The Patek Philippe 5370 Split Seconds Chronograph, a remarkable watch introduced in BaselWorld 2015, it captured the imagination of many collectors and journalists.
Patek Philippe presented its first wristwatch chronometer since 1920 with a split seconds complication. They dubbed the complication rattrapante, a French word meaning “catch up”, as the watch is equipped with two seconds counters, one on top of the other. The top hand can be stoped independently of the other, allowing two separate and distinct times to be recorded. The Germans call the function doppelchronograph, or double chronograph.
Patek Philippe often combine complications at the higher echelons of their offerings. And prior to this ref. 5370, the only other split seconds watch they offer without any other complication is the ref. 5959. The ref. 5959 is an ultra thin split seconds chronograph and uses only two buttons for its functions, while the classical split seconds chronograph uses three buttons. The ultra thin movement and the use of only two buttons may be seen as additional complications.
The movement in the ref.5959 is the Patek proprietary movement base: the CHR 27-525 PS. CHronographe à Rattrapante being the prefix making reference to the split seconds function. The ref. 5959 was also the first in-house chronograph made by Patek Philippe. Earlier chronographs, including the illustrious ref. 3970 and the ref. 5004 are based on a heavily modified Lemania 2310 ébauche.
The Patek Philippe 5370 Split Seconds Chronograph has an imposing presence. Measuring some 41mm in diameter, it sits comfortably on the wrist, but is larger than most Patek Philippe watches. The case design is sensuous, featuring beautiful curved lines which hug the round case and the elegant sloped shoulders of the bezel. It is available only in platinum, though it may be offered in other gold metals in the future.
The dial is grand feu black enamel, and is rather resplendent in its deep black, shiny finish. The markers are in white print offer a high contrast and good legibility. Hour numerals are in Breguet style, and in white gold appliqué. Elegant leaf shaped hands, filled with superluminova gives the watch a rather upperclass feel, in line with its heritage as the Grande Maison.
The black enamel dial deserves special mention. Black enamel is perhaps the most difficult to manufacture, as the deep black glossy surface shows up any defects and artifacts common in many enamel dials easily. Interestingly, this is the second black enamel dial to appear in 2015. In SIHH, Lange introduced its Lange 1 Tourbillon Handswerkskunst which also feature a flawless black grand feu enamel dial. The only other notable black enamel dial was made by Jacquet Droz in its early years, featured on their Grande Seconds model with a particularly thick enamel layer.
As mentioned, the movement is exceptional. The design is beautiful, with the layout showcasing Patek Philippe’s craft. Note the magnificently curved levers and springs. Note also that each lever and spring is carefully polished and anglaged. As is expected, all screws are polished and sit in polished, chamfered openings. The steel chronograph works are straight grained on their top surfaces and also anglaged.The main column wheel commanding the functions of the chronograph is topped with a black polished steel cap. Enormous attention to detail is paid to this cap. The edges are beautifully anglaged, and the center part, holding the screw pin for the column wheel features chamfered sides which are also polished.