Be careful following the herd: Patekaholics scoff at the 5270, if only for one reason and that being it’s not a 5970. When asked what the perfect Patek is, what is the perfect perpetual calendar chronograph the majority will say 5970; it embodies everything that the brand exudes with a beautiful case and classic dial.
There are those real purists who will shake their heads and discuss the importance of the 2499, but important is a hackneyed term in collecting. The 5270 therefore sits ignored, not spoken about, much like its grandfather the 3970 and I think slightly unfairly so. It’s a labelled watch, the term “jay leno dial” often heard about the tachometer track at 6 pm, but whilst the aesthetics don’t always appeal here is the first in-house designed and manufactured perpetual calendar chronograph and that should not be ignored from an investment point of view. Added to the fact that the very first 5270G ref 001 was manufactured for just 2 years and the value starts to shine when compared to a 5970 that is selling for a 10-20 percent premium in the current market. It is however a bet that needs to be calculated.
The 5970 was fitted with the Nouvelle Lemania based manual winding calibre 27-70 Q that had been used by Patek Philippe since 1986 and was simply breath taking when viewed through the sapphire case back. In 2011 however with the 5970 now discontinued and quickly gaining a reputation as an iconic Patek the all new perpetual calendar chronograph based on the 29-535 PS Q was released some 70 years after the release of the first such complicated watch the 1518. The Looks however divided opinion, the majority missing the subtle detail that the dial mimicked more the 5004 then the tachometer of the 5970. Collectors still pined for the 5970 and prices slipped both in dealers and through auctions. Patek answered to some degree that criticism with the stunning opaline dial of the 5270G -014 (a watch I wear and enjoy myself), but with the recognised “chin “the shadow of the 5970 remained strong. Some also described the blue dialled ref 5270G-014 as a gimmick and aimed at a target demographic. That is simply not true, it’s broadened the appeal to a younger audience for such complications and it’s stunning.
So why invest in a watch that plays second string to the 5970? The answer is simple. Very shortly the 5970 will be unobtainable to most collectors, both in terms of supply and cost. Prices of the 3970 have also started to drift higher as collectors hunt value and perfect examples. Such complications are not just watches, but great storage of wealth in uncertain times. The 5270 now scoffed upon will I suspect become seen as the value watch of the perpetual calendar chronograph family. When combined with the history of its new Patek in –house movement, masculine case and great proportions I think those twitching auction paddles may start to be enthusiastically waved especially when discontinued. It hinges however on one point, the volume of movements Patek produces compared to what was and could have been obtained from Lemania. If Patek are sensible the 5270G-001 with its short production run and “chin-less “design could become a great bet.
Photo Credit: Marion May for Haute Time. If you’d like to hear more about Jimmy’s thoughts on good investments, please follow his Instagram account @jimmycosmo.