Patek Philippe: Ladies First Chronograph

Patek Philippe is always good for a surprise. At first, the manufactory separated from the Geneva mark and raised its own quality standard for the highly developed movements with the Patek Philippe seal. And then the new, complicated caliber CH 29-535 hp will be installed first in a ladies chronograph.

With the caliber CH 29-535 hp begins a new era in the chronograph history of Patek Philippe. It is the result of five years of development work with which the manufactory now has a hand-held chronograph movement, which is completely developed and manufactured in its own studio. Sooner or later it replaces the caliber CH 27-70, which is based on the Nouvelle-Lemania movement, which is regarded by lovers as the most beautiful traditional chronograph movement. The CH 29-535 horsepower can be seen as a worthy successor in technology and execution. It is a rudder wheel construction with horizontal clutch, which is completely in the tradition of classical watchmaking. On the other hand, the movement is characterized by six patented or patent-pending innovations, all of which serve to increase the reliability, functionality and performance of the chronograph. The Caliber CH 29-535 PS expands the Patek Philippe factory range to more than 20 basic calibers, which are produced in over 45 designs.

The Finest Technology In A Small Space

Its complex mechanics are accommodated in a confined space. The caliber measures only 5.35 millimeters in height with a diameter of 29.6 millimeters. The stop second is displayed from the center, the small second at nine o’clock, and an instantly jumping 30-minute counter is at three o’clock. The large, four-armed Gyromax balance oscillates with 28,800 semi-oscillations in the hour. The feather house holds a gait of 65 hours; the chronograph runs, it is still over 58 hours. The movement has a second stop.

As already indicated, the caliber CH 29-535 HP is manufactured completely according to the quality criteria of the Patek Philippe seal. That is, it presents itself as a masterpiece of aesthetics and craftsmanship. The elegant parts and the bridges “a l’ancienne”, which are carefully anglished, polished and lined with Geneva strip, are proof of this. The coupling rocker is held in a classic S-shape. The refined design and arrangement of the chronograph bridges are used for efficient transmission of energy from the spring housing to the control element and thus a stable and precise movement. The six patented further developments include the wheels of the chronograph mechanism with their optimized tooth profile.

This was presented for the first time in 2005 in the extra-double double chronometer CH R 27-525 PS. It eliminates the risk of a jump at the start of the chronograph and suppresses vibrating the chronograph pointer. The optimized power transmission also enhances the efficiency of the chronograph and reduces friction and thus the wear in the clockwork.

The fine adjustment of the engagement depth of the clutch wheel into the chronograph center wheel is improved by means of a large eccentric bush on the ratchet wheel and the tip of the clutch rocker (instead of the usual eccentric near the clutch wheel). The synchronization of the clutch lever and the stop lever is usually performed via the shift wheel.

With the CH 29-535 HP caliber, this intermediate step is eliminated and the clutch rocker is equipped with an additional ” finger “, which synchronizes the two levers directly with each other. This solution simplifies the fine-tuning of the control commands and increases their precision, because you only have to intervene at one point instead of two. In addition, the “knock-out ” of the chronograph hand is suppressed when the chronograph is started and stopped.

In order to reduce a sudden blocking at the zero point and the vibrating of the chronograph hand triggered thereby, the minute counter cam is provided with a slot. The heart levers for the zeroing of the chronograph are equipped with a self-adjusting system, which eliminates mechanical processing of the minute heart lever and thus increases reliability.
Finally, the two heart levers are independently mounted on the same axis between rubies.Each heart lever is pressed with its own spring to the respective zero heart. This system guarantees precise alignment of the heart levers and improves their storage.

According to Rrrjewelry, the caliber CH 29-535 hp is embroidered in a 18-carat pink gold-plated pendulum case inspired by the Patek Philippe Art Deco ladies’s watches from the 1930s. Around the dial, 136 diamonds are arranged under the sapphire crystal in an extraordinary way. The dials are available with a guilloched flame decoration in opal silver and black finish. Their auxiliary dials for the small second and the 30 minute counter are slightly offset, slightly below the middle pointer axis. In addition, their asymmetrically designed rail scales have striking accents. To have is the ladies chronograph for 82,333 euros.

The dials are produced by the company Fluckiger, which was allowed to visit the WATCH MAGAZINE. Fluckiger SA, whose craft traditions date back to the year 1860, has been a company of Patek Philippe since 2004. 95% of the Patek Philippe dials are produced in this factory, including the Ladies First Chronograph.

The company has mastered numerous exceptional techniques in traditional dial manufacturing, but also innovative processes, such as those of a highly modern electroplating industry. In this way, Fluckiger continues the philosophy of the Geneva nobility in watchmaking. Much attention should be paid to the handling of paints, the application of varnishes and prints, the manual application of indexes – for Patek Philippe exclusively in gold – or guilloching, a craft in which Fluckiger has been re-trained for a year. All these techniques can be seen on the dials of the Ladies First Chronographs.

Exceptional Dials And Case

The company counts on 70 employees – well-trained specialists, but also trained, no designers. The designs come from the manufacturer, the technical advice given to Fluckiger.Months pass from the idea to the prototype and from the prototype to the serial product. As far as one can speak of the serial product, because many dials can be regarded as unique because of the high proportion of traditional handcraft steps.

Above the dials of the Ladies First Chronographs, the hour and minute hands of rose gold with luminous coating, the central Flèche chronograph hand, and the delicate sticks of the chronograph minute counter as well as the small second revolve. The overlapping, hand-applied Roman numerals Six and Twelve as well as six Stabindexe perfect the picture. On the back you can admire the new caliber CH 29-535 PS through the sapphire glass back.Ladies First – the ensemble of 269 individual parts – is only reserved for women for a short time. After the launch of the ladies’ watch in November 2009, the caliber CH 29-535 was presented in March 2010 in a men’s wristwatch. This was a long-awaited wish for many collectors and lovers finally a reality – a Patek Philippe chronograph with its own manufactory caliber.