Released in 2019 following the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Regulator ref. 5235G from 2011, which was the brand's first-ever regulator-style timepiece, the ref. 5235R is a stunningly legible and beautifully designed masterclass in luxury watchmaking. Featuring a symmetrical layout, classy aesthetic, and connections to watchmaking's roots, the ref. 5235R is one of the most unusual and interesting watches that Patek Philippe currently offers.
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 in order to have a more accurate reading of the time, but today it is done more as a novelty.
The dial of the 5235R is remarkably simple considering the amount of information displayed. Featuring a beautifully enigmatic, vertically stain brushed grey dial with a matte black outer ring and sub-dials, the color of the brushing changes from a very light grey to an almost black tone depending on the lighting. There are three apertures at 10, 2, and 6 o’clock which displays the day, month, and date respectively, all colored in black and blending in well with the overall aesthetic. The hour and minutes sub dial are positioned at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively with the minute's hand mounted on the central axis. The two black subdials have a rose gold ring around them which creates a beautiful accent on the otherwise monochromatic dial and interestingly, while Patek Philippe logos have been annoyingly growing in size on watch dials in recent times, the 5235R refreshingly features an ‘invisible’ logo at 3 o’clock, disappearing and reappearing depending on the viewing angle. This makes sense as the regulator was made as a pure time-telling tool, a utilitarian object with no superfluousness made in order to display time as accurately as possible.
Finishing off the design, we get to the ref. 5235R's 40.5mm 18kt rose gold case, which plays upon Patek's timepieces of old with its polished bezel, sharp angular lugs, and satin-brushed mid-case that ties in with the satin-brushed dial to link the dial with the case in a rather pleasing manner. As mentioned, the ref. 5235G was Patek's first-ever regulator model, so Patek had to create a new (at the time) automatic ultra-thin in-house cal. 31-260 REG QA, which you can see proudly and excellently finished via the sapphire case back. At 5.08mm thick and self-winding with a 22 karat gold micro-rotor, it works as a fantastic dress watch.
This Patek Philippe Regulator Annual Calendar 5235R 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.