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4. April 2022

Travel time

For the first time, Patek Philippe combines two of its most important patented complications in one watch: the annual calendar (which requires only one manual correction per year) and the Travel Time system for displaying a second time zone. The result is a travel watch with a date display that is synchronized with the local time.

The Manufacture has created a new Calatrava case for the new automatic caliber 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H movement, which comes with eight patents. The flanks bear the typical ‘Clous-de-Paris’ design. A special feature of reference 5326G-001 is its vintage-style dial. It is manufactured entirely by Cadrans Flückiger in Saint-Imier. This dial specialist has been part of Patek Philippe since 2004. The dial is anthracite-colored with a fine black gradient towards the outer edge and has a slightly granulated structure reminiscent of the cases of old cameras.  This design can also be found on the new Calatrava reference 5226G-001, a watch without additional complications that is powered by the automatic Caliber 26-330 S C movement.


For Patek Philippe, the technical and aesthetic perfection of its timepieces have always been equally important. The direct correlation between movement, case and dial is at the heart of all the manufacture’s creations. The automatic movement combines two exclusive complications in a round Calatrava case with a unique construction and an unmistakable dial.

Patek Philippe, PP-5326G_001_DET

In 1996, Patek Philippe brought all its Geneva ateliers together under one roof in Plan-les-Ouates. In the same year, the legendary, patented annual calendar was launched. The full calendar with weekday/date/month can only be corrected once a year, on March 1. To develop the system, which can automatically differentiate between months with 30 and 31 days, the engineers designed a new type of mechanism. It works primarily with wheels and pinions. Since then, the annual calendar has become a highlight among the manufactory’s complicated watches. Today, it is available in numerous models for men and women. Additional complications that have been combined with the annual calendar include the automatic flyback chronograph and a minute repeater (reference 5033).


A new technical launch followed in 1997: the Travel Time mechanism. It has a clutch mechanism. Based on a Patek Philippe patent from 1959, its ingenious system uses a second hour hand from the center to indicate the time in a second time zone.


Two pushers on the left side of the case can move the time zone forwards and backwards in one-hour increments without affecting the precision of the movement. The Travel Time function is also available today in various watch models such as the automatic flyback chronograph reference 5990 or the 24-hour alarm reference 5520.

In 2022, Patek Philippe presented its first watch to combine the annual calendar with the Travel Time function. The manufacture used the extra-thin automatic caliber 31-260 for this purpose. It was launched in 2011 in the annual calendar regulator reference 5235 (31-260 REG QA) and revised in 2021 for the perpetual calendar reference 5236 (31-260 PS QL). The movement was optimized in 2021. The caliber 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H was given a 20% increase in barrel torque and a higher winding force thanks to a platinum mini-rotor. In addition, it is equipped with a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour) and a reduction wheel that decouples the automatic winding system during manual winding, thus reducing wear. In addition, the performance of the new movement has been improved by an exchange wheel mounted between rubies. It increases the efficiency.


Combining the annual calendar with the travel time function presented the developers with a number of technical challenges. Not only did the two mechanisms have to be accommodated in the same watch case. They also had to work together in a way that synchronized the displayed date with the local time. In other words, with the time of the place where the wearer of the watch is currently located. At the same time, the two mechanisms must move forwards or backwards simultaneously when the time zone is changed. In the new Caliber 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H, the travel time function therefore controls the annual calendar. It is the local time hour wheel that drives the calendar. Connoisseurs will therefore be pleased to note that a principle from the world time minute repeater reference 5531 (2017) is once again used for this purpose. It was the first minute repeater to always sound the local time because the world time mechanism controls the minute repeater.

For the new reference 5326G-001, Patek Philippe has also revised the Travel Time function. While the basic principle with two-hour hands from the center is retained (full hand for local time, openworked hand for home time), the developers have replaced the usual time zone pushers in the left flank of the case with an adjustment mechanism via the winding stem. It can assume three positions and celebrated its premiere in 2021 in the Aquanaut Luce Travel Time reference 5269/200R-001. The wearer simply has to pull the crown to the center position (clockwise to set forward, counterclockwise to set back) to adjust the local time hour hand in one-hour increments. This crown setting system was developed for aesthetic reasons. Patek Philippe wanted a simple design in the Calatrava style, combined with a special decoration on the case flanks. The time in the home time zone is set in the classic manner by turning the crown to the outermost position. The caliber 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H has a stop-seconds function. It enables the time to be set to the second. This function is only activated when the crown is pulled to the outermost position so that the movement is not stopped when the time zone is changed, and its accuracy is guaranteed. As long as you are not traveling, the two-hour hands can be superimposed using the crown and act as a single hand.

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Herzlich Ihr
Stefan Oberleitner



mit abgeschlossener Ausbildung im Uhrmacherhandwerk für unser Patek Philippe-Team