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Patek Philippe Split Seconds Chronograph, Ref 5370. A quick view.

amanico
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There are some complications which make watch aficionados dream: The Minute Repeater is certainly one of them, a several axis tourbillon, perhaps, a sophisticated perpetual calendar, an Equation of Time, an astronomical watch, and, last but not least, the Split-Seconds Chronograph. 

 I have a fully intact souvenir of one of my horological discussions with a gentleman in charge of the product development for Jaeger Lecoultre, some ten years ago and he taught me that one of the most " complicated complication " was the Chronograph. More than a Tourbillon or a perpetual calendar, for example. 

So you can imagine how challenging can be the conception of a Rattrapante!

There is no secret, nor wonder why there are so few manual winding rattrapantes on the market. 

As long as I can remember, Richard Mille, Glashutte Original, Lange and... Patek Philippe are those who come to my mind. Let's add an Independent, like Journe, too. 

I precise, once again, I am mentioning manual winding Rattrapantes only, as there were a few automatic ones, too. 

Back to Patek, the 5370P was not the first Rattrapante for the brand as they made the 5004, which associates a rattrapante with a perpetual calendar, or a rattrapante only, with the reference 5959, a 33 mm pure marvel, as soon as 2005. 

The 5370P cannot, technically, compete with the absolute king of the category, the Lange... Triple Split which is a split seconds / minutes and hours, but in terms of wearability and charm, it is a champion. 

The Lange Triple Split ( 2018 ) :

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Indeed, the Patek with its 41 mm case / 13, 56 mm high, is 2 mm smaller, and almost 2 millimeters thinner than the Lange, which, on the wrist, makes a huge difference. Simply and shortly said, it can be worn without any problem. 

The 5370P case is a model of elegance, too, without looking mannered. The lugs are treated in the same way than the side of the case, in prolongation with it, in total harmony. The concave bezel adds some sensual curve to those of the case and lugs. 

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Yes, Harmony is a word which works well for this chronograph. 

The water resistance is 30 meters, which is good enough for everyday's life.

The rectangular pushers? I would have preferred mushroom pushers for that reference, but  not a dream breaker. The pusher installed in the crown is here to remind us that we are facing a Rattrapante Chronograph, as it is dedicated to it. Magic. And pleasant to play with, as they are quite smooth.

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The dial? A marvel. Made of gold, it is covered with black enamel, which is not a surprise as gold is often used for some technical reasons, for enamel dials. Deep, warm, enamel is something to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated and  understood. This one is superb. 

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The wonder goes on with sublime applied Breguet numerals, made of gold, too. 

All the hands are made in gold. 

As for the dial, two reserves: The sub dials are, like on the 5170, aligned under the 3 and 9 o' clock line, not perfectly centered. Mots probably a consequence of the movement, not aesthetics reasons behind this choice. 

The leaf hands are very nice, but I don't see the point to fill them with luminova. There is no luminous dots on the dial, and the quantity of lume in the hands is so small that they are not very efficient in the dark. It would have been much nicer without, in my opinion, at least. 

As for the movement, the Cal 29-535 PS can be considered as appealing. It seems that the level of decoration is higher than for the 5170 movement. And the double pinches of the Rattrapante adds some sculptural beauty to this calibre. Beating at 28, 800 alternances per hour, it offers a power reserve of circa 60 hours, which is good. 

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And here, encased: 

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A last point, as a bonus. With the 5370P, you have two case backs: A see through, which will be used by the majority of its lucky owners, and a solid one. 

All in all, this Chronograph is a dream. Expensive it is, much more than a Lange Triple Split, for example, which is questionable... 

There are some points which are a bit irritating for me, such as the location of the sub dials, and the lume of the hour and minute hands, but the black enamel dial and the manual winding rattrapante movement are so magic that the plus are much more important than the cons... Even if the price makes me scratch my head and kills my illusions to get it, one day. 

Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts, 

Best.

Nicolas.

PS: Thanks to Zabreg to have let me play with his 5370P. 

Comments:
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descartes1 April 25th, 2018-10:39
Fantastic write up I am in agreement with all your points, including that it's unlikely I'll ever own one . Lol. My only small additional complaint is that, for some reason, the column wheel is capped ( and the cap is polished) rather than the mechanism being exposed. This ... 
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amanico April 25th, 2018-23:39
That's also true on the 5070, the cap on the column wheel. Lange exposes it, indeed. Thanks for your feedback, my friend.  
mdg April 25th, 2018-11:14
I am a huge fan of... ...the 5950. The dial solves your issue (I think) of the sub dials. And at 10.13mm thick it is considerably thinner. In stainless or platinum this (along with a custom RW Smith) is my 'under $1M' grail watch.
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amanico April 25th, 2018-23:44
Sure. Now the cushion shape case is not everybody's taste. But the dial is top!  
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Langeholic April 25th, 2018-11:21
Great write up about my favourite complication! I have always loved chronograph movements, but rattrapante’s have a very special place in my heart. The minute repeater is no doubt special, but the rattrapante is the rockstar of the complication world in my humble opinion. The triple split has taken the... 
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amanico April 25th, 2018-12:31
The star of complications? That would be a superb theme of discussion. I tend to agree that this 5370P has a lot of assets...  
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Langeholic April 25th, 2018-15:30
Contentious statement to make I know... but a rattrapante dial combines both classic and sport, done well it’s one of the most appealing dial designs in horology. It is not only the dial, but the beauty and depth of the movement coupled with the knowledge that it has challenged the best of watc... 
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amanico April 25th, 2018-15:33
Or... A Grande Complication, which includes a... Rattrapante Chronograph, classically.  
Gelato Monster April 25th, 2018-19:10
if not pure rattrapante it will be 5951. But I prefer pure sublimity
Gelato Monster April 25th, 2018-19:07
For me it will be the 5950A and Triple Split
0-10-10

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