A Prestigious Lineage
In 1941, Patek Philippe released the first serially produced perpetual calendar with chronograph function, the ref. 1518. It was decades ahead of any other manufacture, both in terms of mechanics and aesthetics. It not only marked the beginning of perpetual calendar chronographs for the brand, but also of serially produced complicated watches for Patek Philippe, and for the industry at large. The complication has been in the manufacture's catalogue ever since.
Eighty years on from the release of the original design, Patek Philippe introduced the ref. 5270, the brand's first truly in-house perpetual calendar chronograph. The brand abandoned the Nouvelle Lemania based caliber which had powered the previous ref. 5970, and introduced the newly designed caliber 29-535 PS.
An updated caliber
For traditional and aesthetic reasons, Patek Philippe opted for a classic, column-wheel based architecture, employing a lateral clutch engagement mechanism. While prior lateral clutch chronographs suffered from efficiency issues, the new caliber 29-535 PS was designed from the ground up, incorporating six patented innovations that virtually eliminate these weaknesses.
Further, the caliber also incorporates a precise jumping minute counter: when the seconds hand on the chronograph crosses the 60-second mark, the minute hand instantly jumps to the next minute; a subtle feature which will no doubt mesmerise and delight collectors. Fitted atop the chronograph mechanism is an all-new perpetual calendar module, composed of 182 parts. It incorporates a more precise moon-phase indicator than its predecessor, accurate to one day every 122 years.
Aesthetically, the new caliber is finished to the highest standards. The bridges are shaped with classical curves, and are laid out in an open, logical manner. The movement is beautifully finished, with exquisite chamfering on all angles, polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping. The lateral-clutch architecture also allows the owner to observe exactly how the chronograph movement functions.
A Classic Design
The dial on this 5270G-001 respects the same key design principles as other Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronographs. The reference was introduced in 2011 in white gold, with updated dial variants appearing in 2013, and other metals also reaching production subsequently. Sold in 2012, this piece captures the earliest incarnation of the ref. 5270, which a few design traits which are only found on the earliest pieces.
It features a contemporary silver dial, which is gracefully complemented by the indexes and hands, made out of black oxidised gold. Subtle textures are found throughout, from the vertical brushing visible on the silver portion to the circular finish found on the much lighter subdials. The early dials did not feature a tachymeter scale, with this detail only appearing from 2013 onwards. The lack of this additional indication makes for a more pared back, subtle design, which focuses on the perpetual calendar and chronograph indications. This also leaves more space for the "Patek Philippe" signature, which is larger on the first generation of pieces.
You will find the day and month in apertures at 12 o’clock, the date with moon phase at 6 o’clock, a 30-minute counter for the chronograph at 3 o’clock, and the seconds indication at 9 o’clock. For improved legibility, the day & night and leap year indications were placed within small apertures to the right and left of the 6 o'clock subdial. For this, Patek Philippe took inspiration from the leap-year aperture first used in the reference 3450 perpetual calendar, launched in 1981.
Scaled up from previous iterations of this complication, the 5270 features a contemporary 41mm case. It is 1mm wider and 0.6 mm thinner than the ref. 5970, giving it an impressive balance on the wrist. The flared lugs are reminiscent of the ref. 2499, yet the chunkier case and more aggressive angling of the lugs gives the watch a sportier feel overall.
This Patek Philippe ref. 5270G-001 comes with an outer box, inner box, setting pin, additional caseback, leather pouch, manuals and Certificate of Origin. It is accompanied with a brown alligator Patek Philippe strap and white gold deployante buckle, as well as our grey grained leather Tokyo strap.