Any great performer will begin strong and finish with crowd-pleasing encore.
Patek Philippe took this approach to Watches & Wonders, with its green dialed Nautilus opening the online exhibition and today, a couple of bangers in the form of an updated Calatrava collection and elegant Perpetual Calendar.
We can only hope Rolex also has something equally eye-catching planned as the digital curtain comes down on Watchesandwonders.com tomorrow.
Calatravas have always been the bedrock of Patek Philippe’s success, but as tastes have shifted into sportier luxury tool watches, the classical collection has begun to look a little dated. Thierry Stern, the company’s president, said as much today as he presented the 2021 update from a brand new television studio created at his new Geneva headquarters.
Not that a few out of date references derailed Patek Philippe during the pandemic. Sales were as strong as ever for the watches the company was able to produce in 2020, but a two month shut down of its manufacture meant fewer watches were made, probably taking annual production to under 50,000 units.
“If we take out those two months, we achieved our goals last year,” Mr Stern said.
2021 Calatrava watches, replacing the ref. 5119, aim to continue as Patek Philippe’s expression of beauty and timeless elegance.
There are two new references, both using a new caliber 30-255 PS manually wound movement with subsidiary seconds and 65 hour power reserve. At just 2.55mm thick, the movement allows the new Calatravas to be a little slimmer, a direction Mr Stern seems to favor across the portfolio.
The Calatrava $29,570 “Clous de Paris” Ref. 6119R-001 comes in a 39mm rose gold case while the Ref. 6119G-001 is in white gold for the same price.
Dials have been a big deal this year, and Patek Philippe has created a silvery grained look for the rose gold watch and a charcoal gray style with vertical satin finish for the white gold piece.
They are framed with a round bezel decorated with a guilloched double hobnail pattern.
Both have applied 18ct gold applied hour markers.
History of Patek Philippe Calatrava models, Ref. 96 and “Clous de Paris”
Launch of the first Calatrava, the famous Ref. 96 (the first Patek Philippe model with a Reference number) with the manually wound caliber 12-120 – a sleekly designed watch that became the archetype of the classic round wristwatch.
The Ref. 96D (D for decor) features the same manually wound caliber 12-120, the same dial with applied hour markers, and the same slightly curved strap lugs as the Ref. 96, but distinguishes itself with a bezel decorated with the guilloched “Clous de Paris” motif.
The Ref. 2526 is the first Patek Philippe wristwatch endowed with a self-winding movement, the caliber 12-600 AT.
The Ref. 3520D with a manually wound movement (caliber 177) combines a “Clous de Paris” bezel, an hours/minutes dial with Roman numerals, and a case with straight strap lugs.
The Ref. 3796 with a case and dial inspired by the Ref. 96 is powered by a self-winding caliber 215 PS movement with subsidiary seconds.
Launch of the famous Ref. 3919 “Clous de Paris” with a manually wound caliber 215 PS movement, subsidiary seconds, white dial with black lacquered Roman numerals and straight lugs. This model was produced for 20 years and became one of the most celebrated timepieces in the world of horology.
The Ref. 3992 with a “Clous de Paris” bezel and straight lugs is powered by a self-winding, ultra- thin caliber 240 movement.
The Ref. 5107 equipped with the self-winding caliber 315 S C movement features a dial with sweep seconds and an aperture date.
The Ref. 5115 “Clous de Paris” with the manually wound caliber 215 PS movement echoes the dipping curved strap lugs that recall the Refs. 96 and 96D.
The self-winding caliber 240 movement powers the Ref. 5120 “Clous de Paris” with hour and minute hands, Roman numerals, and straight lugs.
The Ref. 5196 combines a manually wound caliber 215 PS movement with subsidiary seconds as well as a case and dial inspired by the Ref. 96.
The Ref. 5119 with elongated slender Roman numerals is a reinterpretation of the Ref. 3919 in a slightly larger case (36 mm instead of 33.5 mm) and it retains the manually wound caliber 215 PS movement as well as the straight lugs.
Ref. 5236P-001 In-line Perpetual Calendar
Moving significantly up the scale of complexity is the 2021 Patek Philippe Ref. 5236P-001 In-line Perpetual Calendar, which has a new in-line display for the day, date, and month in an elongated aperture at 12 o’clock.
An interesting feature of the date is that it is made up of four disks, not three. The day of the month is split into two so that the date disks take less space on the movement without making the numerals on show any smaller.
This required a reconfiguring of the 31-260 PS QL movement that was originally launched in 2011 with the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator.
The automatic movement, with a platinum micro rotor, is rated with a maximum 48 hour power reserve and displays a full perpetual calendar, leap-year cycle, day/night indicator, moon phases and subsidiary seconds.
Its 41.3mm platinum case has a sapphire crystal case back that can be swapped for one in solid platinum.