How do collectors feel about what is arguably the world’s most conservative watch brand releasing a new 42mm-wide sport watch out of seemingly nowhere that costs almost $50,000? For 2015, Swiss Patek Philippe released the new reference 5524 (5524G or 5524G-001) Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watch that has decidedly split fans of the brand, even though at its core, this is a splendid timepiece. Baselworld is a watch and jewelry trade show that takes rolex replica watches place each year in Basel, Switzerland and is where many major luxury watch makers release new products. With brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, news of their “novelties” is kept in strict secrecy until the first day of the show when the doors of Baselworld open to the press.
The last few years has seen even major brands at Baselworld release fewer products, thanks to economic uncertainties around the world and overall desire to consolidate collections. The watch industry is known for its steady conservatism and frequent tendency to prefer “no risk” decisions when it comes to business swiss replica watches practices and new products. Patek Philippe is a staunchly “old world” brand with a fine pedigree and loyal collector base. Patek Philippe practically epitomizes non-controversial design with its highly refined timepieces which it bills as investments watches. For 2015, however, the brand has broken its own mold by offering a product even many Patek Philippe aficionados believe should have been the product of another brand. While the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 is an expensive timepiece, I’d recommend that people look past what they expect from Patek Philippe and enjoy the many impressive merits of this nearly curated traditional-looking pilot watch.
The worst thing you could say about the Patek Philippe 5524 is that it doesn’t entirely fit within the brand’s modern character of mostly producing traditional dress watches and some sport watches based on their legacy models (such as the popular Nautilus). The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524, in a way, is sort of a “me too” watch in the sense that it does feel as though Patek Philippe is venturing into territory helped by others – namely the production of vintage-inspired cheap Breitling replica pilot watches. Patek Philippe doesn’t even really claim to have any serious history with pilot watches outside the production of a few aviation instruments. With that said, why can’t Patek Philippe simply do what it wants? Sporty pilot watches are popular and beloved by watch fans, so isn’t there going to be a market for pilot watches produced by a highly respected watch brand like Patek Philippe?
Design and business conservatism in the watch industry is truly a double-edged sword offering value and safety as often as it holds companies back and prevents much needed reforms and modernization. When it comes to design, brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex have been criticized by collectors for rarely doing anything new – and when they actually do something new, they are often criticized again. Is that fair? I don’t really think so. The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 is by no means a “risky design” or something watch lovers haven’t seen before. What Patek Philippe did is utilize its popular automatic mechanical travel time movement and place it into a high legible pilot-style case. It is a concept that has been done before, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for Patek Philippe to do it as well.
As a fan of highly legible sportier watches, putting on the uncommonly-sized (for Patek Philippe) 42mm-wide Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time was a pleasure. The case is offered exclusively in 18k white gold (this year) and has a deep blue dial that looks black in most light. Other than some hublot replica of the brand’s nautically-themed sport watches, it is really uncommon to see something with so much luminant. The applied hour markers are otherwise in 18k white gold, and the hands are in blued-steel that does indeed contrast well with the dial. While the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 might now be the watch many Patek Philippe collectors think they want, the brand didn’t get to where it is today by merely trying to satisfy their existing customer base.
Of course, there is the price of the watch which, as I mentioned, hovers near $50,000. Part of that is because the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 comes in a precious metal case, and part of that comes from the fact that it uses a relatively complicated movement. The movement is the in-house made Patek Philippe Caliber 324 S C FUS automatic with a hand for an addition time zone, separate AM/PM indicators for the local and home time, as well as a date indicator dial. Operating at 4Hz with about 45 hours of power reserve, the movement uses a lot of Patek Philippe’s modern technology designed to improve the accuracy of the movement as well as a gold automatic rotor which is visible through the rear of the case. I suppose the least sporty element of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 is the scant 30 meters of water resistance, which means it will put up with most anything you do outside of water – not sure about really heavy rain…
One of the new features on the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 is the placement of locking screw-down pushers on the left side of the case. These are used to advance or retract the second time zone hand making it easier to operate while moving from time zone to time zone. Of course this isn’t a new feature, but seeing anything on a Patek Philippe for the first time is impressive.
Putting this new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 watch on my wrist impressed upon me how nice Patek Philippe can best replica watches render a sport watch – when they want to. Patek Philippe’s reputation is partially due to their relatively impressive attention to detail. The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 is a cool watch and one that offers a really enjoyable wearing experience. I sympathize with some fans of Patek Philippe for not taking an enormous amount of interest in the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, but if they get over where the design came from and seemingly why Patek Philippe produced it, I think they will enjoy the type of watch I wish Patek Philippe produced more of. Price for the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is $47,600.