Launched in 2002, the Celestial (Ref. 5102) is one of the most important horological complications ever developed. Its introduction allowed the remarkable rendition of the Northern Hemisphere's celestial chart to be fitted dynamically upon the wrist for the first time.
The celestial chart rotates counter clockwise, showing the progression of stars relative to the meridian passage of Sirius. Simultaneously, the meridian passage and phases of the moon can be seen. 25 trillion (25,000,000,000,000) ratio combinations were researched by Patek Philippe to determine the greatest accuracy for all the Ref. 5102's displays. This gives some sense of the tremendous challenges that the production of this highly complicated model posed to the company's watchmakers.
Using a highly sophisticated automatic calibre 240 LU CL, the movement uses 301 individual parts that are meticulously hand finished in the workshops of Patek Philippe. Three corundum sapphire crystal discs are used to simulate the orbit of the moon and the passage of the stars, creating an incredible sense of depth. For this important invention, Patek Philippe was awarded a Swiss Patent for the base calibre (CH 688 171 B5).
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