Best of the Best 2011: Men’s Watches: Patek Philippe 5170 Chronograph

With the Patek Philippe 5170 Chro­nograph (212.218.1240, www.patek.com),the company has significantly upgraded the lateral-clutch chronograph, a design that has been valued for its beauty and history, though not its performance, which modern configurations have surpassed. About 3 mm smaller than its predecessor—the well-collected 5070—and displaying many design elements from the 1940s and ’50s, the $75,300 manual-wind watch looks like a throwback. But thanks to Patek Philippe’s research into the intricacies of gear-tooth profiles and counter-cam and reset-hammer configurations, the watch’s chronograph hands behave well enough to satisfy all but the most persnickety quibblers. Best of all, the movement maintains the fantastic architecture that is a most desirable sight for watch enthusiasts.

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