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The Patek Philippe 5970 stands not only as one of the brand’s most iconic pieces, but also one of the most iconic pieces in modern watchmaking history. The 5970’s humble beginning goes back to the 1930s. Despite Patek Philippe’s already well-established name, the company, like most else, was certainly not immune to the grave effects of the Great Depression. Saving the brand from its demise was none other than the Stern family, and in particular, Philippe Stern. Philippe Stern served as a long-time anchor for Patek Philippe but with time, as go the inner workings of any family business, Stern saw it time to hand over the reins. So in 2009, Thierry Stern, Philippe’s son, was inducted into the company’s leadership with one of his first major tasks on board being the launch of the 5970. Understanding that the handover meant the end of one era and the beginning of another, young Stern sought to bridge the gap between his father’s generation and his own, creating a timepiece that would catch the eyes and hearts of collectors both old and new.
The 5970 was the largest perpetual calendar chronograph ever produced by Patek Philippe at that point in time, much larger than the previous much-loved Ref 3970, which measured 36mm in diameter. Thierry Stern said at the time that this increase in size was for the purposes of legibility, and this is clearly true, although this does coincide with a general trend towards larger watches at the time amongst all brands. Despite the increase in size, both watches were powered by the base chronograph caliber made by Lemania, the 2310, though heavily modified in the Patek Philippe factory. To ensure that the subsidiary dials did not look "marooned" in the middle of this larger dial, a tachymeter was added beyond the railroad seconds track, not only to fill up the dial but also as a callback to the first and second series 2499 dials. Equally, the square pushers were also brought back in a clear nod to the reference lauded predecessors, the 1518 and first series 2499, and it is often said that the watch is a perfect combination of vintage and modern design elements.
The watch is in overall good condition with light wear throughout commensurate with age. Case is in overall good condition with minor surface wear. Strap has signs of surface wear throughout commensurate with age. Dial is in overall good condition. The movement is running at the time of cataloging, however, it was not tested for the accuracy of time or duration of the power reserve and may need service at the buyer's discretion. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement.