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 rose-gold reference 5224 features a 42mm round case, something seen in the collection since 1932. However, a second glance at the dial and you’ll quickly notice that this is no ordinary Calatrava. Patek have indulged us for many years with variations of the Travel-Time complication, but this is the first time it has been seen in a Calatrava that has a 24-hour display and because of this, there is a new calibre too.
Patek Philippe is broadening this vast selection of Travel Time dual time zone watches with a new Calatrava model featuring an original display of local time and home time by two centre hands turning on a 24-hour circle. Patek have already used 24-hour displays in the past, most notably on the Chronometro Gondolo watches produced in the early twentieth century for the Brazilian retailer Gondolo & Labouriau. One of these, a pocket watch made in 1905, is now exhibited in the Patek Philippe Museum (No. P-527). For the new Reference 5224R-001, Patek have reinterpreted this type of indication in a more contemporary fashion. Choosing to place noon at 12 o’clock, rather than at 6 o’clock as is usually the case, for more ease of use throughout the day.
The 42mm rose-gold fully polished ref. 5224 was inspired by that of the Calatrava Weekly Calendar ref. 5212A-001 launched in 2019 and is distinguished by its curved two-tier lugs. Beneath the anti-reflective domed sapphire-crystal is perhaps one of the most eye-catching aspects of this new reference. It features a sunburst navy-blue dial, which is enhanced by a double railway-track scale for the hours and minutes. The 24-hour display, with its alternating Arabic numerals and hour markers and its cabochon 5-minute markers, represents a total of 44 rose-gold appliqués – polished together to obtain the same brilliance and applied individually by hand.
The Travel Time dual time zone is displayed by three syringe-shaped hands in rose gold, with a luminescent coating for the local hour hand and the minute hand and a pierced centre for the home hour hand. Refined finishing touches create beautiful plays of light on the dial: a circular striated centre, a circular satin-finished hour circle and a snailed small-seconds counter with a rose-gilt outline. Moreover, this ref. 5224R comes on a navy-blue calfskin strap with a nubuck finish and contrasting cream stitching echoes the colour of the dial. It is secured by a prong buckle in rose gold.
Technically speaking, the 5224 is a very modest looking from the dial side but turning it over affords a view of the new calibre. As a base, Patek Philippe’s engineers took the 31-260 ultra-thin self-winding base calibre and added a 24-hour mechanism and a Travel Time mechanism – a movement launched in 2011, in the Annual Calendar Regulator Reference 5235 (calibre 31-260 REG QA) and was entirely reworked in 2021 for the In-Line Perpetual Calendar Reference 5236P-001 (calibre 31-260 PS QL). In 2022, Patek Philippe reworked this movement again for the Annual Calendar Travel Time Reference 5326G-001 (calibre 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H) and developed several innovations, leading to eight patent applications. The new calibre 31-260 PS FUS 24H movement housed in Reference 5224R-001 benefits from three of those patents, aimed at optimising efficiency, rate accuracy, durability, safety and ease of use.
This new self-winding calibre 31-260 PS FUS 24H movement with mini-rotor in platinum makes it possible to provide a case whose elegant finesse (9.85 m high) is perfectly suited to a Calatrava model. To preserve the sleek lines, Patek Philippe also replaced the traditional correction pushers for local time on the left-hand flank of the case with a patented correction system using the crown pulled out to the intermediate position (backwards and forwards adjustment in one-hour steps). This device is modelled on the one used in 2022 in Reference 5326G-001.
This is a rather interesting timepiece from Patek for a good few reasons. The simplicity of the 5224R lends to the history of the Calatrava style watches, however, the usefulness of a travel-time and 24h function makes the 5224R a great travel companion. The style of the case and the layout of the dial, along with the use of luminescent makes this Calatrava a little – dare I say it – sportier. This new reference 5224R-001 is a nice fresh take on the classic Calatrava and is perhaps one of the more interesting pieces Patek have released this year, in my humble opinion.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 5224R-001 is only available in rose-gold and is priced at £46,190. For more information, visit patek.com.