These are models having complications such as Perpetual Calendars, Minute Repeaters, Chronographs, Chimes, Tourbillon, Solar Time Indicators, or similar. Watches in these Families may have one or several of these Complications. In the 2016 product line, each of these Families had about 50 watches with variations of Face, Case, Dial, Complications, and more. Watches in these Families are among the highest price Patek models.
Another Family includes the Calatrava watches.
Calatravas are round face, classic Patek models. They have been in the Patek product line since 1932 and are among the most popular of all Patek watch types. Some Calatravas have Complications but they are less complex than those in the two Complication Families. The 2016 Collection featured nearly 40 Calatrava models.
Gondolo is the next Family.
Watches with Pillow Shape, Rectangular, and Cushion Shape cases are in this Family. About a dozen Patek references were in the Gondolo Family in 2016.
A Family since 1968, includes watches with cases designed in the Golden Ratio. There were 4 models in the 2016 product line.
The Nautilus Family was introduced in 1976.
These watch cases echo a ship's porthole with rounded corners. Nearly all the 30 Patek Nautilus watches have only Hour Markers. Some few have a single Arabic Number in the 12 position.
Aquanaut watches are somewhat similar in appearance to the Nautilus line but have a more rounded case shape. About 15 watches made up this Family in 2016.
The eighth Family, Twenty~4, has 8 rectangular models designed for ladies.
Patek 5055 watches are seen in variations of dial face color and case material.
5055R                      5055G                     5055J                      5055G
The 5055G has a case of 18K White Gold, Black face with white printed Arabic numbers. The 4,5,6,7 and 8 hour numbers are replaced by various dials.
The hands are luminescent white blunted batons. The outside of the face has a railroad track design studded with luminescent rectangular hour markers in Yellow or more commonly, white. The words Patek Philippe Geneve appear prominently in the upper right quarter of the face.
The face displays three "Petite Complications" or "Quantième Simple". These are the Subsidiary Seconds dial in the lower right quarter, the Date Dial superimposed over the outside edge of the Lunar Display in the left lower quarter, and the Winding Reserve pointer and legend in the upper left side of the face. The Power Reserve legend has 3 leading white dots, then the numbers 48,36,24,12 then 6 trailing red dots. Some faces do not have the leading or trailing dots.
The case measures 36mm across and is 9mm thick. The 5055 watches have a sapphire crystal in both the front and over the open case back. The case is a screw down type. Every 5055 case has a unique serial number. This number can be seen only when the screw back is opened. The case has two hallmark stamps in the space between the 6 hour lugs: "750" showing the 18K gold content and a Geneva Key symbol with the number 28 showing Patek as the manufacturer. These marks are hidden when the watch is on the wrist.
The 5055 is water resistant to 2.5 atmospheres, 25 meters, 85 feet. Greater resistance is not possible because of the two pushpin setting accesses which are vulnerable to high pressure at depth.
The same model in Rose Gold is 5055R and in Yellow Gold is 5055J. Other face colors are white and rose.
A similar reference is 5054G which has Roman Numerals and a hinged back.
The Movement is Calibre 240. This number is derived from the width of the movement which is 24.0 mm across. The 240 has been in Patek service since before the introduction of the 5055 watches and continues in the 2016 product line in the 5712 Nautilus watches which are very like the 5055's in having the same petite complications and a similar face design.
The 240 has 265 parts, 29 Jewels, Automatic Winding with a 48 hour winding reserve. The Balance Wheel makes 21,600 half beats per hour. The movement has a mini or micro rotor of 22 K gold which can be seen in the open rear display. The movement has a Patek Gyromax balance adjustable for cold, heat, isochronism (to run at a constant rate no matter how tight or loose the mainspring is wound), and is adjustable in 5 positions. It has a shock absorber, and a self-compensating free-sprung flat balance spring. The movement has Cotes de Geneve work on the bridges. To obtain the desired complications, the 240 is accompanied by a subsidiary movement, the 164. The movement is engraved "240/164" The unique movement serial number of a 5055 can be seen in the open back.
The 240 movement is fully denominated: "240 PS IRM C LU" for PS: Petit Seconde (hand), IRM: Indication Reserve Marche (reserve winding indicator),C: Calendar, LU: Lunar
An article about the 240 Movement appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Patek Philippe, The International Magazine, Volume IV Number 3
The movement is considered to be within specification if it gains or loses no more than about 5 seconds a day and many are more accurate than this. If a watch suddenly loses or gains a large amount of time, say an hour, the movement may have become magnetized. This can result if the watch was close to a magnetic or electric source such as an Smart Phone case with magnetic closer, airport securty machine, etc. To demagnatize is a simple procedure. Can be done by many watch shop and by the Patek Repair Center. Takes just a few minutes.
The movement is decorated with Côtes de Genève engraving visible as parallel lines on the surface when viewed through the open back. This decoration is applied by using a wooden disk studded with diamond dust around its edge. The watch movement is passed under the rotating disk in successive passes to allow the decoration to be cut into the surface. The cutting is done on the Brass surface of the movement. After the decoration is applied, a coating of silver color Rhodium is applied to the brass engraved surface to give a harder finish less prone to oxidation.
