Patek Philip‘s classic Calatrava line has just been updated for this year. Featuring a tried and true automatic movement and a body of classic proportions, the new self-winding Patek Philippe Calatrava (Ref. 5227) looks emphatically modest, even in its precious 18-karat rose gold body.
As usual (at least, when it comes to the inconspicuous Calatrava family), Patek Philip doesn’t even try to stun us with some high-tech complication, an unusual combination of precious materials or an extremely hard to accomplish decoration technique.
Instead, the Swiss brand offers an explicitly simple watch with a plain, cream-toned dial, a set of three hands, and a small date window. However, thanks to its enormous experience in watchmaking business, the company somehow manages to combine the features in such a way that makes highly complicated tourbillons and diamonds-clad perpetual calendars from less established brands look like parvenus not worthy of a second glance.
According to the brand’s press release, the watch is powered by the same Caliber 324 SC automatic movement that also animated their Patek Philippe Calatrava Officier (Ref. 5153J) that was released four years ago and is still on sale (at least, in a number of online stores).
Simple as truth, this in-house movement is brilliantly decorated and is equipped with a heavy 21-karat gold unidirectional oscillating weight. Accurate and reliable, the caliber still has a minor flaw that can drive insane a real perfectionist. You see, the calendar wheel may in some cases get slightly misaligned with the date aperture with a tiny portion of numerals hidden from view by its upper frame. While most people will probably not give a damn about the problem, for some it may become a real annoyance. So, beware of faulty calibers.
The other problem of this watch is, of course, its price. Available only in 18-karat white, yellow or rose gold, the watch will most likely retail for around $35,000, which is just prohibitively expensive for 90 percent of the population capable of appreciating the real beauty of it. Considering that there is still a simple and dressy Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control (Ref. Q1548420) that costs around $7000 and is available in a stainless steel body of the same 39 millimeters in diameter, it is a shame that Patek Philippe doesn’t want to “dilute the brand” and make a more affordable version.
The timepiece was presented two weeks ago at Baselworld 2013 show.
See also: Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Flameante
Photos: Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Calatrava (Ref. 5227) specification
Price: $37,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, PP Caliber 324 SC, in-house, 213 parts, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 29
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: Approx. 45 hours
Movement decoration: 21-karat gold unidirectional rotor, Geneva strips on bridges
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: 18-karat Rose / Yellow / White Gold
Crown material: Stainless steel
Size: 39.00 mm
Dial: Cream, lacquered, brass base
Hour markers: Gold, applied
Hands: 18-karat gold hands, polished and faceted
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn alligator leather strap in different colors with buckle matching material of the body
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Bought my first mechanical watch in 1986 and it took me ten more years to realize that I have a problem: at some point in time watches became my passion. Well, it could be worse.