Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5004P-033

Museum Piece
If the mighty 3970 still doesn't suit your needs and you would like an extra chronograph added: enter the 5004.

If the mighty 3970 still doesn't suit your needs and you would like an extra chronograph added: enter the 5004.

This watch is one of our absolute favourites and additionally one of the most coveted and prized, semi-contemporary, Patek Philippes. The ref 5004 is descended from a long line of exquisite and highly complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches. To be specific, it is the direct offspring of the glorious 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 hall of fame, because it’s the maison’s first serially produced model to combine the perpetual calendar mechanism with a split seconds chronograph. Even though the watch was introduced in 1996, it is for many, the last truly vintage grand complications by Patek Philippe. With a case measuring in at 36.5 mm, the 5004 hits the sweet spot: not too small, not too large. Its successor, the 5204, in turn, would grow to a comparatively large 40 mm. However, the case of the 5004 is considerably thicker than the 3970 in order to house the extra chronograph module.

What’s so special about a perpetual calendar and split seconds chronograph? 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, two chronographs hands are 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.

The complications are displayed through a set of windows and sub-dials. Two apertures at the 12 o’clock position reveal the day and month mechanism. 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 indication. While most 5004's have dials with Arabic numerals on the hour positions (and sometimes baton markers), this rare black dial variant features factory-set diamond indices instead.

It was challenging to build this on the Lemania 2310 ebauche, that was never made to feature such an elaborate complication, and therefore only a couple hundred have been made in the course of its 16 years of production.

This 5004P dates back to 2006 and sports a case executed in 950 platinum. Considerably rarer than either yellow or pink gold examples. On the right hand-side of the case, the crown with integrated split-seconds button is sandwiched between two pump-style chronograph pushers. As the watch is turned upside down, the display case back gives way to the exquisite hand-finished, manual winding caliber.

This is your chance to own one of the crowning glories of Patek Philippe’s storied history and, therefore, an essential part of any serious Patek Philippe collection. This watch is accompanied by the original box, papers and additional caseback and comes on a black alligator-leather Patek Philippe strap with a platinum Patek Philippe folding clasp.