The new Patek Philippe Calatrava Officier Ref. 5153J automatic wristwatch was officially introduced last month during the annual Baselworld 2009 international trade show. Presented in an yellow gold case, the watch features the usual sober dial layout and is also equipped with an elegant hunter back cover. Previously, a mandatory feature of a trench watch, the engraved cover makes this new timekeeper a nice (although quite expensive) present for a West Point graduate.
Patek Philippe sits on top of the modern Swiss watch industry food pyramid producing a whole range of timekeepers ranging from quite simple dressy two-handers to ridiculously expensive Grand Complication timekeepers for collectors and especially wealthy enthusiasts. Yet, their deliberately simplistic entry-level Calatrava collection still remains their most popular cash cow, that is equally loved by old-school dictators and young aspiring bankers alike.
Models belonging to this line usually sport a set of three hands and a simple 31-day calendar: a combination that gives the collection its signature uncluttered and highly legible dial layout.
In this sense, the recently introduced Patek Philippe Calatrava Officier Ref. 5153J watch is by far the best member of the family.
Frankly speaking, I have a set of demands for a “classic” watch to really like it.
The first demand is that it must be thin, not thicker than 8 millimeters when measured from caseback to its crystal top.
The second, its case must be completely free of different sorts of engravings and machine-turnings.
The third, it must sport dauphine hour and minute hands.
The fourth, it must have applied arrow-shaped hour markers (although I could live with Roman numerals, too.)
The fifth and final, it must have at least a rudimentary 31-day calendar.
As you can see, the Ref. 5153J is an ideal watch for yours truly, if we for a second forget about its outrageous price of about $30,000.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Officier Ref. 5153J sports an elegant 18k yellow gold case that houses PP’s own Caliber 324 SC automatic movement with a 21 karat golden rotor bearing the brand’s trademark Calatrava cross.
The exquisitely decorated movement, which is employed in about a dozen of Patek Phippe’s watches, is open to your eyes via a transparent caseback, which is protected from accidental scratches with a hinged back cover.
Although I would have preferred its turban-style winding crown to be replaced with something not so antique-looking, the 5153J still manages to take the pole position in my Top 10 Dress Watches list that I’m currently working on.
Photos: Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Calatrava Officier Ref. 5153J self-winding watch specification
Price range: $30,000 (MSRP)
Movement: In-house Caliber 324 SC, automatic, 28,800 vph, 29 jewels, 6 bridges, Gyromax balance, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case material: 18-carat yellow gold
Case dimensions: 38.00 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Silvered opaline with hand-guilloche center
Hands: Yellow gold, dauphine, polished
Hour markers: Applied, yellow gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Matt chocolate brown large square-scaled alligator strap
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated