2020 has seen many brands return to basics — and perfect fake Patek Philippe has also done the same. Kind of. If you could call a grand complication basic. There is of course, nothing basic about chiming watches, but Patek Philippe’s new ref. 6301P is what they call its “purest manifestation to date” of a grande and petite sonnerie. It’s almost unbelievable that this is the first timepiece Patek has created that has placed the focus singularly on its striking complications. Patek’s previous grande sonnerie was in the Grandmaster Chime launched in 2014 to celebrate Patek’s 175th anniversary. The ref. 5175 featured a second time zone display, a perpetual calendar, an alarm function that sounded the hours, quarters and minutes two minutes before the selected time, a striking date function in decimal format, a minute repeater and a grande and petite sonnerie on four hammers. That watch was also grandiose and almost baroque in its aesthetic execution.
Not the 6301P in comparison. It still comes with six complications (counting the dual power reserve indications, the minute repeater and jumping seconds at 6 o’clock), but its design is so sleek. The 44mm Calatrava-style platinum case, with its grand feu black enamel dial, white printed chemin-de-fer style minute track, Breguet applied numerals in white gold and luminescent leaf-shaped hands – it is all of Patek Philippe’s most revered design codes rolled into one. If there was an award for the most understated complication watch of all time, this would be it.