Patek Philippe 5270R

The Patek Philippe 5270R combines a perpetual calendar with a column-wheel chronograph, all packaged together in a tasteful ensemble for the delectation of connoisseurs.

This detailed review of the Patek Philippe 5270R includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R - perpetual calendar chronograph

My culinary skills are very limited, however, a few weeks ago my wife was poorly and it was my duty to step into the breach and assume the role of chef. I freely admit I am not the most creative cook, nevertheless I am adept at making omelettes. Indeed, an omelette is my signature dish.

Likewise, the perpetual calendar chronograph is the signature dish of Patek Philippe. Ever since 1941, when the first Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph, the Ref. 1518, was released, this particular pairing of complications have been associated with the Genevan watch brand. Since then, Patek has released other perpetual calendar chronographs with every iteration attracting auction room interest.

The Patek Philippe 5270R is different from its forebears in that the movement is ‘entirely developed and crafted’ in the company’s workshops in Geneva. Moreover, the topography of the dial is subtly different from previous Patek perpetual calendar chronographs.

The dial

Interestingly, it is not the hands that immediately catch the eye but the rather the prominent apertures below noon. One aperture reveals the day while the second exposes the month. Both the day and month are highly legible. Beneath the two apertures is the brand’s nomen and a proclamation of its origin. This text is not too large, nor is it too small, it is perfect.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R - perpetual calendar chronograph

Unlike its forebears, the 30-minute chronograph register and the small seconds display are positioned ‘slightly below the horizontal centreline’. This doesn’t mar the sense of balance, every element seems to play its part in making a harmonious whole.

Both the 30-minute chronograph register and the small seconds display are recessed, snailed and feature Arabic numerals avec serifs.

At the base of the dial is a moon-phase display and circular date display. The large date values overlap the chemin de fer which makes reading off the elapsed seconds between 26 – 34 seconds a little challenging, albeit the issue is only a minor criticism.

Located either side of the moon phase display are two further apertures. On the right hand side is the leap-year cycle, while opposite, at 07:30, a day/night indicator resides. The daytime hours are represented in white, while nocturnal hours are indicated in blue.

Encircling the perimeter of the dialscape is a tachymeter scale. Interestingly, this scale is calibrated to show ⅕ second integers, whereas the movement of the hand actually moves in ¼ second intervals. Again, this is only a small criticism and certainly not of sufficient importance to dissuade purchase.

The hour and minute hands are leaf-shaped with slender tips. They are stylish and articulate time beautifully. The hour markers are baton style and feature numerous facets ensnaring ambient light with their gaze. Some hour markers eschew the aforementioned batons, owing to lack of space, and instead employ small, square indexes.

The dial of the Patek Phillippe 5270R has an ageless quality. Indeed, I suspect that if you look at this dial in 50 years time, it will still look splendid. The capacity to impart much information to the wearer without it becoming muddled is a skill many watch brands struggle to achieve. However, Patek is a master at crafting watches which communicate clearly, standing head and shoulders above most other watch brands.

The case

The 18-carat rose gold suits this watch. The maison offers white gold options, but it is the warmth of the Patek Philippe 5270R which especially appeals to my tastes. The case measures a mere 41mm in diameter with a height of 12.40mm. These dimensions are somewhat surprising to me as the modest case proportions should make the dial appeared cluttered, but surprisingly they don’t.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R - perpetual calendar chronograph

By keeping the case dimensions modest, while delivering a highly legible dial, Patek Philippe has created a watch which will suit many wrist sizes, enlarging its appeal.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R - perpetual calendar chronograph

The case is beautifully detailed, featuring a concave bezel and exquisite stepped lugs. Nothing appears perfunctory or the product of haste. Indeed, there is a palpable sense of obsessiveness with the Patek Philippe 5270R. Everything is the result of painstaking attention to detail.

The watch is supplied on a brown alligator leather strap with a fold over Calatrava clasp. Everything feels magnificently refined.

The movement

The Caliber CH 29-535 PS Q is a hand-wound movement, produced entirely in-house. It  blends the basic CH 29-535 PS movement, housed within other Patek models such as the Ref 5170, with a mechanical calendar module. Patek say, ‘It took two years to perfectly match the 1.65mm high traditional cam-controlled calendar mechanism with 182 parts to the chronograph ensemble’.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270R - perpetual calendar chronograph

Pressing the pushpieces rewards the wearer with a beautiful, sweet action. Nothing jars or grinds, everything moves with a seamless glide. The column wheel is partnered with a horizontal coupling, which is surprising as vertical couplings are usually thought to be superior. However, Patek has cleverly engineered a series of enhancements which prevent the central chronograph seconds hand from wobbling when being actuated, stopped or reset. Indeed, everything is the epitome of horological excellence.

One benefit of a horizontal coupling when compared with a vertical coupling is the visual spectacle of seeing the coupling interface with the column wheel. With this movement, Patek delivers a visual spectacle without any of the disadvantages associated with a horizontal coupling.

Initially, the column wheel appears hidden, however, with close inspection it becomes evident that it resides beneath a mirror polished cap. The cap ‘very precisely defines the position of the clutch lever at its outermost point’. This is just one further example of the minute attention to detail practised by Patek.

The finissage is sublime. Each bridge features straight graining on the surfaces, satin-finishing on the flanks, as well as beautiful anglage. Bevelling normally consists of a 45° angle being applied between the surface and the flank. On this Patek movement the bevelling has been taken to another level with chamfers which are slightly convex. By adopting this approach, the chamfers glisten exceptionally brightly, once again, reinforcing the perception of a no-compromise creation.

Other finishing details, visible via the exhibition case-back, include mirror polishing of some components, Côtes de Genève on bridges and perlage on the main plate. These examples of finissage surpass similar decorations found on virtually every other watch I can think of.

I especially like the openness of the movement. It doesn’t hide components beneath oversized bridges, but leaves wheels exposed and visible to the wearer’s eyes. Horophiles are indulged with a spectacular vista of levers, circular grained wheels, star wheels and springs. I could readily spend several minutes with a loupe in hand, admiring the greatness of this incredible movement.

Closing remarks

This is not a normal watch. The Patek Phillippe 5270R feels special. Despite the watch measuring a modest 41mm in diameter, the dial does not feel cluttered and the various indications, save for a couple of minor exceptions, prove simple to read.

The case is beautifully proportioned and is suffused with a myriad of curving lines and stepped surfaces which manifestly illustrate the protracted, no-compromise case construction.

My affection for this watch reaches a crescendo when discussions move to the caliber CH 29-535 PS Q. There is a welcome absence of oversized bridges, allowing the wearer to see all of the finely finished movement components perform sweetly. This is a movement which is imbued with a plethora of mechanical inventions, each intended to augment the ownership experience to the absolute maximum.

On reflection, I may be guilty of irreverence when talking about omelettes and the Patek Philippe 5270R in the same sentence. However, with its vast array of qualities, this timepiece perfectly illustrates why perpetual calendar chronographs are a signature dish of Patek Philippe and I suspect this will remain the case for many years to come.

Technical specification

  • Model: Patek Phillippe 5270R
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 41mm; height 12.40mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day, date; month; day/night indication; leap-year cycle indication; chronograph; perpetual calendar
  • Movement: Caliber CH 29-535 PS Q, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve 65 hours.
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap presented with a 18-carat rose gold fold over clasp
  • Price: £119,350 (RRP as at 2.3.2017)

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