To celebrate its 175th Anniversary, Patek Philippe chose to release a pure demonstration of it watchmaking capacities, with certainly one of the most complicated wristwatches ever seen (alongside the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4), the already iconic and controversial Grandmaster Chime. This watch is made only to dream. However the 175th Anniversary collection also has more reasonably priced but highly interesting timepieces that will for sure create a huge demand into the community of collectors. One of these limited editions retained our attention, a chronograph with a unique approach and a very pure design, the Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975.
The Patek Philippe chronographs are among the most desirable and collectible watches of the entire industry, whether they are new models, such as the Ref. 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, or vintage and rare editions such as the Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph or the Ref. 130 Split Second that Christie’s will offer soon on auction. For this reason, it seems more than justified for Patek to present a chronograph celebrating its 175th Anniversary. However be aware, this is not a classical timing tool.
Features / Display
The Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975 comes with a very specific layout that had not been seen for decades, a three-scale timing ‘computer‘. Nowadays, most of the chronographs are coming with a tachymeter scale (which is mostly used as a decoration). And until the 1960s/1970s it was not unusual to see chronographs with multiple scales, especially not for military tool-watches. Patek now reintroduces this display, as the 5975 comes with the 3 most usual scales, meaning a telemeter, a pulsimeter and a tachymeter.
- Telemeter: coming with kilometer graduations, it is used to calculate the distance from an event. Using the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound, it allows you to know how far is a visual signal by waiting to hear the acoustic signal. Useful to know how far is storm, it was mainly used during wars to calculate the distance of an explosion.
- Pulsimeter: used by scientists to measure heart rates. The Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975 has a pulsimeter scale calibrated to 15 heartbeats (gradué pour 15 pulsations) that allows to quickly knowing the heart rate per minutes.
- Tachymeter: This is the most widely used, even nowadays, into chronographs. It is used to calculate a speed over a known distance – for instance here over 1000m (Base 1000).
This brings a face full of printings to this watch but also a deep vintage feeling that collectors will for sure applause. However, something is quite intriguing: the lack of registers. Usually, those multi-scale chronographs were relying on bi-compax layouts – a running second at 9 and a 30-minute counter at 3. On the Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975, there is no register AT ALL. Instead, it looks like a classical 3-hand watch, with hours, minutes and seconds on the central axis. However, the second hand is not sweeping, as it can be stopped and used on demand as a 60-second chronograph. Or it can be used as a classical second hand if you leave it running. Which leads us to the mechanics.
The Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975 doesn’t come with the classical yet superb manually wound Calibre CH29-535 (that can be found in the Ref. 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph). Instead, it features a modern and maybe more practical movement. Not that it is not a nice one, but it does not have the superb layout, with visible gears and levers, of the manual engine. Whatever, Patek chose to be automatic, integrated and precise.
Inside the 5975 ticks an in-house movement, the Calibre CH28-520. It is not a new movement (at least, if the base is not new, this configuration without counters is) as it was already featured in the Nautilus Chronographs, both the previous Ref. 5980 and the actual Travel Time Ref. 5990, revealed this year at Baselworld. What is exactly the Calibre CH28-520? It is a self-winding movement that boasts min. 50 hours of power reserve and that comes with a full rotor on the top, made of 21k gold. It has an integrated construction, meaning that the chronograph functions – Column-wheel, levers and gears – are not added as a module on the top of a base caliber. All these elements are part of the movement itself for a better flow of power and compactness.
It is a complicated movement, that brings the finest in terms of chronograph’s activation: a column-wheel with vertical clutch. What is the advantage of this configuration: having a precise and instantaneous start of the second hand, without the small initial jump that can be found on the cam-operated chronographs. The other advantage founds here a lot of sense: as it comes with a vertical clutch, it is nearly friction-free. For that reason, the sweep chronograph hand can be used as a permanently running seconds hand, with (almost) no alteration of the rate accuracy. With a non-vertical clutch, activating the second hand permanently can affect the precision of the watch, due to frictions. Here, Patek Philippe just reinvented the concept of the Chronostop – 1960s watches made by Omega with only a central second-hand to time events – in a complicated and refined way.
