Patek Philippe Grand Complication 5004P-022

The 5004P split seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar is the last of a great watchmaking era and a true holy grail.

Museum Piece
Patek PhilippePatek Philippe’s ultra exclusive timepieces have usually been reserved for the lucky few.

Introduction

The 5004P split seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar is the last of a great watchmaking era and a true holy grail.The ref 5004 is a descendant of a long lineage of exquisite Patek Philippe grand complications. It is the offspring of the exquisite ref. 1518, 2499, and 3970 perpetual calendar chronographs. Yet, it managed to trump its forebears by introducing yet another complication: the split second (or rattrapante) chronograph.The 5004 takes an exceptional spot in Patek’s storied history because it’s the maison’s first split second perpetual chronograph. Even though the watch was introduced in 1996, it is the last truly vintage grand complications by Patek Philippe. With a case measuring in at 36 mm, the 5004 hits the sweet spot: not too small, not too large. Its successor, the 5204, in turn, would grow to a rather massive 40 mm.Now, what’s so special about a perpetual calendar and split seconds chronograph you might ask. For one, it includes a calendar mechanism that, once properly set, correctly displays the calendar for years to come by taking into account both differential month lengths as well as leap years. Pretty impressive for a mechanical watch.Second, it takes the handy chronograph function and supercharges it by allowing the wearer to time two different events, separately from one another. To achieve this, a split-second has two chronographs hands superimposed over one another. Once the chronograph function is engaged, pushing the button on the crown stops one of the hands while the other keeps running. With a second push of the button on the crown, the idle hand instantaneously catches up with the running hand again.It is estimated that between 200 and 300 specimens of the ref. 5004 were produced in total between 1996 and 2012. Of this production run, the platinum cased versions with black dials are the most coveted. As fate would have it, that’s the exact variant you’re looking at here!This ref. 5004P dates back to 2011—the penultimate year of the model’s production run– and features a 36 mm case executed in 950 platinum. On the right hand-side of the case, the crown with integrated split-seconds button is sandwiched between two pump chronograph pushers. As the watch is turned upside down, the display case back gives way to the exquisite hand-finished in-house manual winding split-seconds caliber.The elegant black enamel dial sports applied Arabic indices and feuille (leaf) hands as a nod to the ref. 1518 and early 2499s perpetual calendar chronographs. Two apertures at the 12 o’clock position reveal the day and month mechanism. The dial features three sub-dials. The recessed sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position displays a running seconds as well as a 24-hour hand while the recessed sub-dial at the 3-hour position incorporates a 30-minute chronograph counter and a leap year indicator. Finally on the lower sub-dial we find a charming moon phase indicator, which is surrounded by a date complication.The ref. 5004P is one of the crowning glories of Patek Philippe’s storied history and, therefore, an essential part of any serious Patek collection. This watch is accompanied by the original box and papers and comes on a black alligator leather Patek strap with a 950 platinum Patek Philippe folding clasp.

Description

Patek PhilippePatek Philippe’s ultra exclusive timepieces have usually been reserved for the lucky few. Its mechanical masterpieces were traditionally made from precious metals and worn by an elegant lady or gentleman.