With the new Ref. 7234G-001 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, Patek Philippe rounds out its watch family that is inspired by the manufacture’s aviator’s watches from the 1930s. The very typical and highly recognizable design was launched five years ago and has already established itself as a modern classic. Today, the pilot-style livery comes to the fore in the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watches with two time zones (in white or rose gold and with two case sizes), as well as in the Alarm Travel Time – a grand complication with a 24-hour alarm. This is not counting several limited editions.
In 2015, Patek Philippe surprised aficionados by launching a watch with a highly unusual design as regards the prominent case as well as the dial with large white numerals and luminous hands that contrast crisply against the dark background. With its name and functional features, the timepiece recalled the first aviator’s watches. Patek Philippe also took inspiration from two aviator’s watches that had been crafted in the manufacture in 1936 and are now exhibited at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. They were exceptional siderometer (hour-angle) watches that allowed pilots to easily, precisely, and swiftly determine their current positions. The Ref. 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time was a remarkable homage to aviation pioneers and the grand epoch of aerial conquest to which the Genevan manufacture can take credit for many contributions.
Not content merely with a new edition, Patek Philippe paid tribute to its own heritage with a highly contemporary interpretation of the icon. Instead of black, the usual dial colour of aviator’s watches, a very special and elegant blue was chosen, offering an excellent contrast for optimized legibility. The siderometer architecture became obsolete with modern navigation aids, providing space for a function that is much more useful for modern-day travellers: the display of a second time-zone made possible by the exclusive Travel Time mechanism. This easily operable system was patented by Patek Philippe in 1959 and 1996. It is characterized by two-hour hands from the centre. The local-time hour hand can be adjusted via two pushers in one-hour steps. The date is synchronized with local time.
The emergence of this new face in the Patek Philippe collections was highly successful with men who appreciated a decidedly technical timepiece with a grand taille diameter of 42 mm. Furthermore, it featured all the facets of artisanship, precision, and timeless elegance of a typical Patek Philippe watch. It also marked the birth of a new family of timepieces with an eminently recognizable design. In 2018, Patek Philippe reinterpreted the original Calatrava Pilot Travel Time with a rose-gold version and a brown dial. In the same year, the manufacture launched the rose-gold model in the medium format (37.5 mm) that was destined for feminine wrists but also welcomed by men who prefer somewhat smaller watches. In 2019, the pilot style took centre stage again with the Ref. 5520 Alarm Travel Time grand complication.
It combines the display of two time zones with a 24-hour alarm mechanism. The family also includes the two limited editions that were presented on the occasion of the Patek Philippe exhibitions in New York in 2017 (Ref. 5522A) and Singapore in 2019 (Ref. 7234A).
With these introductions, pilot-style watches, in just a few years, have established themselves as essential models of Patek Philippe’s collections. They subtly embody the combination of tradition and innovation shared by all of the manufacture’s watches, presenting themselves as new classics of contemporary timepiece design just like, before them, the inscrutable Golden Ellipse as well as the iconic Nautilus and Aquanaut. This success will be underpinned by the launch of the new mid-sized Ref. 7234G-001 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time in white gold.