5 Reasons Why the Patek Philippe Golden Elipse Is Worth a Second Look

Round dial designs for timepieces dominate the landscape. Understandably so, as the hands of time move in a circular pattern that so aptly describes the cyclical nature of time. For an industry steeped in conservatism and convention, Swiss luxury watch models rarely stray from this shape. However, for a watch company known for its cutting-edge engineering, attention to detail, and profound sense of aesthetics, Patek Philippe has provided some of the most recognizable luxury watch models that veer from the path of the round shape. From the iconic Nautilus, designed based on the portholes of a ship, to the art-deco-inspired Gondolo timepieces, another enduring classic watch model that stands apart from the round crowd has been introduced to the world by Patek Philippe: the Golden Ellipse.

  Patek Philippe Golden Elipse watches

While it is considered one of the least popular Patek Philippe models, a closer examination will leave you wondering why it is not more popular. The Golden Ellipse is not just a watch made by one of the most respected watch companies in the world, it is a showpiece of Patek Philippe’s attention to quality, precision, and design. The Golden Ellipse deserves its time in the sun, and there are five reasons why it deserves a second look.

A Design Based on Mathematical Perfection

The name “Golden Ellipse” is not just based on the gold materials that go into each piece. Though there has historically been a generous endowment of gold that goes into the Golden Ellipse collection, the “Golden” name attached to it is attributed to the principle of the “golden ratio” discovered by ancient Greek mathematicians. The dimension of the elliptical timepiece follows the ratio of 1/1.6181 that forms the basis of architecture and art from Le Corbusier to Da Vinci. The ratio is also described as aesthetically pleasing. 

An Enduring Design Concept 

Patek Philippe Golden Elipse

Among all of Patek Philippe’s watch models, only the Calatrava has an older design than the Golden Ellipse. Introduced to much fanfare in 1968, it is a watch that truly represents the art and cultural movement of the era. As quartz watches were beginning to flood the market in the 1970s, the introduction of the Golden Ellipse provided a counterpoint and represented the height of luxury at the time.

It was one of the thinnest wristwatches at the time of its release. Today, the height of the ref. 5738 is at 5.9 millimeters. Its ultra-slender design and its elliptical shape make it one of the ideal dress watch designs on the market as it seamlessly blends in under the dress cuff. Its dressiness is punctuated by the flawless polishing on the flanks and bezel, with the winding crown highlighted with a cabochon-cut black onyx.

Its time-only function only adds to its charm, as its understated design showcases Patek Philippe’s pursuit of perfect simplicity, punctuated by its distinctive pin buckle.

Its Exceptional Dial Colors

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

However simple Patek Philippe’s dial designs are, there is always a story and an incredible amount of work that goes into each. At first glance, the blue dials on the first Golden Ellipses, such as the ref. 3546 and 3548 look pared-back. However, the stunning starburst finish in cobalt blue stands out from all the other watches that came before. With the assistance of a dial manufacturer, Patek Philippe achieved this exceptional blue color by vacuum-plating the 18k gold ébauche with a vaporized mix of 24k gold and cobalt.


The Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Platinum 5738P-001 with blue gold sunburst dial is a direct successor of the first hotly-received Golden Ellipses. With its cobalt blue gold sunburst dial and gold applique hour markers, the timepiece is a fitting homage to its forebearers.


Its Classic Movement Is Optimized

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

Behind each Golden Ellipse is the legendary caliber 240 movement. Though the design, at its most fundamental, was first introduced in 1977, this 161-pard, 27-jewel movement endures being the most accurate mechanical movement for those measuring less than 3.0mm in thickness. It is only fitting that such movement powers its slim dials. Improvements over the decades include the brand’s proprietary Spiromax balance spring and Gyromax balance that improves its revered accuracy even more. Further improvements also have a new going train that features polished teeth and an optimized toothing geometry to enhance the efficiency from the winder and its spring barrel to the escapement. Unlike most Patek Philippe models, this classic movement is hidden by its brushed solid case back. If one were to open the case back, one would see the caliber 240, which boasts exquisite finishing and decoration, with its thinness achieved by having an off-center 22k gold mini rotor completely recessed into its bridge plane.


Its Evolving Design

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

Like the Nautilus, the Ellipse has evolved over the years. Since its introduction in 1968, the case diameter has increased from 31.0mm x 35.5mm to 34.5 mm x 39.5mm to appeal to the contemporary crowd who prefer larger dial sizes for dress watches. Though the design cues were fundamentally preserved, the Golden Ellipse nevertheless played a canvass to Patek Philippe’s intricate dial design concepts, such as those found in the ref. 5738-51G-001 with its hand-engraved and black enamel dials.

The Golden Ellipse also featured ultra-precise quartz movements, such as the 3770. A hybrid between the Nautilus and the Golden Ellipse, its distinctive elliptical shape features “ears,” such as those found in the Nautilus. 


Final Thoughts: 

The Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is worth a second look because of the timeless design and understated perfection that complement its exceptional simplicity. Their distinctive shape and attributes make the ref. 5738, and other Golden Ellipse that came before it, genuinely regal dress watches. While breaking the convention of fashion throughout its existence, this innovative watch indeed brings a sense of harmony, punctuated by the aesthetically pleasing mathematical perfection of its shape. With a classic workhorse renowned for its precision for over forty years behind it, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse bears all the hallmarks of the company’s design ethos, making it a genuinely astounding timepiece. 

Diamond Source NYC is renowned for finding some of the rarest and most sought-after Patek Philippe models at the best prices. To learn more about the availability of the ref 5738 Golden Ellipse and other Patek Philippe watch models, call us at (212) 730-5959.