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Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The most interesting thing to me about the current perception of the Patek Philippe 5270 “Grand Complication” Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is that it is considered a formal watch, while a look at its historical inspiration makes it more of a sports watch. How did this rather traditional, classic-looking sports watch design become something to wear with a suit?

That is a good question which has a lot to do with the world of fashion and style as things develop over time. Perhaps the biggest clue that this beautiful Patek Philippe timepiece is inspired by historic sport watches is the placement of the tachymeter scale around the bezel. Such a tool is (was) used for being able to measure the speed of an observed object using the chronograph. Pretty much the only time anyone used something like this was during races – the domain of sport watches.

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The chronograph itself is a sporty feature anyway. There are few instances that do not involve sports that require the careful timing of activities. Yes, chronographs have their contemporary utility, but it is also true that much of the time, people buy them because they look and feel cool. Those additional subdials, those extra pushers. Together, these elements create a visual fantasy where the wearer (and those viewing the wearer) can fantasize about their lifestyle and what they might be able to do with it.

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In many ways, the appeal of vintage-styled watches is intrinsically linked to our nostalgia for the past – especially those times that we did not personally live through. Stories and movies idealize the past, and in hindsight, everything was, of course, better. So using that logic, some people might consider timepieces to be mini time machines and by strapping one on that relates to a different era, we are instantly thrust into the past – at least in some sense.
Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

This might all sound silly and emotional, but it does apply when watch collectors use emotions as a base to make purchases. The emotional reason we are fascinated with old-looking watches is something worth exploring in a time when so many old-looking watches are popular. That isn’t to say watches don’t have a timeless element to them, but among products that guys like to purchase today, timepieces are something conspicuously kept in the past. A good example is how fascinated we are with mechanical watches as well as analog dials. If people had less emotional connection to the past and were instead more focused on the present or future, we would be all wearing high-end electronic watches with digital displays (well, it is true that some people do).

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

This all takes me back to not only Patek Philippe as a brand, but the reference 5270 watch family that the Swiss watch maker originally debuted in 2011. aBlogtoWatch went hands-on with the original Patek Philippe 5270G watch here. Later, in 2014, we took a look at line extensions of the popular Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, checking out the 5270P and the 5271 (with diamonds) here. For 2015, Patek Philippe extends the 5270 collection once again by adding an 18k rose gold 5270R version to the existing 18k white gold and platinum models.
Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I’m not a Patek Philippe fanatic like some watch collectors, but I do, of course, have a wealth of appreciation for the brand. One of the few Patek watches I really like is the Patek Philippe 5270, which is why I continue to cover what is essentially the same watch over and over again (though Patek Philippe continues to release new versions). I like what the Patek Philippe 5270 represents and how well it is executed. While the movement inside the watch is modern, it is thoroughly historic in how it is executed and its inspiration. What we have is a well-sized classic-looking watch with a stunningly refined dial that in many ways epitomizes what Patek Philippe is good at.

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Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Earlier, I mentioned how a design like that of the Patek Philippe 5270R’s dial would have been a sports watch in the past, and how it became more of a dress watch today. One reason that watches such as this are no longer considered sport watches is that since timepiece like this were “invented,” watch makers have developed much better sports watches! 1940s and 1950s era sport watches are remarkably fragile compared to sports watches of today. Even the paltry 30 meters of water resistance on the Patek Philippe 5270 would have been impressive by 1940s standards.

Where the Patek Philippe 5270 is not a direct analog of vintage timepieces is in its 41mm wide size. There have been a slew of Patek Philippe watches that look similar to this Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and other 5270 models, but most have been much smaller on the wrist. While 41mm wide is not huge at all, it is very much on the larger-end for a classic, complicated dress watch of this style. Now in 18k rose gold, Patek Philippe finally gives collectors the ability to show off a bit (and not have to use diamonds in the process).

