Patek Philippe has a long-standing history of being at the forefront of innovation in the watch world and one of the most historically important complications they make to this day is the World Timer. First invented by Louis Cottier in the 1930s, the design is an ingenious method that allows the user to tell the time of 24 different time zones of major cities easily, all on a single dial. By pushing the button at 10 o’clock, the watch simultaneously advances the hour hand, 24-hour ring, and the cities disc to display whichever local time the user is looking for.
Patek Philippe, along with other notable watchmakers such as Vacheron Constantin and Rolex, took an early interest in this complication, but it was Patek that ultimately won. Since then, both Louis Cottier and Patek Philippe have been indistinguishable when it comes to the world time complication and the look today is instantly recognizable and iconic.
Introduced in Baselworld 2016, the ref. 5230G is the successor to the now discontinued ref. 5130. It came at a time when Patek Philippe felt the needed to modernize the aging 5130. Visually, while the Ref. 5230 bears the same signature look, it has changed a lot. The changes include a brand new case with more angular lugs and the removal of the crown guards seen on the older model. Furthermore, the center of the dial now features a new guilloche pattern, which was inspired by a historical pocket watch in the Patek museum.
The Patek Philippe 5230G utilizes the same, Cal. 240 HU (Heure Universelle), utilizing the legendary 240 base. It is a beautifully finished self-winding, micro-rotor movement that allows the watch to maintain a svelte 10mm thickness.
To have so much information on one dial is no easy feat which is a testament to both Cottier and Patek who managed to make it both easy to use and legible. I do think that the World Timer is the ultimate companion, not only for any traveler, but individuals who have to track different time zones. While many have said that watches are obsolete, the Patek Philippe 5230G is truly one that defies that and possesses real utility. It’s faster to read the time in Moscow on the 5230 than it is to pull out your phone to check. Trust me.