This Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Regulator Ref. 5235G is a Patek that is very unlike any other—a bit of a design outlier from the Maison, if you will. When it was first released back in Baselworld 2012, it caused a stir within the industry as it was the very first time Patek Philippe made a regulator-style design featuring an annual calendar complication. With the hours, minutes and seconds all broken up into three distinct and individual components on the dial, what we have here with the Ref. 5235G is a stunningly legible and a design masterclass in luxury watchmaking.
Where a traditional time-only watch displays the hours, seconds, and minutes on a single axis with three hands, a regulator is a watch that displays these three pieces of information individually. This was done traditionally in the past to have a more accurate reading of the time, but today it is done more as a novelty.
The design of the Ref. 5235G's dial is surprisingly uncomplicated, considering the wealth of information it presents. The dial showcases an intriguing vertically stained tri-tone design, featuring a brushed grey centre, a bright silver-white outer ring, and off-white sub-dials that exhibit a captivating shimmer under varying lighting conditions. To enhance the seemingly minimalist aesthetic, navy blue accents adorn the hands and minute track. Additionally, three apertures at 10, 2, and 6 o'clock elegantly display the day, month, and date, utilizing a navy-coloured font on matching white discs that seamlessly integrate with the overall aesthetic. As far as legibility goes, the hour and minute sub-dials are thoughtfully positioned at 12 and 6 o'clock, with the minute hand mounted on the central axis. In a departure from the trend of enlarging brand logos on watch dials, the Ref. 5235G takes a refreshing approach. Its invisible' (or nearly so) logo discreetly resides at 3 o'clock, blending into the brushing and subtly reappearing based on the viewing angle. This design choice aligns with the watch's purpose as a pure time-telling tool—a utilitarian object crafted without unnecessary elements, solely focused on providing accurate timekeeping.
Finishing off the design, we get to the Ref. 5235G's 40.5mm 18-carat white gold case, which plays upon Patek Philippe's timepieces of old with its polished bezel, sharp angular lugs, and satin-brushed mid-case that ties in with the brushed dial in a rather pleasing manner. As mentioned, the Ref. 5235G was Patek's first-ever regulator model, so Patek had to create a new automatic ultra-thin in-house Cal. 31-260 REG QA, which you can see proudly and excellently finished via the open sapphire caseback. At 5.08mm thick and self-winding with a 22-carat gold micro-rotor, it works as a fantastic dress watch.
This Patek Philippe Regulator Annual Calendar Ref. 5235G is, in my opinion, a sleeper in the current range of watches they offer as it is something that is both unique in its complication and as something the brand would offer.