The Patek Philippe 5101P 10 Day Tourbillon ranks among the greatest luxury watches of the 21st century. With a platinum case, salmon dial, Breguet Arabic numerals, and a 240-hour tourbillon movement, this vintage inspired haute horlogerie watch is revered among watch collectors. In this feature, Tim Mosso takes an in-depth look at the Patek Philippe 5101 with gorgeous image detail, history, market prices, and a comprehensive review.
In 1936, Patek Philippe launched the reference 514. This long, lean, and chiseled design was defined by its flanking "gadroons" or metal tiers. It was the epitome of art deco watch design and an enduring statement of high style.
The 2003 Patek Philippe 5101 revisited the design of the 514 while adding modern refinement. Its 29.6mm wide platinum case measures a sweeping 51.7mm from lug-to-lug. Patek's salmon dial with blackened white gold Breguet numerals stuns while hinting at the tourbillon regulator within. As was the case with all Patek tourbillon watches prior to the 5303R of 2020, the tourbillon regulator of the 5101P is hidden on the caseback. The GPHG jury responded by naming the 5101P the "Aiguille d'Or" -- effectively, the "best watch" of the year at the Oscars of watchmaking.
Mechanically, the Patek Philippe 5101P is remarkable. Its shaped and sized caliber T 28-28 REC PS IRM is a manual wind shaped movement properly sized for the rectangular baguette case. Twin mainspring barrels in series provide ten days of power reserve in between windings. The power reserve indicator on the dial depicts the current autonomy left in the twin mainsprings.
Prior to mid-2009, the ten day tourbillon was certified with the COSC as a Swiss chronometer, and an extensive COSC test timing card accompanies the 5101P's elaborated boxed set. The tourbillion is classical in design and exacting in its watchmaking; the free-sprung Gyromax balance and Breguet overcoil hairspring ensure regular timekeeping. Patek Philippe watchmakers take the pursuit of accuracy further with five-position adjustment and variable temperature testing of the movement.
While not the most expensive Patek Philippe watch, the 5101P has held firm as a used watch. This vintage watch has a typical preowned retail price between $160,000 and $170,000 with a complete set of boxes and papers. It is estimated by watch collectors that 300-500 examples of the 5101P were produced during its period of availability. The original Patek Philippe 5101P was produced from 2003 to 2009 at which point it was replaced by the rose gold 5101R. A white gold 5101G arrived in 2011, and the 2012 5101J in yellow gold concluded the series.