References 5970 and 5270 are Patek Philippe ‘s modern interpretation of perpetual calendars.
In this regard, these two models play a key role in the conceding past and present of Patek Philippe. Today we want to point out the differences between these two already iconic chronographs with perpetual calendar, which make more and more collectors and enthusiasts dream.
Starting with the first one, the ref.1518 produced in 1941, the concept of perpetual calendar has gradually evolved over time.
All this until 2004, when Patek Philippe did not simply introduced the fourth generation of this family, but wrote another fundamental page of its history.
In fact, the reference 5970 represents not only a radical change, compared to the more classic 3970, but also symbolizes the handover between Philippe Stern and his son Thierry.
The mission, at Patek Philippe, did not appear trivial at all, as it was necessary to find a way to “rejuvenate” a timeless design, precisely of reference 3970. We know that the project to overturn a well-established and iconic concept can prove full of pitfalls and lead to harsh criticism from purists.
The aim was to make it palatable to a wide range of customers with different ages.
One of the most striking changes in this direction is the replacement of the chronographic pushers.
Patek Philippe, in fact, opted for square pushers to replace the round ones, proper to the reference 3970.
Another change, also in the case, concerns the lugs, which Patek Philippe reinvented from scratch.
At the end of a long re-styling process, a young and captivating design was achieved, which received great appreciation from the public.
Reference 5970 disappeared from Patek Philippe catalogues in 2010, to make room for the reference 5270, currently in production. These two models, very similar at first glance, differ in several fundamental aspects, which make them distinct.
A key feature is the change in the case size, which, combined with the new lugs, result in a way bigger looking watch on the wrist, although it’s just 1mm larger.
The movement is the first indicator to understand the differences between the two references.
The Patek Philippe 5970 features the manual calibre cal.27-70 CH, with 60 hours of power reserve. It turns out to be based on a heavily modified Lemania 2310 movement, with the addition of the perpetual calendar module. The Lemania 2310 calibre is a very significant movement for Patek Philippe as it has been mounted, since 1986, also on previous perpetual calendars.
However, the real revolution came with the advent of the 5270, in which the new manual caliber cal.29-535 PS Q was introduced.
This, in fact, represents the first movement conceived, designed and produced completely in-house by Patek Philippe, a great achievement for such a prestigious Maison.
Although the functions are virtually identical to the previous caliber, the 5970’s, the power reserve is raised to 65 hours and is awarded by the Patek Philippe Seal. This quality certification, introduced by the Maison itself, requires even more stringent results than those demanded by the Geneva Seal.
The chronographic module has, for both movements, a column wheel equipped with lateral graft, which makes it precise and reliable.
The lateral graft tends to “tear” the clutch and, in the long run, could lead to a deterioration of the gears. In this regard, a “cap” was added to the column wheel, which facilitates the coupling of the lever with the denticles of the wheel.
You don’t remember these terms? There’s an article for you right there!
Design and functions
Looking at the dial you can see that both the Patek Philippe 5970 and 5270 have the same functions, but managed differently. Nevertheless they both have two things in common: two openings at 12 o’clock with day and month, while the date is printed around the moon-phase disk, at 6 o’clock.
In the Patek Philippe ref. 5970, leap year and day/night indicators are placed within the chronograph’s sub-dials, at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock respectively. This could limit reading, given the potential confusion with continuous second hands or chronographic minutes.
In the Patek Philippe ref. 5270 the matter was resolved, using two windows, bearing, at 4.30, the leap year and the day/night at 7.30.
The Patek Philippe 5970 was produced in four different versions of a single series, all with a 40mm diameter case. The versions in yellow, pink or white gold have a light dial, white or opal, with stick indices and tachymetric scale.
Immediately recognizable, however, the platinum version, equipped with a black dial.
With the Patek Philippe 5270 things get more complex, there are three different series in this regard.
