The Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P Is A New Ultra-Precise Chronograph Watch

Image: Patek Philippe

Although Watches & Wonders has ended, the watch revelations continue, as Patek Philippe illustrated with the unexpected inclusion of the Ref. 5470P-001. This is not an afterthought for the Genevan company, since it is the first 1/10th of a second Chronograph from Patek Philippe, as well as the first usage of the whole silicon escapement assembly (hairspring, balance, and anchor) in a normal production watch. Given that this watch is a complete surprise, we think Zenith CEO Julien Tornare had a fairly interesting morning when word of this model emerged; while other watchmakers, such as Seiko, do offer 1/10th of a second chronographs, Zenith is the dominant name associated with this game.

While the judgment is yet out on the Ref. 5470P’s repercussions, we are certain that the watch industry is relying on unusual complications to shake up the overhyped market scenario. Not for nothing, it is likely to be fantastic news for all high-end watch brands. For the time being, we’ll stick to the basics of the new watch, which Patek Philippe claims is as intricate as a great complication. There are 31 patents in force here, seven of which are solely linked to the new structure.

Image: Patek Philippe

This essentially refers to the fact that Patek Philippe employs not one, but two chronograph movements to generate this 1/10th of a second feature: the hand in red (really silicon) sprints around the dial, completing a circuit in 12 seconds. A distinctive display of ten segments around the perimeter of the dial indicates this. This is essentially how Patek Philippe approaches the problem of making the 1/10th of a second function usable.

There is a lot to cover with the all-new calibre CH 29-535 PS 1/10 that we will not cover in this article. It’s possible that it’s time to take another look at how classic chronographs function, and that’s where a good description of the activity goes. However, we have never seen a mechanism like this in modern watchmaking. TAG Heuer, Zenith, and Montblanc all use different movements to manage fractions of a second, complete with separate escapement, but Patek Philippe’s engineering staff has decided for only one.

Image: Patek Philippe

At the same time, watchmakers came to the same conclusion: the fraction of a second function is completely independent from the primary chronograph function (itself separate from regular timekeeping). As usual, Patek Philippe has chosen a horizontal clutch over a vertical clutch, which will continue to split chronograph fans but will most likely delight Patek Philippe devotees. Speaking of which, the Ref. 5470P’s monopusher function and twin-register dial arrangement are reminiscent of 1930s flair.

Image: Patek Philippe

Ref. 5470P deviates from Patek Philippe classicism in terms of size, with a 41mm diameter and a thickness of 13.68mm, which is large for the brand. It is also an important factor for user comfort because the casing is made of 950 platinum; the customer who prefers his fine watchmaking to be appropriately hefty will appreciate it.