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Over the still-short lifespan of the Patek Philippe 5270 family, there have been several dial variations, and I still like the original from 2011 with its black oxidized gold hands and hour markers. Slightly more traditional in its style, the Patek Philippe 5270R has an 18k rose gold case with matching hands and hour markers on the “silvery opaline” face.

Perhaps it is the legibility and symmetry of the dial which has allowed this style to endure for so long. The combination of a chronograph and a triple calendar (day of the week, month, and date) simply look very nice together. On top of that, the calendar is a perpetual calendar with a leap year indicator, and the dial also has a moonphase and an AM/PM indicator for the time. Again, everything is symmetrical and laid out logically. Patek Philippe today need only look at their archives to discover the best foundation for a new dial, but the Patek Philippe of yesterday needed to spend copious amounts of design research when coming up with dials such as this over the past 100 years or so.

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One “mistake” (according to some) that Patek Philippe made with some versions of the 5270 was to create a “chin” on the dial with the tachymeter scale flowing around the date indicator subdial. People tend to appreciate the look more when the date subdial literally overlaps the scale around the periphery of the dial. Still, some people will be upset by the overlap. Then again, is anyone going to be actually using this outer scale? I agree that the date indicator window takes precedence.

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Patek Philippe is usually very meticulous about dial design and detailing, and that is very much exemplified on the Patek Philippe 5270R. There is the right amount of polish on the hands and hour markers without too much, and everything is super crisp. I also appreciate how the hands are the correct size.

At 41mm wide, the Patek Philippe 5270R might actually be too large for some people who expect extremely “traditionally-sized” timepiece of this style. The flared lugs add to the sense of girth – which is something that I appreciate. While there will be some people who complain about the size of the watch as being too large, to them I simply ask, “doesn’t Patek Philippe make enough smaller watches for your taste?”

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback of the watch, you can see the in-house made Patek Philippe caliber CH 29-535 PS Q manually wound mechanical movement. It isn’t the most beautiful movement in the world, but it won’t let you down at all. The movement has a maximum power reserve of 65 hours, and I really like that it operates at a modern 4Hz (28,800 bph) frequency. Rather complicated, the movement is comprised of 456 parts. All that I could ask for would be for it to also be an automatic (my own personal preference).

Patek Philippe 5270R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

New for 2015, the Patek Philippe 5270R-001 is a beautiful new addition to the Patek Philippe 5720 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph watch collection with the addition of 18k rose gold, and I think anyone interested in the concept will be pleasantly satisfied despite the typically “elite” cost. Price is $164,000 (which actually makes it the most affordable 5270 yet). patek.com

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  • IanE

    Beautiful – but it does make one wonder if it’s time (sic) to do away with the tachymeter scale on such super-expensive chronographs?!

  • When I think of a classically styled, gold, complicated Swiss watch, this is what comes to mind. There is a lot going on but the dial is lay out with such care that it does not look random or cluttered but rather purposeful and functional while still being pleasing to the eye. Not as baroque or overdone as the Grand Master Chime (cherry pie case and all), this piece is just classy. Maybe not the top of my grail list, but this has to be somewhere on the list as an enduring classic. Not the sort of thing I’d want as my only watch, but it would be so cool to have this in a dream collection.

  • IanE In the words of “Fiddler On The Rood” –> TRADITIONAL, TRADITION!!!

  • IanE

    MarkCarson IanE Yes, I know, tradition is difficult to break and is part of a watch’s story, but, if it was tried and found to be a step forward, then a new tradition would be born!

  • SantiagoT

    Funny you would say that Ariel. Not for one second I would consider this a sports watch even though, as you say, that’s what it is. I’d say it is because we are so used to chonographs that we don’t even notice them when there is something else going on on the dial.

    When cheap quartz watches add something to the three-hands-date window configuration it is always a chorograph movement; my son has a plastic Swatch chronograph that measures up to 1/10th of a second and it costs around €100. We just take them for granted -even though it is one of the high complications, and it’s been like that for decades now. I think that is the reason.

