As the year comes to a close over the next couple of weeks, we thought we’d take a look at some timepieces that kind of slipped by us. As you would’ve heard me say before, every year, during Baselworld, there are always one or two watches that enthusiasts, collectors and people like myself are captivated by – regardless of whether those reasons are good or bad. A few years back Patek Philippe introduced a Pilots watch but done with the usual Patek panache.
The Calatrava Pilot Time Travel is a very bold timepiece from Patek; with its brutish yet sophisticated looks, it is what I would call a definite conversation piece as it so unlike Patek. The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time has enriched the venerable Calatrava line.
The Travel Time function is none to unusual, we saw it utilised at Basel 2014 by Patek in the new Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph5990/1A, we have also seen it in the Aquanaut Travel Time 5164A. The new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time utilises the base movement self-winding calibreCH-324-SC atop the FUS – Travel Time mechanism. A rather ingenious movement, operated by the two screw-down pushers on the side of the case, when the local-time hour hand is moved forward or backward in one-hour increments, an isolator uncouples the time-zone mechanism from the going train. This prevents the degradation of the amplitude of the balance and allows it to continue oscillating at a regular rate. Also incorporated into this calibre is an analogue date function, as well as day/night indicators. Turning the ref. 5524 over the sapphire-crystal display back reveals beautiful details such as the chamfered bridges with Geneva striping, the circular-grained 21-carat gold rotor with perlage in the centre, snailed flanks, and of course the Calatrava cross. As with all their manufacture movements, Patek assure high dependability as well as the rate accuracy tolerance of -3/+2 seconds per day as specified by their mark of excellence, the Patek Philippe Seal.
The case on the Calatrava Pilot Time Travel measures an extremely wearable 42mm. The rose-gold Calatrava style case is flat and slightly inclined; the case band merges elegantly with the lugs that secure the strap bars. The crown and the two time-zone pushers at 8 (+1h)and 10 o’clock (-1h) are fluted for a slip-free grip and add a technical look that suits the design of a precise measuring instrument. Additionally, the time-zone pushers are equipped with a patent- pending safety lock that prevents unintended adjustments of the local time setting. Before they can be operated, the pushers must be released with a quarter turn and then locked again with a twist in the opposite direction. The case has been perfectly paired on vintage brown calfskin with contrasting topstitching and rose-gold clevis prong buckle.
The dial of the 5524 features a completely different look to the white-gold example. The dial features large applied Arabic numerals in rose-gold and broad baton-style hands with Superluminova coating. In the typical TravelTime style, which as mentioned we’ve seen in the 5990 and 5164, the home-time hour hand is skeletonized and remains discreetly in the background. It is hidden beneath the prominent local-time hour hand assuming local and home times are identical. At 9 o’clock and at 3 are separate day/night indicators that are assigned to both time zones and an analogue date at 6 o’clock, which displays the date in 3-day increments. Creating the backdrop for all of this is a chocolate sunburst fume dial, which graduates to a black hue.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Time Travel in rose-gold was definitely a piece at Baselworld this year that went under the radar. It perhaps wasn’t as well received back in 2015 but we’ve now come to expect the unexpected from Patek these days, hence the reason we perhaps glossed over it too.
ThePatek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524R is priced at £36,460. For more information visit the official Patek Philippe website.