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Dino944

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Patek 3448 Perpetual Calendar (1976, first introduced in 1962)
View attachment 1642811

Patek 5396 Annual Calendar (current production)
View attachment 1642815
My only issue with the 3448, is the lugs are not my favorite. However, maybe their more compact and angular appearance works better with the look of the recessed crown. To me it's dial is so much more appealing than that of the 5396.

I do prefer the lugs of the 5396, but maybe its because those are generally the lugs I prefer on a Calatrava. However the dial is a big miss for me. I suppose it's nitpicking, but anything in that price range would need to be perfect for me to pull the trigger on it. The biggest fail for me is that date cutting into the subdial. It just pisses me off. It could have been a really nice nice, but not perfect dial, if they had nixed the 24 hour indicator, and put the date on the subdial. Also it appears as though the subdial is shifted so high that even when the hands are at 10 and 2 they obscure the 24. Sure we all know it's 24, but it seems inelegant and sloppy. While on the 3448, when the hands are at 10 and 2, one can still see most of the number 31 for the date. The minute markers and hour markers are fine, but I'm really preferring the more delicate ones on the 3448. To me they vintage version looks more elegant, although, I'm sure the minute markers are easier to read at a glance on the 5396. I'm also not a fan of how they decided to have a big bolder "Patek Philippe" name at the top, but separated Geneve from it with the day and month windows. Sure, I get that its marketing to have the name be the first thing you see, especially when someone posts it on social medial. But I prefer the smaller more discreet PP with Geneve under it, and its placement on the 3448. In addition, I know some people like a seconds hand, maybe it's generally preferred, but on a watch like this I don't need it. I like the clean look of no seconds hand on a dressy piece.
 

Dino944

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How about some old school Daniel Roth?

View attachment 1642994
I've never owned one, but always loved the old DR watches. Such beautiful dials and the case is so distinctive!

A friend has a watch from Daniel Roth's current company, a rose gold JDN tourbillon, which is beautiful. However, to me without that signature DR case, something is missing.
 

brokencycle

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My only issue with the 3448, is the lugs are not my favorite. However, maybe their more compact and angular appearance works better with the look of the recessed crown. To me it's dial is so much more appealing than that of the 5396.

I do prefer the lugs of the 5396, but maybe its because those are generally the lugs I prefer on a Calatrava. However the dial is a big miss for me. I suppose it's nitpicking, but anything in that price range would need to be perfect for me to pull the trigger on it. The biggest fail for me is that date cutting into the subdial. It just pisses me off. It could have been a really nice nice, but not perfect dial, if they had nixed the 24 hour indicator, and put the date on the subdial. Also it appears as though the subdial is shifted so high that even when the hands are at 10 and 2 they obscure the 24. Sure we all know it's 24, but it seems inelegant and sloppy. While on the 3448, when the hands are at 10 and 2, one can still see most of the number 31 for the date. The minute markers and hour markers are fine, but I'm really preferring the more delicate ones on the 3448. To me they vintage version looks more elegant, although, I'm sure the minute markers are easier to read at a glance on the 5396. I'm also not a fan of how they decided to have a big bolder "Patek Philippe" name at the top, but separated Geneve from it with the day and month windows. Sure, I get that its marketing to have the name be the first thing you see, especially when someone posts it on social medial. But I prefer the smaller more discreet PP with Geneve under it, and its placement on the 3448. In addition, I know some people like a seconds hand, maybe it's generally preferred, but on a watch like this I don't need it. I like the clean look of no seconds hand on a dressy piece.
Without a second hand, how will I impress people with the fact that my watch is automatic and gently sweeps rather than ticks?
 

Loathing

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My only issue with the 3448, is the lugs are not my favorite. However, maybe their more compact and angular appearance works better with the look of the recessed crown. To me it's dial is so much more appealing than that of the 5396.

