A caseback view of the Rolex Yacht-Master Replica 5004, showcasing the Lemania-based CHR 27-70Q

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As to why Philippe Stern decided on the Lemania 2310 ébauche as the base of the chronograph movement that would occupy a place of primacy for 26 years of Rolex DateJust Replica ’s history, I think we need to look at his options in the context of the time. Philippe Stern is the man that I consider the most important figure in the return of Swiss high watchmaking following the Quartz Crisis. If Nicolas G. Hayek, the founder of Swatch Group, can be said to have kept the industry alive and given it a new relevance with the creation of the inexpensive Swiss mechanical watch named the Swatch, it was Stern who reconnected the world to the values of haut de gamme horology. And key to his strategy was to stage the rebirth of mechanical complications, which would culminate in the world’s most complicated watch (beating out the Patek Supercomplication made for Henry Graves in 1933), the caliber 89 to celebrate Patek’s 150th anniversary.Rolex Day Date Replica If this amazing panjandrum was to be the crescendo to his vision, then the reference 3970 would be his prelude and an important symbol of his belief in the renaissance of technical horology — a category of watchmaking that was created by his ancestors in 1941.

As such, it is highly conceivable that as he scoured the industry for an engine for his perpetual calendar chronograph, he quickly realized he was limited to what was available. The Quartz Crisis of the 1970s had all but decimated the Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry. Movements had been sold by the weight, while machines used to create them had been callously discarded to make way for new technology at the height of the panic. It is therefore very probable that even if he had wanted to use the Valjoux caliber 13, which formed the base of the caliber 13-130 that powered both the 1518 and 2499, it was not being made anymore. And so he zeroed in on the Lemania 2310, which had somehow survived the widespread culling and which he knew was both extremely reliable, as demonstrated by its association with NASA, and had the capacity to be transformed into a work of dazzling horological beauty. It must be said that, to my mind, the Patek caliber 27-70 is the single most beautiful classic chronograph movement of all time, and even when compared to similar movements from other brands, the finish and design of the components such as the chronograph bridge or the coupling lever are unrivaled in their majesty.

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Says Thierry Stern, “The Lemania-based movement was very much an important movement for Patek. It was inside several of our most iconic watches, such as the 3970 designed by my father or the reference 5970, which was the first project I oversaw from start to finish. It is a movement that has a very special place in my heart.”