The Patek Philippe reference 5170 is a historic reference among the brands manually wound chronographs. Introduced in 2010, it replaced the widely loved reference 5070 and brought with it a much more svelte and wearable case along with, more importantly, the first ever in-house made manually wound chronograph movement from Patek Philippe.
This example—the 5170P— only had a two-year production run from 2017-2019 and is the last variation introduced for the model, ending the ten-year production span for the reference. It’s a beautiful take on the 5170 and a fitting design to complete the run of a monumental timepiece. But, while a standard 5170P is an excellent watch as is, this specific example elevates itself significantly with a simple line of text on the dial, “Tiffany & Co.”
If we expand our focus past the infamous Tiffany stamp, we’ll find an awe-inspiring dial. The combination of the deep gradient blue and the sunburst texture, along with the grooved subdials, makes for an endlessly fascinating finish reminiscent of deep ocean water with a little bit of sunlight poking through. Combine the dial finishing with the baton-shaped baguette-cut diamond hour markers, and you’ll find this watch is the lights constant dancing partner. The dial shade and diamond indices provide a continuously changing look depending on the environment. Diamonds on watches aren’t usually my thing, but the cut and implementation here keeps the overall look of the watch gender-neutral and doesn’t come off too loud.
Purposefully cutting through all this glimmer and shine is the use of white for the text on the subdials, tachymeter scale, seconds hand, chronograph minute hand, and in the lume of the minute and hour hands. Even with the varying shades on the dial, the white text and lume keep the watch very legible, and while this is a pretty formal watch, it’s also a chronograph, meaning legibility is key. Legibility is further helped by the caliber 29-535 PS having a quick jumping minute complication.
When running the chronograph, the minute hand in the 30 min sub-dial jumps instantly to the next minute once the chronograph’s second hand has completed a rotation. This makes the precise reading of the time elapsed a sinch. Its small details like this that help one understand how an in house movement can optimize the ownership experience.
The caliber 29-535 PS that beats inside the 5170P is Patek Philippe’s in-house column-wheel-chronograph movement, which replaced the modified Lémania movements found in the brand’s earlier chronographs. This move to an in-house chronograph movement was a big step for the brand, and the fact that they had not done it in the over a century they had been operating prior speaks to how difficult it was. Stamped with the Patek seal, the movement operates at 4Hz and has a 65-hour power reserve.
The caliber is fully visible through the display caseback and, as you would expect, is finished to exceptional standards. There is black polish aplenty and tons of depth. The architecture and visual interest is a big reason why manual winding chronographs are so beloved, and Patek Philippe makes some of the best and most beautiful.
Aside from the movement, the biggest differentiator of the 5170P is the case. It has amazing proportions measuring 39mm in diameter and 8.5mm thick. The overall design is classic and timeless with a simple round shape and thoughtful but not exaggerated character lines. Unlike other references in this line, this watch case is minimalist and Calatrava-like. In my opinion, this style is more elegant and subtle than the bold stepped 42mm 5070 that came before it and the even more bold 41mm 5172 that came after it. The fact that it’s in platinum is an excellent choice and helps with the watch’s versatility while keeping it special. Also, because it’s in platinum Patek puts a top wesselton diamond between the lugs at six o’clock, a discreet detail that I am on record as loving.
It’s hard to overstate how special of a watch this is. It’s an already scare reference, but with the addition of the Tiffany & Co. stamp on the dial, it becomes exceptionally rare. While the numbers are not disclosed, Tiffany & Co. may only stamp a handful of a particular model in a given year. While this is just speculation, I don’t think it’s crazy to assume there are less than ten 5170Ps with a Tiffany stamp in existence. This simple co-branding between these two luxury giants automatically takes any given watch reference and makes it one of the most desirable examples of said reference. For a watch like the 5170P, which is already an incredibly important model for the brand, it puts this example at the top of a very high horological mountain.