I do prefer the lugs of the 5396, but maybe its because those are generally the lugs I prefer on a Calatrava. However the dial is a big miss for me. I suppose it's nitpicking, but anything in that price range would need to be perfect for me to pull the trigger on it. The biggest fail for me is that date cutting into the subdial. It just pisses me off. It could have been a really nice nice, but not perfect dial, if they had nixed the 24 hour indicator, and put the date on the subdial. Also it appears as though the subdial is shifted so high that even when the hands are at 10 and 2 they obscure the 24. Sure we all know it's 24, but it seems inelegant and sloppy. While on the 3448, when the hands are at 10 and 2, one can still see most of the number 31 for the date. The minute markers and hour markers are fine, but I'm really preferring the more delicate ones on the 3448. To me they vintage version looks more elegant, although, I'm sure the minute markers are easier to read at a glance on the 5396. I'm also not a fan of how they decided to have a big bolder "Patek Philippe" name at the top, but separated Geneve from it with the day and month windows. Sure, I get that its marketing to have the name be the first thing you see, especially when someone posts it on social medial. But I prefer the smaller more discreet PP with Geneve under it, and its placement on the 3448. In addition, I know some people like a seconds hand, maybe it's generally preferred, but on a watch like this I don't need it. I like the clean look of no seconds hand on a dressy piece.
I agree with every single point you’ve made. The one point I would add is that the fonts are also nicer on the 3448 — slightly more refined and less computerised.

Cumulatively all those small differences make a watch that is poorly designed, for any watch, but especially when compared to the 3448.

There is a pattern with Patek where almost all of the current line up are worse versions of models from the archive. I don’t know how their design team works but it seems it has been institutionalised in a way that systemically leads to bad design outcomes. Perhaps management or the owners interfere in the process too much which stifles the designers? I can’t imagine any good designer actively making design decisions that essentially take an archive model and make it worse.
 

reidd

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My only problem with modern Patek is the size of the dress watch cases. The 5396 is not a particularly egregious example at 38.5 especially with the complication but doesn't releasing a 39mm Calatrava "diminish" both literally and figuratively the older 33-35mm watches from decades past?

The issue will be further compounded for collectors if trends swing back in the opposite direction toward smaller watches thus forcing Patek to one again release smaller dress cases. the 39mm Calatrava will look horribly dated in the same way the older 33mm ones do now.

I know trends are unavoidable at a certain point and a commercial enterprise like Patek has to keep up with these trends to sell watches and stay in business, but it seems like a truly long-term philosophy would have pumped the brakes at 37mm.
 
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Dino944

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I agree with every single point you’ve made. The one point I would add is that the fonts are also nicer on the 3448 — slightly more refined and less computerised.

Cumulatively all those small differences make a watch that is poorly designed, for any watch, but especially when compared to the 3448.

There is a pattern with Patek where almost all of the current line up are worse versions of models from the archive. I don’t know how their design team works but it seems it has been institutionalised in a way that systemically leads to bad design outcomes. Perhaps management or the owners interfere in the process too much which stifles the designers? I can’t imagine any good designer actively making design decisions that essentially take an archive model and make it worse.
I agree completely. The font on the 3448 is more attractive, and looks less cookie cutter/stamped than the 5396.

Yes, rather sad that they keep going into their archives and delivering less attractive versions of their prior works. Still, there are people who will buy anything if it has the PP name on it.
 

Cantabrigian

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I've often seen menswear-y guys who are interested in watches lament that modern watches are so big and predict that the pendulum will swing back the other way.

I'm pretty unconvinced.

I think some 55mm beast will always be an aberration - because it doesn't make any sense (aside from the flight-jacket exception, I suppose). But I think that for guys 39-42mm makes more sense than 33 - 36 and a a whole lot more than 30-33.

Never say never but I'd be very surprised if a meaningful percentage of guys ever went looking for watches which are hard to read and don't come close to covering their wrist.
 

A Y

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The 5396 (and other recent Pateks) uses the Arial typeface, which is like pouring salt into a wound, because it's Microsoft's knockoff of Helvetica which is literally named after Switzerland. I have no idea why they didn't just stick with what they'd used before or even better, commission a custom typeface.
 

dauster

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The cases are thick because the movements are thick. He claims that this makes the movements more robust.



