Time is Money

Why you should spend $18,900 on a watch. -- Rob Brinkley


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Investing in a 5119G is arguably smarter than investing in stocks or art. PATEK PHILIPPE is one of the most prestigious firms in the world, with a history dating back to 1839. Consider the stats: more than 70 patents held; three to five years of research to develop each new model; 220 watchmakers who make everything on the premises; 1,200 to 1,500 steps to make the movement of a single watch. Your grandchildren’s children’s children will appreciate this. They will be wearing the watch, but without having had to spend many thousands of dollars on it. The 5119G is an evolvement of Patek Philippe’s most popular watch, the Calatrava 3119, which was introduced in 1985.

The CASE measures 36 millimeters in diameter and is exceptionally thin, at only seven millimeters. Around the edge is Patek Philippe’s iconic “Clos de Paris” hob nail pattern, etched using the traditional diamond guilloché technique. It’s also water-resistant (at depths of up to 98 feet) and is handmade in either 18-karat white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold. It will certainly survive your shower.

The subtly domed glass over the watch’s face is called a “sapphire” CRYSTAL, and it’s exceptionally clear. It’s also highly resistant to scratches, which means the 5119G will stay brilliant for a long, longtime -- like its owner, of course.

On a background of pure white lacquer, the simple Roman font used for the numbers makes the DIAL easily readable. Its uncluttered austerity, say the folks at Patek Philippe, “has survived all fashion trends.” Translation: It goes with everything -- and it always will.

The inner workings of the 5119G are mechanical and manually wound -- old-school style (the mark of dapper gents everywhere). It is called the 215 PS MOVEMENT and has 130 hand-crafted parts. At only 2.55 millimeters thick, it is one of Patek Philippe’s thinnest, made in-house by craftsmen who polish each tooth of each hardened-steel pinion gear with a beechwood disc. It oscillates 28,800 times per hour -- outpacing maybe even yourBlackBerry. It also, as you might suspect, keeps painfully accurate time.

The hour and minute HANDS are shaped like long, elegant leaves and made of 18-karat white gold.The smaller inset hand -- it keeps track of those 60 little seconds --is shaped more like a conductor’s baton.

The BAND is crafted of bold-scaled alligator hide that’s finished with a highgloss. The 16-millimeter, 18-karat prong buckle will keep your 5119G securely fastened around your wrist -- important when you’ve spent the equivalent of a Mini Cooper on your watch.

Time Keepers: The Patek Philippe Museum If you find yourself in Geneva, Switzerland, soon, make time for the Patek Philippe Museum. This 1919 gem of a restored building houses more than 500 years of marking time, from a circa-1550 watch shaped like acelestial globe to several stunners from the watchmaker’s personal collection, including an 1848 pocket watch depicting two Polish princes as well as a limited-edition wrist watch made to survive the harrowing slide into the year 2000. That one had an especially lengthy power reserve -- 10 days, in fact. Patek Philippe Museum, Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, CH - 1205 Geneva;