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Patek 5101 PPatek Philippe's 5101 P features a movement that, after being fully wound, will run for 10 days without rewinding. The "power reserve" dial at 12 o'clock indicates the amount of power stored in coiled springs that drive the movement. This watch also features a tourbillon--a device that rotates the balance, lever and escapement around a single axis. Originally intended for use in pocket watches, the tourbillon is designed to average out irregularities in the timing of the balance wheel due to gravity. Because even with current technology it is relatively difficult to create, a tourbillon can increase the cost of a watch dramatically. Although the market for such watches is relatively tiny, demand is strong enough so that stores carrying them typically don't sell them for less than their full retain price, which in this case tops $170,000. "We got only one, so we're waiting for another," says Alexandre Alesandrini, watch specialist at Shreve & Co. in San Francisco.
The most recent issue of WatchTime, a quarterly magazine for watch buffs, cites statistics from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry that show exports of complete watches in 2005 hit $9.68 billion, a 12 percent increase over the year before.