The story in a second:
The new Patek Philippe split-seconds chronograph (Ref.5370P to its friends) is the new must have über-Patek.
The talk about Patek Philippe this year centred on their controversial attempt to break into younger market segments – AKA the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. It’s easy then to forget that Patek released other watches, many of them every inch the classic Patek.
Case in point is the ‘other’ big novelty of the year, a watch that is pure Patek – the Ref.5370P split-seconds chronograph. This watch is the other side of the Calatrava Pilot coin. Patek, who undoubtedly knew they were taking a risk with the Pilot, decided to release this ultra-classical chronograph at the same time, to mitigate any perception of Patek going ‘off-brand’.
It doesn’t get more on-brand than the 5370P. Everything about this watch, the case, the dial, the pushers and (most definitely) that movement are of the highest quality, in keeping with the maison’s finest traditions. The case is modern at 41mm, but not too large. And of course it’s made from platinum (hence the ‘P’ in the reference). But the real beauty is in the details, like the concave bezel and recessed inner case band with a satin finish, and white gold cabochons at the tip of each lug. In short, the case quite complicated for something that looks so pure and simple. The pushers and crown only add to the story, the oval chronograph pushers add a sporty touch, and the turban style main crown with integrated split-seconds button manages to be large without being overpowering.
But, nice as it is, the case is only a frame, highlighting the beauty of the dial and movement inside. The dial is pitch-black enamel (if you wondered if the small ‘email’ at 6 was Patek’s entry into the smartwatch race you’d be wrong – email is French for enamel), a difficult material to work with but well worth it as you can see. The white gold Breguet style numerals add elegance, to the utilitarian (also white gold) chronograph scales and hands. Interestingly the chronograph seconds and split seconds hands are not gold, but instead rhodium plated steel. This is due to the fact that the softer gold would not hold up well to the pressures involved in setting and resetting the chronograph.
Speaking of the chronograph it’s worth pointing out just what a split-seconds chronograph is. Essentially it allows you to time lap and intermediate times without interrupting having to stop and start the chronograph. Patek have been making split-second wristwatches since 1923, so they know what they’re doing by now. Though you don’t need me to tell you that, all you need to do is look at the movement. The in-house CHR 29-535 PS is a beautiful piece of engineering. Making a movement with this sort of complexity requires technical mastery, and making it look this good requires artistry. Patek clearly have both. The movement has 312 parts, and is ridiculously precise – accurate to within -3/+2 seconds a day.
On the wrist the watch is a study in reserved elegance. The platinum case, black dial and white gold combine to create high contrasts – bright metal shining in an ink black field. Size and fit are great too – the watch doesn’t sit too high, (as you might expect from such a complicated movement), clocking in at a shade over 13.5mm high. Perfect is an overused word, but this watch is as close as you’re likely to get.
Patek Philippe split-seconds chronograph Ref.5370P pricing
The 5370P will me made in very limited regular production, and has a price fo 220,000 CHF.
|Dial:||Black enamel, applied white gold numerals and scales|
|Strap:||Alligator strap with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp|
|Movement:||Caliber CHR 29-535 PS|
|Functions:||Split-Seconds chronograph, instantaneous 30-minute counter, continuous seconds|