The 240 movement is also decorated with Perlage, a series of intersecting circular shapes cut into the surface. Perlage (French for "pearling") is applied primarily for decorative purposes. The effect is created by using a rotating grinder along the movement surface.
Winding and Setting the Watch
Winding: Manual Winding is done by turning the stem when it is in its fully seated postion.The amount of winding is shown by the pointer on the Power Reserve dial. The pointer moves as the watch is being wound.
Setting: The time is set by pulling out the winding stem then turning. Turning the hands counterclockwise past the midnight hour can "confuse" the date setting mechanism but will not harm the watch. It is recommended that watch not be set when the hour hand is between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. to avoid conflict with the date changing mechanism which may be engaged between these hours. The date must be manually adjusted 5 times a year at the end of each month that has fewer than 31 days. If placed in an automatic Winder, know that the 240 movement winds only Counter Clockwise on the wrist or in a winder. The Winder can be set to CCW 800 or 850 TPD. Because this movement has a Micro Rotor, some watch winders may not give satisfactory results.
Precise Time Setting
The 5055 movement Caliber 240 does not hack the seconds hand when the crown stem is pulled out to set the time. The seconds hand keeps running while setting the time. This makes it very difficult to exactly synchronize the watch seconds hand with a time source such as time.gov
To determine if the watch is keeping accurate time, it is NOT necessary for the seconds hand on the watch to be in synch with the time source. Note the position of the watch second hand when the time source reaches the 60 second mark. This allows comparison 24 hours later (or whenever comparison is desired.) When making the comparison, as the watch seconds hand reaches the 60 second mark, note the source time to determine any change.
To achieve the most precise setting for the seconds hand on a non-hacking watch, one way is to allow the watch to run down and stop so that the seconds hand is not moving...wait for the source to reach to about 2 seconds before the watch second hand position...immediately begin winding the watch to start the seconds hand. The seconds hand will start to move and will be very close to the source time. Exact precision is not possible with a non-hacking watch.
The supplied stylus can be used for adjusting the date and moon by pushing the pins into the access points in the lower lugs. The date is set using the point in the lug near the 8 hour mark (To remember: "Date Eight"). The moon is set using the pin to push the access point in the lug near the 4 hour position. The date or moon hand advances with each push of the pin. If the supplied pusher is not available or as an alternative, a blunted wood or plastic toothpick, or a commercially available thin, pointed wooden BBQue stick can be used. An item with a metal point (a steel pin, a fork tine, an opened paper clip, as examples), should never be used as a pusher as they may damage the relatively soft gold case.
Setting the Moon Phase
The moon indicator dial is a thin Sapphire wafer. To set the moon: push the access point in the lug near the 4 hour position until the full moon is exactly centered in the Lunar display. Consult a moon phase chart to find the date of the previous full moon. Count the number of days from the previous Full Moon to the day the adjustment is being made. Push the moon pin the same number of times, once for each day since the last Full Moon. The Patek website has a table of Full Moon dates and a display of the moon for any date at http://www.patek.com/en/collection/movements-complications/moonphase-indicator
The instructions for this watch came in several languages. The English version is one page with the cover in traditional Patek maroon color.
The Patek website does not have information or support for watches no longer in the product line. Instructions for Reference 5712 are useful for the 5055. Can be found on the Petek website at http://www.patek.com/pdf/instructionsforuse/PatekPhilippe_P773_Caliber_240_PS_IRM_C_LU.pdf
These instructions are for Nautilus 5712 which uses the same movement and has the same complications as the 5055. The main difference being the screw-in stem crown of the 5712 which is not on the 5055.
The Band, Clasp, and Stylus Pusher
The 5055 came in a wood mahogany stained lacquered box covered in a heavy paper wrap. The 5055 watches were fitted with a leather band in a color to complement the watch case color. The White Gold model was fitted with a black band with 18K gold Deployant clasp. Original bands are rare. A replacement band is available from Patek.
The typical band is stitched Black alligator. Can be ordered in standard size or smaller if needed. The strap pins and deployant clasp are transferred from the old band to the replacement. A genuine band will be stamped on the inside: Patek Philippe with the PF logo, D for Deployant (B is for a band with a buckle clasp), the size (19 is standard), Cousu Main (hand stitched), CF (sourced from Camille Fournet of Paris, the Patek supplier), and may also show A08 or similar which is the style number of the band. A replacement ordered from the Henry Stern Service Center in New York will take 2 to 4 months and cost about $500 (in 2016).
The Deployant Clasp for the 5055G is 18K gold with 4 hallmarks on the top of the inside: "750", a Balance Scale with 750, the head of Helvetia confirming the gold content by the Swiss standards authority, and "HYS" in a rectangle, the mark of the band supplier. The clasp closer is circular in shape with the Patek Logo enclosed.
