Introducing The Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230 Watch

By Meor Amri Meor Ayob

For the last five years, there were a number of countries that made the choice of changing their official time zone designations based on economical as well as political reasons.

In view of the time zone changes, Patek Philippe has come out with a new World Time watch Ref. 5230. Based on the latest listing, some time zones have been assigned different city names. For example, Riyadh has been replaced by Dubai while Noumea has been replaced by Brisbane. Also, Moscow has shifted to UTC+3 instead of the previous UTC+4 sector. These changes are quite disruptive to world time watches as it renders the existing UTC reference obsolete. The need to modify the scales of World Time watches to the correct reference is the reason why Patek Philippe is discontinuing the production of its previous World Time models.


The new Ref. 5230 is available in either a white (Ref. 5230G in 18K white gold) or rose gold (Ref. 5230R in 18K rose gold). Using the Calatrava case, it has a diameter of 38.5 mm and a height of 10.23 and features winglet-style lugs and a narrow, smoothly polished bezel. The hour hand is pierced and the minute hand features a Greek-blade profile. Like the applied baton hour markers, they are crafted from white or rose gold to match the case. Meanwhile, the center of the dial features a basket weave pattern.
Patek Philippe World Time watch works by a unique reference mechanism. When traveling into a different time zone, the pusher in the case at 10 o’clock is pressed as often as needed to align the respective city name with the red arrow at 12 o’clock. Each time the pusher is pressed, the hour hand will advance by one hour while the city disk and the 24-hour ring will move by one increment in the counterclockwise direction. During this process, the time-zone mechanism is uncoupled from the movement so that the accurate progression of the minute hand and the amplitude of the balance remain unaffected.

Therefore, instead of needing to do simple arithmetic in your mind if you have a common world time watch and wanted to know the current time in another time zone, Patek Philippe World Time eliminates that need. The local time is displayed for the time zone whose assigned city name is just above the small red arrow at 12 o’clock. In the other 23 zones, the times are directly readable on the 24-hour ring that rotates counterclockwise within the city disk.


The caliber for the new Ref. 5230 is the 240 HU, a 3.88 mm thick self-winding mechanical movement. This highly compact movement can still generate ample winding power because it is crafted from solid 22K gold to increase its mass and torque. It has a power reserve of at least 48 hours, and a reported accuracy of -3 to +2 seconds per day. Highly decorated as required by the Patek Philippe Seal standard, this movement uses 35 ruby jewels. The movement can be clearly seen via the large display case-back.


Both versions are matched with hand-stitched alligator strap with large square scales and a Calatrava fold-over clasp. The strap is shiny black with an 18K white gold clasp for the white gold model and shiny chocolate brown with an 18K rose gold clasp for the rose gold model.

The Ref. 5230 is a handsome world timer. Despite the ‘busy’ dial with all the cities printed in a large band around the dial which forces the hands to only ‘operate’ in a smaller radius, I don’t get the overwhelming feeling of visual overload. The hands are thick enough with the correct background texture and colour to make it very readable. Moreover, the world time mechanism on this clock makes time referencing for other time zones easy with the use of the 24-hour ring that rotates counterclockwise within the city disk.

The use of a micro-rotor also makes viewing the movement via the case-back even more pleasurable. The full splendor of the 240 HU movement can be seen without being blocked.

I must say I am falling in love with this watch…

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Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western Watch Read his articles here