Replica Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Blue Hands-On

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Patek Philippe has been associated with perpetual calendar chronographs for several decades now. Not only was Patek the first to unite both complications in a wristwatch (with the ref. 1518), but the brand even added, in some references, a split-seconds function or a minute repeater to this already prestigious package. At the 2014 Baselworld watch fair, Patek introduced a new color to its “entry-level” perpetual calendar chronograph, a white gold case with a blue dial. We at Monochrome Watches were quite fortunate to get our hands on this Patek Philippe (Ref. 5270).

It’s quite difficult to imagine, but the Patek Philippe 5270 is actually the simplest perpetual calendar chronograph of the collection; keep in mind that the two other references with these complications also feature a split-second (ref. 5204) or a minute repeater (ref. 5208). Clearly, though, the 5270 is not a simple watch. It is the latest edition in a long lineage that began with the reference 1518, the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph, introduced in the middle of the 1940s. This extremely rare bird was produced for only 13 years, in 281 pieces, and features a movement based on a Valjoux ébauche but highly modified and adorned with the Geneva Seal. A few years later, during the early 1950s, Patek Philippe replica launched the Reference 2499, an improved edition of the perpetual calendar chronograph. Very similar in design, the 3970 and the 5970 came after that, with minor improvements and updated shapes. But in 2011, the 5270 added something very interesting to this classical model: an in-house movement. No more Valjoux or Lemania base here, but instead pure Patek Philippe.

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Make no mistake about this Patek Philippe 5270. Even if it looks very similar to the previous reference, nothing is the same. The design, layout, movement, case, size… everything is new, but remains classical. Patek Philippe chose not to break the codes, but intended to improve and modernize an icon, when it introduced this reference in 2011 with a silver-white dial. Now, in 2014, Patek Philippe has come out with new dials, including the blue one we had the chance to handle for a few hours.

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Before this new reference debuted, Patek Philippe replica would usually power its chronographs with a Lemania-based movement, Caliber 27-70. Even if that ébauche was deeply modified, both on the technical and finishing fronts, Patek at one point decided it couldn’t outsource anymore in an era in which the term “in-house” has gained so much importance. So the brand created a fully home-made movement, developed and manufactured in-house – i.e., a manufacture movement. Patek Philippe Caliber CH 29-535 PS Q is a 32-mm manually wound engine that is impressive not only because of its complications, but also because of the quality of its finishing. As with every modern Patek Philippe replica watch, it is adorned with the Patek Philippe Seal. As we told you recently, the strictest of quality control standards are exerted in the manufacturing of every single component of the watch – the movement, the case, dial, hands, et al. – with rigorous standards applied to form, function, and accuracy.

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A close look allows us to see the polished, beveled angles of the bridges and of the levers; the straight graining of the several elements that compose the chronograph; the polished screw heads and slots; several gold chatons; and Geneva stripes that continue from one bridge to another. The beauty of this movement also comes from its pleasantly deep layout, which permits viewing of all the gears’ and levers’ motions when activating the pushers. Some long-term Patek Philippe’s collectors may prefer the older Lemania’s bridges, but this one is actually very nice, too. The chronograph does (of course) use a column wheel with a vertical clutch for its engagement – the column wheel is, as is usual with fake Patek Philippe, hidden by a protective cap (that you can see on the photo above, in the lower part of the movement). The chronograph itself is very classical, with a bi-compax architecture displaying the measured seconds with a central hand, the minutes in a subdial at 3 o’clock and the running second in a subdial at 9 o’clock. Finally, it comes with the precise Gyromax balance wheel, using a free sprung architecture.

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The movement is not the only interesting element here, and turning the fake watch to the dial side also shows complications. The perpetual calendar components are not visible through the sapphire caseback, as they are positioned on the top of the movement. However, the dial provides lots of information, with a clever and legible display. The day and month are indicated in two windows at 12 o’clock. The date and the moon-phase indicator are displayed in a third sub-dial at 6 o’clock. What is new compared to the previous reference (Ref. 5970) is the way it indicates the leap year and the day/night function. Previously, these two were positioned inside the chronograph’s counters at 3 and 9 o’clock and used hands to point out the information. Not the most practical and legible layout, as it was easy to get confused between the different hands. In the 5270, Patek Philippe has chosen to use two small apertures – at 4:30 for the leap year and at 7:30 for the day/night indicator. The dial gains increased legibility and aesthetic purity from that aesthetic decision.

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Another change (like we said, every aspect has been changed or improved) is in the case, which has a diameter of 41 mm instead of 39 mm. It is slightly bigger, but remains in the classical and reasonable category (consider the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Chronograph, which is 42 mm, and the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down, which is 41 mm). It is made of 18k white gold and comes with an interesting, typically Patek shape – convex bezel, complicated lugs, and rectangular chronograph pushers. The case remains quite thin at 12.4 mm, and positions itself really well on the wrist. The overall appearance of the Patek Philippe 5270 is refined, complicated and elegant. The minor changes to the design give us a cleaner and more modern watch.

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The last of the changes, and also new for 2014, is that blue color combination (both for the dial and the strap). Originally available in white gold with a white/silver dial, it is now possible to have the 5270 in blue, a less classical color and perhaps, therefore, easier to wear with a casual outfit as well. Even if blue is a cold color (especially when paired with a white-gold case), this new edition is, nonetheless, more appealing. The dial is not plain but slightly guillochéd, with a sunburst pattern, and thus gives off really nice reflections (that were unfortunately hard to capture during our photo shoot). The contrast with the white gold hands and applied indexes and the white inscriptions is excellent and allows for very good legibility. Furthermore, the blue remains serious enough for Patek’s lovers but adds an extra attractiveness to a very classical reference.

