To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this design, which was conceived with a the timeless golden ratio in mind, Patek is presenting a new rose gold “Jumbo” version with a 34.5mm x 39.5mm case and an ebony black sunburst dial. This new version of the larger format Reference 5738 joins the already existing platinum version that was launched 10 years ago for the watch’s 40th anniversary. Inside is the ultra-thin caliber 240 with micro-rotor. The movement measures just 2.53mm from top to bottom, allowing the watch itself to come in with a total height of just under 6mm. Like a lot of younger watch enthusiasts (I’m still youngish, right?), I’ve long viewed the Golden Ellipse as kind of an old man’s watch, but this larger format version, which measures just south of 40mm from top to bottom and a hair under 35mm across, appeals to me in a way that I hadn’t really expected. Maybe the purported timelessness of the Golden Ratio is something that I had to grow into. The patek philippe golden ellipse 5738 is back on my radar as a great ultra-thin automatic option. The warmth of this watch’s rose gold case is really nicely tempered by the black sunray dial and the onyx set within the crown.
On June 10, as the president of Patek Philippe entered the Sumitomo Sankaku Hiroba event space in Tokyo where the venerable Genevan watchmaker was staging its sixth and largest grand exhibition to date, his violet-colored kimono, the same royal hue as the signage, affirmed what many insiders already know about the brand’s relationship with Japan: Home to some of the world’s most sophisticated watch collectors, the country and its rich culture is a font of horological inspiration.
“We have been here for over 150 years,” Stern said during a press conference earlier that day on the occasion of the exhibition’s opening. “It’s a very difficult market in terms of quality—the quality level [demanded by the Japanese] is very high—but for Patek, it’s a perfect match.”
Running through June 25, the grand exhibition is open to the public and free of charge. Spanning nearly 27,000 square feet of space at the foot of the triangular Shinjuku Sumitomo skyscraper in the heart of Tokyo’s Nishi-Shinjuku business district, the exhibition welcomes visitors with a wide video screen depicting a view of the Genevan lakeside, including a replica of the city’s famed Flower Clock.
Inside, flanking a gazebo-like kiosk featuring a patek philippe golden ellipse 5738 video that explains the brand’s history, are 10 themed areas, each focused on a different aspect of the brand’s offering, including its current collection, complicated and chiming watches and the rare handcrafts made specifically for the Japanese market. The décor and layout are designed to transport visitors to Geneva, specifically to the brand’s historic headquarters in the rue du Rhône, its manufacture at Plan-les-Ouates, and the Patek Philippe Museum.
For many visitors, the Rare Handcrafts room is the highlight of the exhibition. Home to 40 one-of-a-kind pieces and limited editions (including eight dome clocks, five table clocks, nine pocket patek philippe golden ellipse 5738 watches, and 18 wristwatches), the timekeepers on display incorporate centuries-old artisanal techniques such as miniature painting on enamel, cloisonné enamel, hand engraving, micro wood marquetry, hand-executed guilloché work, and gem-setting.