Patek Philippe, Reference 5004
This reference is launched in 1995 and remained in production until circa 2011.
This highly complicated manual-winding wristwatch combines a split-seconds chronograph with the functions of the perpetual calendar and moon phases.
This round-shaped watch (Ø 36 to 37 mm.) is fitted with a manual-winding 13’’’ round-shaped calibre. The Cal. CHR 27-70 Q consists of a total of 404 parts.
The majority in yellow gold, more rarely in pink gold, even more rarely in white gold or in platinum; only few examples in stainless steel are known to-date and very few in titanium. Some of them are fitted with black colour dials.
Around 650 examples were produced.
The Ref. 5004 remains one of Patek’s most desirable modern complication watches. Its elegant look, similar to the Ref. 3970 but with its extra thickness, and of course the split-second mechanism, have made it a true classic.
What is a split-seconds chronograph ?
A split-seconds chronograph or “rattrapante” is a type of chronograph watch with two co-axial superimposed centre-seconds hands that are controlled by two push-pieces. One push-piece controls the split-seconds hand to stop or join the chronograph hand. The other push-piece control both the hands and all of the functions of the chronograph. The two hands, the chronograph hand and the split-seconds hand, are used for timing several events that start simultaneously but are of different durations. To operate the split-seconds chronograph, both hands are started and remain superimposed. Then at the end of the first duration, the split-seconds hand can be stopped while the chronograph hand continues to move. The duration of the first event can be read. After recording, the split-seconds hand can be released to instantly move and join the chronograph hand, synchronizing with it and thus ready for another recording. At the end of each event the hands can be stopped and then returned to zero.
The split-seconds chronograph, in its present form, was first introduced in circa 1880. Split-seconds chronograph wristwatches came on the market circa 1922 by Patek Philippe. The first known wristwatch of this kind was Patek Philippe No. 124 824, case no. 235 326, which was sold by Antiquorum as lot 448 on November 14, 1999, for US$ 1 918 387.-, which was the highest price ever realized for a wristwatch at auction. This wristwatch appeared five years prior to the official release of the split-seconds chronograph, making Patek Philippe the first manufacture to create this model. As they require a complicated and technical mechanism, these watches are desirable, very collectible and extremely difficult to make which accounts for their rarity.