Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P
Picture: Patek Philippe

Every little thing counts in bigger quantities, or so Depeche Mode put it of their 1983 hit. As utilized to treasured metals, bigger quantities are measured in grammes and what counts is rarity and exclusivity. One ought to keep in mind that that is hardly an absolute. As an alternative, rarity and exclusivity applies relative to the perfect of our present information and talents; it helps to do not forget that aluminium was as soon as extra priceless than gold, as ridiculous as that may sound to up to date ears. Equally, helium is the second-most plentiful factor within the universe, but it’s fairly unusual on our planet; its nature ensures that it will get rarer on earth over time, and thus ever extra priceless.

Whereas we’re actively advocating that collectors look significantly at treasured metallic choices, we do acknowledge some weirdness right here. To be upfront about it, platinum is cheaper than gold, and never by somewhat. It is usually nearly as uncommon as gold, and arguably extra widespread, however far much less is mined, and for extra on that, you possibly can at all times try the historical past and materials properties of platinum. Some observers have ventured that platinum is completely suited to watchmaking as a result of it’s so troublesome to work with, and there’s most likely one thing to that. At least Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern points challenges to his watchmaking workforce, urging them to make use of platinum for chiming watches whereas understanding full nicely that the fabric shouldn’t be the perfect suited to this process. Fortuitously, whether or not a watch sounds out the time superbly or not is a subjective matter.

Patek Philippe Movement
Picture: Patek Philippe

Any given materials’s talents to retain form and resist deformation are in no way subjective, and surprisingly neither is lustre. The brightest metallic we usually use is silver, as seen most just lately within the Tudor 925, however metal could be very vibrant too, as anybody who has encountered a watch in 904L metal can attest. On the subjective facet, gold has a really particular high quality about its glow that appeals to our aesthetic sensibility. Platinum is neither notably vibrant nor does it maintain the attention as gold does; nonetheless, it does have its personal particularities which have drawn favour. Certainly one of these particularities is sturdiness, for which platinum is hard to beat. Ask any jeweller what is going to retain its lustre through the years and the reply is inevitably platinum; you would do that over at Cartier and Harry Winston, each of that are well-known for his or her platinum items. It’s the materials’s density that’s accountable right here, that means it doesn’t put on out — sprucing platinum doesn’t take away materials, however extra on that later. For now, that very same density, particularly within the alloyed kinds utilized in jewelry, additionally makes platinum noticeably weighty and doubtlessly uncomfortable to put on. 

Santos-Dumont Extra-Large
Picture: Cartier

All that is shorthand to notice that platinum shouldn’t be a go-to materials for its properties, no less than not so far as watches and jewelry go. As Jack Forster notes in his glorious story for Hodinkee in 2020, even seasoned watch collectors could have treasured little expertise with platinum (no pun supposed). It’s extra unique than anything, and we don’t imply to counsel with our heavy focus right here that platinum is a trending materials, regardless of what you would possibly see from the watch novelties this 12 months. It may also be the case that platinum and different white treasured metals would possibly certainly be trending, however solely together with metal. Because of this, for this material-focused part, we determined to go along with treasured metals, with platinum and bimetallic mixtures anchoring the entire affair.

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