The Patek Philippe Replica 5270G Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Blue is available in Patek Philippe boutiques, priced at about 135 euros.

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How Snoopy Ended Up on an Replica Omega Speedmaster Dial

It is no secret that besides blogging about watches for Buywatchestop.co.uk, I also love to collect replica watches — especially iconic watches like the replica Rolex GMT-Master, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Rolex Datejust and, of course, the Omega Speedmaster Professional. I own several of the last model. Ever since I bought my first Speedmaster (more than 15 years ago) I have been hooked on this watch. Not only do I love the design of this chronograph (one of the most clean chronograph dials around); I also like its connection to the Apollo space program.

As you know, Omega has produced quite a few limited editions based on the original Speedmaster Professional. Some like these limited editions, others don’t. However, the fact is that some of these limited editions do appreciate in market value quite well after a few years. One of these models is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award.” My professional career started around the time this model was introduced (2003), so it was only a lack of funds that prevented me from buying Speedmaster Snoopy back then. Ever since, I have longed for one, but also noticed that over the years they became increasingly difficult to find, at least for a reasonable price. Recently, I decided to go for it despite the high price (compared to that of a standard Omega Speedmaster Professional). I justified the purchase by telling myself that the longer I’d wait, the more expensive it would get, anyway, right? You can read about the efforts I made to obtain the Speedmaster Snoopy. After showing my precious new Speedmaster Professional with a Snoopy (turned into an astronaut) to some people, a number of them asked why I wanted a cartoon character on the dial of my replica watch. I was already aware that many people had this perception of the Speedmaster with the Snoopy dial, also given the fact that it was initially sold to a lot of women (women seem to love Snoopy a lot).

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If you are a Speedmaster aficionado as well, and you know a thing or two about the Apollo missions, you probably are already familiar with the use of Snoopy by NASA. In 1968, NASA chose the famous beagle as an icon to act as a sort of “watchdog” over its missions. In the same year, NASA decided to use a sterling silver Snoopy pin as a sign of appreciation to NASA employees and contractors together with a commendation letter and a signed framed Snoopy certificate. Each of the sterling silver Snoopy label pins has been flown during a NASA mission. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, who created the “Peanuts” comic strip (featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown) was a supporter of the NASA Apollo missions and agreed to let them use “Snoopy the astronaut” at no cost and even drew the Snoopy figure for the sterling silver label pin.

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In May 1969, the Apollo 10 mission flew to the moon to do the final checks in order for the following mission, Apollo 11, to land on the Moon. The Apollo 10 mission required the LM (lunar module) to check the moon’s surface from nearby and “snoop around” to find a landing site for Apollo 11. Because of this, the Apollo 10 crew (Gene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford) named the LM “Snoopy.” The Apollo CM (command module) was nicknamed “Charlie Brown.” Fast-forward to 1970. In the interim, humans had set foot on the moon and, about one year later, the Apollo 13 mission was meant to bring another team of NASA astronauts to the Moon (Lovell, Swigert and Haise). The mission’s objective was to explorer a certain area on the moon called the Fra Mauro formation. It didn’t get that far, as there was an explosion on board the service module at approximately 200,000 miles distance from Earth.

NASA’s ground control came up with a solution in the end, which required the astronauts to get creative with some materials on board their module. After fixes were made and all systems worked (more or less) again, the crew started their journey to Earth. This is the really quick version of the story of course; the entire adventure is depicted in the 1995 movie, Apollo 13, starringTom Hanks (an avid Speedmaster wearer himself, probably becoming one after his role in this movie). Now comes the part where the Speedmaster played an important role. The Apollo 13 crew needed the replica Omega Speedmaster watch, first to time ignition of the rockets to shorten the estimated length of the return to Earth, and secondly, to time the ignition of the rockets to decrease speed and raise the flight path angle for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. This second operation was crucial, since any mistake in the timing could have led to an incorrect entry angle and, as a result, potential disaster for the crew. As explained before, NASA used the Snoopy award for special contributions and outstanding efforts from both NASA personnel and contractors. On October 5th, 1970, NASA gave the Omega Speedmaster a Snoopy award to acknowledge the crucial role the watch played during the Apollo 13 mission.

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In 2003, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award” to commemorate this 1970 milestone. Although the watch was a limited (and numbered) edition, Omega produced a whopping 5,441 pieces of the Speedmaster Snoopy. The number has to do with the 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds that the mission lasted. A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but a nice idea. Omega’s reason for introducing this replica watch 33 years after the Apollo 13 mission, and being awarded with the Snoopy, is unknown to me. Based on the brand’s other limited editions, I would have expected such a release on a 30th or perhaps 35th anniversary rather than a 33rd. Despite the relative high number of Snoopy Speedmasters out there, you’ll have to search to find one at a decent price. Also, beware of Snoopy Speedmasters that had the dial and caseback fitted later on (Omega delivered them to service centers as spare parts). Always make sure you buy a Speedmaster Snoopy with the original anthracite (Snoopy) box, certificate of authenticity (with matching number on the caseback). There should also be a copy of the original Snoopy appreciation certificate with the watch.

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So now you know. When there is a Snoopy on an Omega Speedmaster dial, it actually means something. In the end, of course, one need not be versed in all this history to purchase and appreciate this watch; one may just be a fan of Snoopy. A review of the Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy Award’ can be found here. More information about Omega Speedmasters in general can be found on the Speedy Tuesday page on Replica Watches.

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