The movement of the Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975 is adorned with the Patek Philippe Seal, meaning of course a very high level of finishing, but not only. It is also a guaranty of the accurate running of the movement, which will not vary by more than -3 to +2 seconds per day, chronograph activated or not. The greater the accuracy is, the higher the precision of the calculations will be too.
Design and editions
Now moving to the aesthetics, we must admit that we are in front of quite a nice timepiece. The Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975 comes in a 40mm case with several noticeable features. First, it has the desirable square pushers that are so ‘Patek’ (you can find those buttons on the vintage Ref. 2499 or on the actual Ref. 5270). Then, it has complicated stepped-lugs, invisibly screwed to the caseband and bezel. It seems to be double lugs, one attached to the case itself and the other one overlapping the bezel. The case is fully polished and comes with a full caseback engraved “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014”. There are 4 editions available, meaning 4 different materials, with matching dauphine hands and applied obus indexes:
- 5975J – limited to 400 pieces – CHF53,000 – 18k Yellow gold case, silvery opaline dial with black printed scales, shiny brown alligator strap
- 5975R – limited to 400 pieces – CHF55,000 – 18k Pink gold case, silvery opaline dial with black printed scales, shiny dark brown alligator strap
- 5975G – limited to 400 pieces – CHF55,000 – 18k White gold case, silvery opaline dial with black printed scales, shiny black alligator strap
- 5975P – limited to 100 pieces – CHF78,000 – Solid platinum case, black lacquered dial with white printed scales, shiny black alligator strap
What to conclude about the Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph? It is a very appealing watch, highly desirable, a future collector that will for sure please the aficionados. It is elegant, refined and shows a superb dial and case. Some might be confused by the lack of counters but it actually brings an exclusive and unusual look. Some might regret a manual winding movement and a see-through caseback. But the commemorative engraving has a lot of sense. The single regret could be the two-pusher configuration. A mono-pusher would have been more coherent with the vintage 1930s / 1940s look and even more exclusive.
We also want to give you some more views on this watch, in the flesh. We had the chance to be at the 175th event and to photograph all the models. Truly a very successful limited edition.
More to see on Patek.com.
Specifications of the Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph Ref. 5975
- Movement: Caliber 28-520, Self-winding mechanical movement, chronograph with column wheel and vertical clutch. Diameter 30mm, height 5.2mm. 239 parts. 29 jewels. Min 50 hours of power reserve. 21k gold rotor, unidirectional winding. Gyromax Balance wheel. Frequency: 21,600 bph – 3hz.
- Functions: hours, minutes and Sweep chronograph hand
- Case: round, 40mm x 10.25mm, 18K yellow, white, or rose gold or platinum 950, solid gold or platinum back with engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014“. Water-resistant to 30 m.
- Dial (gold editions): silvery gray with black printed scales Dauphine hour and minute hands in gold to match the case Chronograph hand blackened Pfinodal, Obus hour markers in gold to match the case
- Dial (Platinum edition): black with white printed scales Dauphine hour and minute hands in 18K white gold Chronograph hand rhodium Pfinodal, Obus hour markers in 18K white gold
- Strap: Alligator with large square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black (platinum and white-gold models), shiny chocolate brown (yellow gold), and ultra-shiny chocolate brown (rose gold), fold-over clasp in 18K gold to match the case or in platinum, with engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE 1839 – 2014“
The Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph also exists in a feminine edition, the Ref. 4675. It has a 37mm case in 18k white gold or in 18k pink gold, with baguette diamonds as hour indexes. However the shape of the case, the dial’s layout (except the scales that are not positioned in the same order) and the movement are exactly the same. Both are limited to 150 pieces and priced at CHF55,000. No distinctions at Patek Philippe, women are treated just like men.