotor. Moreover, the micro-rotor rests within the plane of the movement so as to not increase the thickness of the watch. In this manner, neither mechanical complexity nor the convenience of a slim watch are sacrificed.
A few short minutes or even a couple of hours are hardly enough time to get to know this Patek Philippe 5110J. While the short period of time did allow me to become familiar with this classic Patek Philippe World Time, only by wearing the watch and experiencing its functionality and aesthetics over an extended period of time can one truly get to know it.
For this reason, I am leaving aside the Owner’s Perspective component of this review to the owner of this awesome 5110J, BU’s own Paul Anthony! In the near future, he’ll be appending his perspective and thoughts after having owned and worn this iconic Patek Philippe complication for more than just a couple of months.
If you enjoyed this brief overview of the Patek Philippe 5110J World Time watch, check out some of our other popular wristwatch guides and reviews:
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