Well, that didn’t take long.
Yesterday, the Senate commenced the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and this morning I received the first message from a watch collecting buddy asking the most important question one could ask about the trial — “Which watch is Chief Justice Roberts wearing?” This particular friend had little interest in the Senate proceedings, or the rules and procedures being debated in the Senate chamber, but identifying the watch worn by Chief Justice Roberts . . . now that is an important matter.
In the hierarchy of watch spotting, Supreme Court Justices can be difficult subjects. Not many short-sleeve shirts for them, but rather big black robes worn on top of their dark suits, covering their long-sleeve shirts. We rarely get the photos of the Supreme Court Justices with their sleeves rolled up or relaxing by the pool.
Despite the challenge, after studying some photo archives and working with top watch spotter Nick Gould, I am delighted to announce the verdict. We can say “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Chief Justice Roberts is wearing a Patek Philippe Reference 5205G watch. In the world of DNA evidence, one might say that it is a Patek Philippe Reference 5205G, “to the exclusion of all other watches.”
Patek Philippe Reference 5205G Annual Calendar. Chief Justice Roberts is wearing a Patek Philippe, Reference 5205G, annual calendar, with moon phase and 24-hour displays. Distinctive features of the watch are the three jumping indicators for the day, date, and month, located in windows across the top of the dial. The 24-hour indicator and moon phase are placed in a subdial at at the bottom of the dial. The hour markers give the watch the look of a sector dial and match the dauphine hands.
The Reference 5205G has an 18 karat white gold case, measuring 40 millimeters across the dial, with water resistance to 30 meters. The automatic movement is Patek Philippe’s Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H/206, which is comprised of 356 parts, with a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring, and incorporates 34 jewels. The movement oscillates at 28,000 vph and has a power reserve of 45 hours The watch was released in 2010, with a retail price of approximately $30,000. These watches currently sell for approximately $35,000 to $40,000 in the pre-owned market.
Patek Philippe offered two versions of the Reference 5205G Annual Calendar when it was released in 2010. The dial of the Reference 5205G-001 has concentric circles of light and medium gray, with black markers on the dial and black hands. The dial of the Reference 5205G-010 has a dark gray (almost black) center with the outer track a lighter gray; the markers and hands are silver-tone.
Identifying the Watch. There are several “telltales” that Chief Justice Roberts is wearing the Patek Philippe Reference 5205G. First, it is easy to spot the circular 24-hour subdial, with the moon phase display, located at the bottom of the dial. We don’t see many other watches with this configuration. Second, we see that the dial on Chief Justice Roberts’s watch is two-tone, with light gray and dark gray areas on the dial. Again, this is not a common look.
Another telltale of the Patek Philippe Reference 5205G is the skeletonized lugs. Study the photos of Chief Justice Roberts carefully, and you can see the unique geometry of the lugs. The hole through each lug is decorative, and the strap attaches by the usual holes and spring-bars.
The skeletonized lug is clearly visible in this photo of Chief Justice Roberts, taken in February 2019. Look closely and you can see the Patek Philippe logo on the crown.
Study the photos really, really carefully, and you will see the pushers to set the calendar, above and below the crown.
What It Means. It is difficult to know whether or not Chief Justice Roberts is a “watch guy”, but one thing is for sure — this is a “big boy” watch, that shows some enthusiasm and engagement. Compared with many of the more traditional Patek Philippe annual and perpetual calendar watches, the Reference 5205G has a very contemporary look. It is a bold watch, compared to these quieter predecessors. Of course, there is a certain status in owning any Patek Philippe “complications” watch, and the 5205G says that the owner is a member of this club, but wanted a different, bolder style. In short, this is the type of watch that is owned by a discerning watch enthusiast, not by someone who walks into a store sees a watch that he likes. Then again, there is the price-tag.
Additional Images and Information. Have a look at the Gallery below, for some additional photos of Chief Justice Roberts and his beautiful Patek Philippe watch.
WatchBase.com provides detailed information about the Reference 5205G Annual Calendar, including the Reference 5205G-001 (rhodium / gray dial) and the Reference 5205G-010 (black / gray dial). Watchbase.Com also provides information about the caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/206 movement. Check the Patek Philippe website for further information about the Reference 5205G Annual Calendar, the version of the 5205G that is currently in the catalog
Huge thanks to Nick Gould for identifying this watch, based on the photos shown above. Follow Nick on Instagram, to see more famous folks wearing interesting watches.