The first series features a white gold case, silver dial and oxidized gold stick indices, with no tachymetric scale. (First picture)
The decision to exclude the tachymetric scale aroused a lot of displeasure among fans. As a result, it was reintroduced with the second series, which is divided into two versions: white gold with a dial of choice between opal and blue. (Second pic)
Due to the shifted sub-dials, compared to the hour and minute hands, the dial carries a hump in the tachymetric scale, at 6 o’clock. This peculiarity was soon referred to as “chin”.
The “chin” caused many enthusiasts to turn their noses up, both because it prevented absolute precision in reading tachymetric times, and because it interfered with the elegant symmetry of the dial.
In 2015 Patek Philippe presented the third series, which consists of three different versions: two with white gold case and opal or blue dial. The third version enshrines the introduction of rose gold, combined with an opal dial.
With this version, Patek Philippe solves the question of the “chin”, interrupting the tachymetric scale in the area where it meets the sub-dial of the moon phases.
Currently, Patek Philippe offers two versions: a platinum version, with salmon dial and Arabic numerals from 10 to 2, while the other indexes are small squares. The other version currently available has a rose gold case, accompanied by a black dial.
The economic fluctuations of the 5970 and 5270 references are chasing each other, with the 5970 in the lead.
Despite the absence of official data, it is estimated that a total of 2800 of ref. 5970 have been produced, which in itself is a rarity. Observing last auctions, it can be said that, at the moment, the value of the Patek Philippe 5970 stands at around 150/180 thousand euros, with peaks of 190 for platinum models.
Case aside is represented by pieces with champagne/salmon dial, which are often produced in very few pieces, if not even unique. The rarity of these is such that it has reached peaks of almost 500 thousand euros. Currently, the tendency is not to get rid of these exceptional pieces, as there is confidence that they can further increase in price.
The reason for the attention, addressed by collectors at the Patek Philippe 5970, lies in the “historic” value that it embodies. In fact, the 5970 exemplifies the latest Lemania-based movement, used by Patek Philippe, as well as the first watch developed by Thierry Stern, immediately after taking the reins of the company.
Let’s now come to Patek Philippe 5270. Definitely produced in higher quantities, for this and other reasons, it can be found at lower quotes. Let’s take an example: a piece, belonging to the first series, can be found in figures close to 90.000€ , while you exceed 100.000€ for the second and third series.
However, the question that should be asked is: what will be the evolution of prices in the coming years?
This issue could be very interesting, given the large number of versions and dials, in which the Patek Philippe 5270 has been declined. Moreover, the “defect” of the “chin”, which we were talking about earlier, could turn into a strong point for a market, such as today’s, in which defects become refined merits.
An extraordinary watch for an extraordinary artist
When Eric Clapton’s name is pronounced, there are two categories of fans jumping off the chair. The first one is music lovers, who recognize Clapton an immense talent, so much so that it makes him one of the most appreciated artists of all time. The other category of enthusiasts, watch enthusiasts, is also excited by admiring a lesser-known side of Eric Clapton, precisely his passion for timepieces.
A prominent place in his collection is covered by Patek Philippe, a brand with which he boasts a very close relationship. Report such that allowed him to commission unique pieces for himself.
The Eric Clapton’s case perfectly represents how, at a time when economic possibilities and good taste meet, real works of art can be born.
Inside his collection there is also a very special Patek Philippe 5970. In fact, it was purchased by the artist in 2006 and is part of a series of 4 pieces, all with different materials case and different dial color.
The two glaring features, possessed by these 4 watches are:
- Breguet numerals, which replace the classic stick indices.
- Presence of a bracelet, realized in the same material as the case.
In this case, Eric Clapton chose the timepiece with white gold case and silver dial. Another interesting anecdote is that Clapton did not leave his Patek Philippe 5970 locked in a safe deposit box. However, as evidenced by the case and bracelet, the timepiece has been widely worn.
Translated by Lorenzo Spolaor (@lorenzospolaor)