I have to be honest, until the release of the 5738R I was not a fan of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. In fact, for a long time not only did I fail to appreciate its unique beauty but I questioned its position in their collection in general and I know that I was not alone in my opinion. The reason for my lacking enthusiasm was the what I considered rather boring design. After all, not only is the watch incredibly rare in the wild but I have yet to see it worn by someone under the age of 60.
When looking through the press releases and seeing a new version of the Ellipse pop up however I was intrigued, for the first time I seemed to see it in a new light. So what is the Golden Ellipse? Back when it was introduced in 1968 the Ellipse was, as hard as it is to imagine now, relatively bold for its time. The dial made out of solid gold and with its sunburst finishing made for a calming and assertive confidence. The hidden lugs were as unconventional then as they are today. The shape of the case was anything if not unique and is based on the Golden ratio or divine proportion as referred to by the ancient Greeks.
What is the golden ratio? Mathematically it is represented by the proportion 1/1,618. Culturally it is represented by the art of Leonardo Da Vinci and Salvador Dali. And horologically, well it is represented by the Golden Ellipse. While the Ellipse will probably never be identified with 21st-century design language, Patek did make an effort to update the model for modern times. To do so and in light of the models 50th-anniversary they blew up its dimensions to the same as those of the previous 40th-anniversary model, measuring around 40 mm from top to bottom and 35 mm across. Ticking inside the Ellipse is the automatic caliber 240 known for its thinness and allowing for the entire timepiece to be only 6 mm thick. This specific model comes with a rich rosegold case and buckle, a black sunray dial and an onyx on the crown.
At the end of the day, I doubt that Patek 5738R will convinces the masses of the Ellipse. Then again this watch was never made for the masses, that is a job for extroverts like the Nautilus, but rather for the quite and more subtle collectors. For those willing to give the Ellipse a chance, the 5738R will be as good as an introduction to this deceptively deep collection as there will ever be.