He takes direct inspiration from Breguet (the individual watchmaker, not the modern brand), but more broadly from pre-industrial watchmaking.



Patek still takes the cake for best full calendar read-out:

View attachment 1642625
this is beautiful
 

reidd

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I've often seen menswear-y guys who are interested in watches lament that modern watches are so big and predict that the pendulum will swing back the other way.

I'm pretty unconvinced.

I think some 55mm beast will always be an aberration - because it doesn't make any sense (aside from the flight-jacket exception, I suppose). But I think that for guys 39-42mm makes more sense than 33 - 36 and a a whole lot more than 30-33.

Never say never but I'd be very surprised if a meaningful percentage of guys ever went looking for watches which are hard to read and don't come close to covering their wrist.
My 36mm Datejust covers my wrist perfectly and I'm not a small guy (6' tall).

I likewise don't expect 33mm watches to ever be the norm again but 39mm Calatrava is so extremely different in size compared to 33mm which was the norm for most of the model's history (correct me if I'm wrong), that it hardly deserves to bear the same model name. Especially coming from a company that is meant to exemplify preservation of aesthetics for posterity.
 

Cantabrigian

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Seems like a stretch to say they don't deserve to bear the same model name. There is a obvious consistency in design language. I agree with a lot of what people have said about the old dial being better looking. But it's pretty silly to try to pretend that they're completely different.

With case sizes, 33 just isn't a great size for a guy's watch. I'm glad they don't feel constrained by that tradition.

Plus, with something like this, case size seems incidental. There are watches for pilots and Portuguese dudes where the size of the case is an integral part of the design brief but that really doesn't seem like the case for a round gold dress watch. The new models are well within the bounds of what works and looks good on the vast majority of guys so we should just embrace an obvious improvement.
 

Cantabrigian

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My 36mm Datejust covers my wrist perfectly and I'm not a small guy (6' tall).
I think a 36mm DJ looks better because of the bracelet. It's really an integral part of the design and helps cover the wrist.

36 isn't crazy but does seem a bit less than ideal. That said, there are always a hatful of different factors at play - I imagine most guys who pick one up do it for reasons other than thinking the size is perfect.
 

Dino944

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I've often seen menswear-y guys who are interested in watches lament that modern watches are so big and predict that the pendulum will swing back the other way.

I'm pretty unconvinced.

I think some 55mm beast will always be an aberration - because it doesn't make any sense (aside from the flight-jacket exception, I suppose). But I think that for guys 39-42mm makes more sense than 33 - 36 and a a whole lot more than 30-33.

Never say never but I'd be very surprised if a meaningful percentage of guys ever went looking for watches which are hard to read and don't come close to covering their wrist.
Well, I've seen guys who are in the watch industry who have predicted watches will go down in size. We have actually seen that with the Cartier Tank Louis. The large size is smaller than the Tank XL models offered from about 2008 to 20016. In addition, their Santos de Cartier is not as large or bulky as the old Santos 100 models. Furthermore, Rolex just downsized their Explorer from 39mm to 36mm. So we are seeing some makers scaling back a bit.

Will they ever go to 30-33mm, no I highly doubt we will ever see that again. The 30-33 range wasn't very popular even 25-30 years ago. Back then the bulk of dress watches were 34-36mm.

Personally, I think the sweet spot for men's watches is about 37 to 42 mm, but it depends on the watch and its purpose. I don't find anything 36 - 40mm difficult to read. Often times a 40-42mm gold dress watch tends to look like a thin pancake on someone's wrist...the proportions are not always pleasing. Not to mention, some of the 42mm watches I've tried just seem like overkill and they aren't that comfortable to wear. In addition, rectangular and square watches wear larger than their round siblings, so what looks and fits a persons wrist can depend on the actual watch and not just on the diameter.
 

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