The Patek Philippe Ref. 5960A is one of the anomalies in the brand’s history, and as we all know, collectors love or eventually come to love anomalies in any brand. When it was first introduced in 2014, everyone lost their minds, because it was such a radical move for Patek Philippe to release a sports watch (outside of the Nautilus and Aquanaut line) in steel! At the time, the reviews were mixed and it has been known for a while that the brand has been trying to attract a younger audience, with the Ref. 5960A being testament to that. What is even more unusual is the decision to discontinue this reference just four short years later. No one knows exactly why, but there were rumors that Patek did not want to use steel outside of its Nautilus and Aquanaut range. Irrespective of this, what we end up with is a short production-run watch that is different from the brand’s usual offering. To me, this is a recipe for success.
What we have on offer here today is the exact same Ref. 5960A, but one that is slightly different from its 2014 predecessor and only saw one year of production. Introduced back in 2017 as a one-off and updated variant to its white-dialed older sibling, this variant comes with a reverse dial configuration with an ebony black dial with silvery white and bright red accents but still retains the very same beautiful movement Cal. CH28-520 IRM QA which holds a 24-hour power reserve. To add to this, the black metal surrounds, markers and the rehaut around the periphery of the dial have all been swapped for silver, which provides a nice touch of contrast to the dial. With all these cosmetic updates, what’s not to like? In my mind, there is no doubt that this move is only going to replicate the success of its predecessor.
That being said, I myself have always liked the aesthetics of the Ref. 5960A. I, for one, prefer bracelet watches these days as I live in the tropics and I personally find Patek Philippe bracelets as some of the most comfortable to wear in this type of environment. The sporty black dial with red accents works wonders for me and the 40.5mm stainless steel case sits great on the wrist.
For context, the Ref. 5960 is not actually a new reference. It was first released in 2006 as a dress watch in precious metals and was the first in-house self-winding chronograph made by Patek Philippe. Featuring three apertures at the top of the dial displaying the day date and month and a 6 o’clock sub-dial displaying the chronograph counters and a day/night indicator, it is in my opinion, the platonic ideal of an everyday watch.
At the end of the day, the Ref. 5960A is special and complicated enough to keep any watch enthusiast interested, and not something that is so over the top that you have to worry wherever you go. This very idea is why I think it made logical sense to make a sportier version of the 5960. It is a shame that they did eventually discontinue this line as collectors are now starting to realize that it was indeed a special reference. To make matters worse (for collectors), this particular black dial variant was only made for one single year. That being said, only time will tell if Patek ever decides to bring it back, but I have a sneaking suspicion this variant of the Ref. 5960A will also continue to increase in popularity and desirability as time goes on.