    Anyhow, beautiful watch. Wouldn’t mind being told off by the Queen of England for wearing a sports watch at the Battle of Britain Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey next September (to name just one of the many times I see Her Majesty, you know).

  • storkchen

    I’m puzzled: if this watch has a 12 hour chronograph, which dial indicates the number of elapsed hours?

  • BrJean

    Why the reviewed watch shows ‘default’ 10:10 time? Is it a non-operational prototype or it wasn’t allowed to wind it and turn on the chronograph?

  • TourbyOn

    Sploosh! Big time man.

  • TourbyOn

    BrJean In all the images of the balance, its position does not vary. Wonder what the service period is.

  • DanW94

    IanE MarkCarson
    Ian, I agree – Sport watch moniker and tradition be damned!  Do away with the Tachymeter. It would clean up the dial a bit ( not that it’s unduly cluttered now)

  • Love! Personally, I like the manual wind over the automatic, if for no other reason than a full, unobstructed view of the movement. Unless they did a peripheral rotor I guess.
    My only real squalls would be that I’d like to see the dial be bigger in the same case: the bezel looks a bit sturdy for a watch like this. Also, I’d prefer a white metal case. Regardless, it’s a beauty!

  • Jimxxx

    A manually wound perpetual calendar is a pain as you cannot leave it on a winder and have it as part of a regular rotation. Even with 65hrs of power reserve, it means whenever there is a long weekend you have a problem unless you wear it. Far from ideal.

  • Jimxxx

    41mm is hardly big… but for PP it seems to be. That says a lot about their client demographic – older, not physically very active, but with enough capital to buy an anachronistic toy. Vintage Pateks are the darlings of auction houses but as far as their recent creations go, they take a back see to a manufacture like Lange.

  • Andres Moreno

    Absolutely perfect!!!!

  • Alberto Carrizo

    Chique e chique… nada de Made in Ibaté… rsrsrs

  • thornwood36

    I would just love to try this on ! , The chronograph  is a lot of nonsense , but just to try it on would be great

  • Paul De Moor

    Great looking Watch.

  • spiceballs

    SantiagoT  namedropper  – -:-)

  • iamcalledryan

    What a peice of junk, the dial is a mess and the movement is cheap looking.
    Just joking, this is horological divinity!! Who on earth does a better job of cramming in a perpetual, a moon phase, a chrono, with a tachy to boot!
    It’s just missing a step-counter and text message notifier.

  • iamcalledryan I see where you are going with that Ryan – It if was only made by Apple it would sell so much better (or at least get more mainstream press coverage).

  • DanW94 IanE MarkCarson Would you prefer a telemeter scale so you can time artillery shelling and lightening strike distances instead? Or a pulsometer so they can sell this watch to very rich doctors?

  • nickyb66

    Hi Ariel, any chance we can have this watch on a ‘August Giveaway’? LOL

  • DanW94

    MarkCarson DanW94 IanE
    The pulsometer is cool but the problem is doctors never take vitals any more,  the nurses do that and they’re not making Patek like money! The Longines model with the pulsometer is a bit more in their range….lol
    You could even include a slide rule scale, thanks to your excellent “How to” article  from a few years back, I actually think I’ve mastered it : )

  • DanW94 Yeah, doctors don’t take pulses anymore. And even if they did, I’d be even more concerned with the cost of health care if my doctor was taking my pulse with a $164K watch!!! 
    BTW – a doctor is the worst person to stick you with a needle. My doc says the last time he gave anyone a shot was in med school. The blood techs are usually even better than hospital RNs.

  • smoothsweeper

    I love how they manage to cram so much functionality into such a small space, and we all know it could be smaller still – the case is deliberately larger than the movement. And what a movement! I disagree a little bit with Ariel on this, as I think it looks exceptional. It’s perfectly decorated with nothing frivolous. It is elegant and understated (the cap on the column wheel perfectly exemplifies this). We have this perfect complicated watch and when we flip it around to see how the marvel works, Patek’s designers are saying *it’s so simple, see?”.

