If Patek Philippe is known for its elegant, superbly executed watches, the brand also has strong expertise in research and development, incarnated mostly by its Advance Research program. Today, just after Watches and Wonders, Patek unveils an entirely new and impressive chronograph, the first dedicated to the field of short-time measurement and precision. We talk here about a manually wound movement with two separate chronograph mechanisms and sweep hands, with a high-frequency and tenths-of-a-second display. And that comes with no fewer than 31 patents (7 of which are exclusive to this watch)… Sporty and novel design-wise and mechanically-speaking, meet the new Patek Philippe 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph.
Chronographs are certainly a thing at Patek, which has been crafting these measurement instruments since 1856. Around 1930-31, the brand developed its first pocket watch with a tenth-of-a-second chronograph, which can now be seen at the Museum. Today, the brand presents the Patek Philippe 5470P with its first movement for a wrist chronograph that can measure and display tenths of a second. The base for this new and rather impressive movement is the well-known calibre CH 29-535 PS, launched in 2009 and that can be found for instance in the superb hand-wound chronograph 5172, or its predecessor, the 5170. A movement that is now known as the base for all hand-wound chronographs of Patek, with or without additional complications.
If the architecture remains traditional – manually wound, column-wheel control, horizontal wheel clutch – the new movement (Calibre CH 29-535 PS 1/10) has been deeply reworked to first increase the frequency, moving from 4Hz (28,800vph) to now 5Hz (36,000vph), necessary to measure the tenths-of-a-second – a premiere for a Patek Philippe wrist chronograph. But a classic sweep seconds hand and a frequency of 5hz weren’t enough to display the desired accuracy. “The dial of a wristwatch does not provide enough space for a scale with a microscopically tight tenths-of-a-second graduation,” explains the brand. And to solve this legibility issue, the Patek Philippe 5470P uses two independent chronograph mechanisms: one for the seconds and the instantaneous 30-minute counter, the other exclusively for measuring and displaying stopped tenths of a second.
Patek’s watchmakers thus conceived a patented system that displays the measured seconds and the fractions of a second concentrically. The 5470P features two sweep chronograph hands, each of them driven by an independent mechanism. The silver hand that performs a complete revolution per minute shows the stopped seconds in the traditional manner. The other hand, lacquered in red, performs one revolution per 12 seconds, five times faster than an ordinary chronograph hand and sweeps across 12 sectors subdivided into tenths. Thus, the display becomes much clearer and more precise. “In this way, the user can immediately read the elapsed seconds guided by the pearl markers and then, on the outer railway track scale, read the number of elapsed tenths of a second departing from the last red marker.”
White a 5Hz frequency increases precision and allows for a 1/10th display, it also requires more energy – specifically with the additional central and fast hand. The single mainspring has been reworked with increased efficiency to preserve the amplitude of the balance spring as much as possible and to assure optimized rate stability. Also, the diameter of the barrel arbour was reduced and the number of mainspring coils increased. A patented notch reduces the tension of the slip bridle during the winding process. The result is a comfortable 48h power reserve.
To make the 5hz frequency possible and reliable, Patek Philippe relies on all of its innovations from the Advanced Research department, including the Oscillomax ensemble. The ensemble operates with the Spiromax balance spring, the Pulsomax escapement and the Gyromax balance, with all elements in Silinvar (silicon-based material). This is the first time since the launch of the perpetual calendar 5550P that Patek Philippe has added the Oscillomax ensemble to its current collection. In addition, the Patek Philippe 5470P 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph features multiple innovations regarding the fluidity of the display (thanks to a driving wheel in a novel two-part arrangement) and the shock absorber. Connected to the dedicated clutch, the 1/10th of a second driving wheel is a two-part construction with one rigid plate and one flexible plate superimposed. Equipped with an elastic backlash compensation system, it ensures gearings mesh properly and hence prevents the 1/10th of a second hand from stuttering. Two patented antishock mechanisms have been developed. The first mechanism consists of a hook principle for holding the lever in its clutch-engaged position. It engages with hooks that have been added to the column wheel cap. The 1/10th of a second pinion has micro-toothing. Its connection to the clutch wheel is secured by a pre-tensioning force, and, two patented pendulum shock absorbers and their springs.
The Calibre CH 29-535 PS 1/10 housed in the case of the Patek Philippe 5470P is also coming with a new monopusher architecture. The pusher at two operates the start-stop-reset functions. The sapphire crystal caseback, which can be changed into a solid platinum back (also included), reveals a beautifully finished classic movement (bridges with chamfered and polished edges, Geneva striping…) yet with some modernity in both the architecture and some of the parts of the regulating organ.
The Patek Philippe 5470P comes with a resolutely modern and sporty look. The 41mm case, made of 950 platinum, recalls the split-seconds 5370P unveiled in 2015, with a concave bezel and case flanks that are slightly recessed and satin-finished, transiting to the lug tips and their cabochons. Being platinum, a flawless brilliant-cut diamond sits between the lugs at 6 o’clock. The watch is worn on a blue calfskin strap with an embossed fabric pattern and bold red stitching.
The dial also plays on modern and sporty cues, with a dark and matte blue lacquered surface. It features classic applied Breguet numerals and a pearl minute track, over a bi-compax layout with small seconds. The chronograph seconds are indicated with a sandblasted and rhodiumed steel hand and the tenths of a second are displayed with a slender hand in lightweight Silinvar and lacquered red. This silicon hand required to patent two solutions. The hand is fitted on the movement traditionally with a hand brass pipe. Patek had to develop a process to bond this brass pipe to the silicon hand. The hand could be painted bright red thanks to a novel surface primer process.
The Patek Philippe 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph will be part of the permanent collection. It is priced at CHF 380,000. For more details, please visit www.patek.com.