A Terrible Typeface on an Expensive Watch
This is the Patek Philippe 5131. It’s a world timer with a lovely hand-painted cloisonné enamel dial, a marvel of engineering and ingenuity from one of the Holy Trinity of watchmaking that will set you back at least $150,0001.
It also features one of the shittiest choices of typeface I’ve seen on a watch of its calibre.
I wonder what the design process was at this august company when it came to this watch’s dial. It would appear that someone at Patek opened up Microsoft Word (at the last minute?) and just fell in love with the majesty that is the SHOUTING VARIANT of Lucida Calligraphy. The overall effect is one where you wonder if you’re looking at a knockoff.
I like to imagine they received feedback about this ‘bold’ choice since here’s the next version, the 5231, on the right (with its ghastly older brother on the left).
Source: Revolution Watch
I got that picture from this exhaustive history of Patek’s World Timers. It’s well-researched, has a lot of pictures, and is a good read if you can withstand sentences like this written by the same bro who will definitely not teach you anything about after-dinner drinks.
As if, somehow, by losing myself in the beautifully rendered map of the Americas, Africa and Europe, I could remember how interconnected this world once was and hopefully will be again. So, I began to see my World Timer as a chalice of renewed hope to once more live the glorious opiatic maelstrom of transcontinental travel, even if for the time being this is limited only to my imagination as I write these words.
If you’re new to the world of watches, this is a very reasonable price for a piece like this. Consider this Rafa Nadal-endorsed Richard Mille (RM 27-04) that costs well over $2.5M (here’s why). It is, again, a wonder of mechanical engineering and watchmaking. As far as time-telling goes, this legend that is the Casio F91W ($10 or less) is more accurate (and, I imagine, can withstand “12,000 g’s” while lasting more than a decade on its battery). ↩︎