Stylus Pusher was supplied with the 5055 watches and housed in a clip in the watch box. The pusher for a 5055G was black with with an 18K white gold attaching ring at one end and a plastic push point. An original box and an original old style stylus, when available, are priced about $250 to $500 each in the pre-owned market.
Service and Maintenance
The usual recommendation is for a fine watch to be serviced every 3 to 5 years. Even a watch running well will eventually experience dried out or sticky oil. The symptom of dry or gummy oil is that the watch will stop running, may run OK then stop again. Also, may stop when the time reaches 11:30 p.m. as a sticky watch cannot change the date pointer and will stop at the change position.
Patek will service a watch only if it is a genuine Patek. Patek will not service a replica watch. If the Patek service location detects third party parts or other non-Patek changes to the watch, Patek may refuse to service the watch or may insist that all non-Patek parts be replaced with genuine Patek parts. This can be quite costly.
The Patek service charge will be higher for a complicated watch. The fee for "partial service" (cleaning, lubrication, adjustment, restore and test for water resistance) was about $1,100 in 2016 for a watch with Petit Complications like the 5055. This service can be done in a US service center such as the Henry Stern facility and takes 1 to 2 months. More serious repair service might be done in the USA or in Switzerland depending upon the work to be done.
Service that requires dismanteling the movement, changing hands, etc. can be done here but might take 6 months. The reason for the long service time is a shortage of technicians trained to work on complicated watches and the volume of repairs. The Stern NY facility receives about 100 watches each week for service.
Anecdotal information about service: Service work is warranted for one year. The one year is strictly adhered to by PP Geneva. The Stern Repair Center in New York is more flexible and has the discretion to make repairs after the one year has passed at no added charge.
Caution: a watch needing parts that is serviced in a non-Patek location, unless another watch is cannibalized, will likely have third party parts installed as Patek does not supply parts for complicated watches to third parties. These non-Patek parts may be of lesser quality and may reduce the value of the watch. A watch with numerous non-Patek parts may not be accepted for service by Patek.
The Strap Spring Bars should be 18K gold (not steel) to prevent damage to the lug holes. It is not unusual for a watchmaker to switch the original gold spring bars for steel (the bars cannot be seen on the wrist) then sell the original bars for the gold.
The original 5055 watch crystal was "upgraded" (improved?) according to Patek. A 5055 brought in for servce will have an upgraded crystal installed at no added charge. In one instance, because the original winding stem seal was not satisfactory, the Service Center replaced the original stem at no additional charge.
Know that the Service center does not return any parts changed or removed from a watch.
The Marketplace for the Patek 5055G
5055 watches are available from several sources. The eBay website usually has several for sale often at a set price. Several other watch web sites may have one or more. These include Chrono24.com   1stdibs.com   jamashop.com and others. Watch stores with websites include swisswatchexpo.com (Atlanta)   europeanwatch.com (Boston)   primetime305.com (Miami)   govbergwatches.com (Philadelphia)   tourneau.com (NYC)   aaronfaber.com (NYC)   madisontimewatches.com  (NYC by appointment only). Also watch collector websites may have marketplace pages listing watches for sale such as watchprosite.com   timezone.com
Auction houses may have Patek watches listed: Christies   Sothebys   Bonhams   Antiquorum   Heritage     are examples. All sources are listed here for convenience only and are without recommendation.
Prices of 5055 watches
In 2016, asking prices for 5055G watches typically ranged from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on condition, originality, availability of original with boxes and papers, reliability and reputation of the seller, warranties, service records, and more. Be aware that Patek watches have been produced by replica watch makers and extreme caution must be exercised when making a purchase.
A few comments about the 5055G
The 5055G watch face layout is different from most classic Calatrava faces. A look at some Calatrava examples will show a generally symmetrical layout of the complications and subsidiary dials. The placement of various elements is usually balanced so as to achieve a look that echoes the roundness of the Calatrava case.
The 5055G has a distinctly unbalanced, asymmetrical layout giving the watch a quirky, perhaps playful appearance when compared to the more traditional and symmetrical appearance of most Calatrava family members. Some people are put off by the out-of-balance layout of the 5055. One commenter saying, "No wonder it was discontinued"." By contrast, another writer, speaking of the 5055G after noticing that the two lower dial circles on the 5055 face were not the same size, said "Even in asymmetry, there is harmony."
The 5055G attracts attention and praise from many who see the watch. It is admired by some just because it is unbalanced and is unlike many other Calatravas...and the 5055G can be worn on both formal and informal occasions. Its asymmetry gives the 5055G an up-to-date look even though more than a decade has passed since its introduction. One enthusiastic 5055G fan has posted a video review of the 5055G on youtube and recommends it without qualification.
About this website
This website is not related or connected to Patek Philippe SA. Patek Philippe SA has not endorsed or reviewed any of the content on this website. Any copyrighted material or images are shown here for educational and informational non-commercial purposes only. The opinions and comments here are those of the website owner and are for information only. Nothing on this website should be relied upon for any purpose.
© Richard Madison 2017