  • egznyc

    I guess it’s been 75 years now since those dark days. You must have an interesting story to share (I’m curious).

  • egznyc

    I agree manual winding would be a pain in the neck for a perpetual calendar. I do like superstrapper’s suggestion of using a peripheral rotor to keep the movement visible.

  • egznyc

    What’s interesting is that this isn’t an Apple-related blog article yet it’s received a lot of commentary nonetheless. I didn’t realize PP could be so polarizing. For what it’s worth, I think this is a beautiful watch even though I usually prefer less going on with the dial, complications, etc.

  • egznyc

    Oops. Not that many comments after all. Just average.

  • iamcalledryan

    Jimxxx There are actually watch winders designed for manual wind watches. They are called Butlers.

    no, but actually there are winders.

  • Diego de Giorgi

    The best

  • somethingnottaken

    It’s a beautiful watch. I wish I could afford one.

  • somethingnottaken

    iamcalledryan Jimxxx Well, if one can afford the watch, there’s a good chance one can also afford (at least a few) servants.

  • somethingnottaken

    storkchen It looks like a 30 minute chronograph.

  • storkchen

    somethingnottaken storkchen Indeed it does. So was it simply a mistake by the author?

  • appraiszer

    The Patek 5270 R is a magnificent piece of work but I can’t understand why any manufacture of such elevated standing would create a perpetual calendar that is not automatic (except to save thickness of the movement).  This fact harkens back 30 years or more when perpetuals were only manual wind.  What a pain in the neck to pick up the watch and have to go through the ritual of resetting the calendar features a month after wearing other watches in ones collection.  Yes, Orbita Corporation DOES make a winder for manual wind watches but it is very expensive ($,4200+), but I guess if one can afford the 5270, one can afford the Orbita…

  • appraiszer

    Yes, it’s a gorgeous piece and a marvel of horological engineering, but why couldn’t they have made it an automatic?  A manual wind perpetual calendar harkens back to the days of 30 years ago.   Most people who would buy this watch already have many watches and switch off from day to day.  What a pain in the neck to have to reset the perpetual calendar features a month after one has been wearing other watches.  Of course, Orbita Corporation DOES make a winder for manual watches, but it costs more than $4,200.00 (i guess if one can afford this watch ‘though, the Orbita winder price would not be out of the question).

  • somethingnottaken

    appraiszer If an automatic perpetual calendar sits in your drawer for a month, it’ll wind down and need to be reset too. With any perpetual calendar you’ll have to:  wear it most days, get a winder, or reset the calendar features every time you wear it. And for most, if not all, perpetual calendar watches (including  this one) the cost of a winder is going to be trivial compared to the cost of the watch.

    I think this a bigger issue for low cost moon phase and day-date watches, in which case a cheap winder costs only slightly less than the watch itself, while a high end winder will cost five or ten times more than the watch.

  • somethingnottaken appraiszer Get a nice Wolf winder (they are silent and reliable and well made) when they are on sale. You can often pick one up for less than $200.

  • MarkCarson somethingnottaken appraiszer I like the Piccolo winder: http://bit.ly/1IbdZvC  Several can be grouped together using a single power adapter.  It’s as low as $100, including delivery, on sale.

  • appraiszer

    somethingnottaken appraiszer I guess I didn’t make myself clear.  I personally have watch winders for 25 wristwatches.  My comment was only directed toward any top-end manufacture making a perpetual calendar  in this modern age that is not an automatic.  There are a few older perpetual calendars which I was considering buying due to their design  but decided against due to the fact they were not automatics.  I like to wear m watches and I am a person who hates unnecessary inconvenience; that’s what I was attempting  (albeit in a somewhat inarticulate way) to address.  There are numerous time only (or time with date only, or even chronograph) watches which are automatics – and in those there is much less of a necessity for a self-winding movement than in a perpetual calendar.  I hope this clarifies my position.

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