The Calatrava is recognised as the very essence of the round wristwatch and this line is rather symbolic of Patek Philippe. Elegant, sophisticated and above all, simple. This year, Patek introduced a new reference to the Calatrava line, and it of course embodies the attributes but this one feels a little more rugged and features vintage inspired qualities. This latest addition to the Calatrava family uses the design language seen on previous Calatrava’s but with somewhat of a twist.
This new white-gold reference 5226 features a 40mm round case, something seen in the collection since 1932. However, where this case differs to previous models is where Patek have chosen to place the iconic clous de Paris hobnail pattern – a feature usually found on the bezel. The hobnail pattern has been smartly placed on the case band, allowing for a clean smooth bezel. That said, to enable this guilloched decoration to continue around the entire case band, Patek have devised a new distinctive case construction in which the lugs are an integral part of the case back.
The 8.53mm sleek case has been hand-polished throughout and as mentioned, features an updated Calatrava construction. Beneath the anti-reflective domed sapphire-crystal is perhaps one of the most eye-catching aspects of this new reference. It features a textured dial, otherwise known as a “Tuscan” dial, which has been given a grey-to-black gradient treatment. The textured section of the dial features applied Roman numerals, which have been inlaid with faux patina and is surrounded by a black ring that sports the minute track with the same hue.
Moreover, this ref. 5226 features a date window at 3 o’clock which also sports the same faux patina hue as the minute track. Completing the contemporary vintage-style look of the watch are syringe hands, which have also been inlaid with faux patina and a sweeping seconds hand of the same colour. This ties in nicely with the beige calfskin strap that it comes with and the extra black calfskin with embossed fabric motif marries nicely with the dial.
Technically speaking, the 5226 is a very modest watch and is therefore driven by a rather simple automatic movement. This new model is driven by the self-winding calibre 26-330 S C, a rather recent time and date movement released in 2019, which famously replaced the calibre 324 S C inside the Nautilus 5711. The calibre 26-330 S C is endowed with a power reserve of 45-hours and includes a quick-set date function.
This is a rather interesting timepiece from Patek for a good few reasons. A few weeks ago, we looked at the 5326G – the annual calendar version of this watch but I think the vintage design language used for these watches is better interpreted by this reference. The simplicity of the 5226 lends to the history of the Calatrava style watches in a much better way but also the use of the design cues taken from Calatrava’s of the past can be seen in the simplicity of this new reference 5226G. The placement of the hobnail pattern on the case band as opposed to the bezel makes this Calatrava a little stealthier, and dare I say it, sportier. The textured dial, paired with applied Arabic numerals that feature some faux patina adds some character to the watch, as well as the syringe hands – a masterstroke in my humble opinion. This new reference 5226G is a nice fresh take on the classic Calatrava and is perhaps one of the most interesting pieces Patek have released this year and just perhaps one of the better introductory timepieces into the Patek brand.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 5226G-001 is only available in white-gold and is priced at £30,060. For more information, visit patek.com.