Legendary Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe wowed retailers and collectors alike at Basel World 2012 with a slew of intriguing watches, including this watch Ref. 5204. One of the confirmed stars of Basel World 2012, this watch has already made waves with those in the know.
Briefly, Ref. 5204 is a split seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar, day/night indicator and moon phase subdial (at 6 o’clock). The version we saw at the fair was in a platinum case so it was Ref. 5204P. On the face of it, the watch seems relatively nondescript, even with its complications, but remember that this is Patek Philippe.
The introduction of a new in-house calibre, CHR 29-535 PS Q, means that the previous calibre CHR 27-70 has been retired. The new calibre is manual-winding, with horizontal clutch column wheel and has the Gyromax balance now oscillating at 28,800 vph or 4 Hz. Note that the chronograph minutes are now instantaneous (display at 3 o’clock) and the balance is significantly smaller.
Collectors will also want to know that there are a variety of improvements and changes in the calibre that are far from obvious to the untrained eye. We cite just one example here in the isolating system, which sees the so-called Octopus bowing out. A swan-neck system takes its place and manages the difficult task of being both complex and simple to maintain. Briefly, the isolation system keeps the two chronograph hands distinct once the split seconds function is activated.
Case: 40mm, platinum; Interchangeable full back and sapphire-crystal case back
Movement: Mechanical manually wound caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q
Functions: Split seconds chronograph; perpetual calendar; instantaneous 30-minute counter
Dial: Silvery opaline dial, gold applied hour markers; day, month, leap year and day/night indication in apertures; date by hand; moon phases; seconds subdial
Strap: alligator with square scales, hand-stitched, matt black fold-over clasp
Water resistance: 30 m