As much as it is fun to have modern designs, vintage Calatrava brings something to the table that is irresistible. A collector of Patek Philippe should definitely consider having a vintage Calatrava in the box.
I never hunted this watch. It was put in front of me in Paris and I was just struck by its beauty. For a watch that was almost 50 years old, it had essentially never been worn. It came with its original Gay Freres white gold bracelet that was untouched. Dirty from sitting in a drawer for 50 years, but untouched. I checked with Patek Philippe and was informed that since new, the watch had never been back for service. It was not functioning when I saw it for the first time – no surprise.
I did some quick research as I had no idea how much to offer to buy it. Since 2003, just a handful of examples of 3541G have come to auction. Only one had the original white gold Gay Freres bracelet.
Self-winding. Water-resistant. Calibre 27-460 M, with nickel-finished lever movement. 37 jewels. Gyromax balance, free sprung regulator, 18K gold rotor, movement stamped twice with the Seal of Geneva, the silvered matte dial with applied baton indexes, subsidiary seconds, date aperture, the circular water-resistant-type case with stepped bezel, screw back, and downturned lugs, dial and movement signed. 36 mm.
For a 1960s Calatrava, this was an unusual watch for sure. At 36mm it was bigger than most Calatravas. The design of the case makes the watch wear much larger on the wrist than 36mm, but to me it seemed to have a very nice wrist approach. I tend to wear watches between 35mm and 42mm, depending on complications and case design. This was ideal for a Calatrava.
The very first image of the watch….shot at CDG with my friend Blomman. Minute and hour hands not synchronised. Watch not working and in need of some care. But case and dial awesome.
As it catches the light, that dial comes to life…
Few Patek dials have this finish….
The amount of grime and dirt that came out of the bracelet was stunning….
But once cleaned, it was like new…brand new
Gorgeous design features with the inset crown
As watches go, this is a very very hard one to hunt for. I have not seen any since I made this purchase. It would be a torture to hunt for this. The case is so pristine and free of issues that I do wonder if this watch had ever seen wrist time in the last 50 years.
Vintage Calatrava captures something that a modern watch cannot achieve. It has an aura about it. A unique history. Most definitely, it brings something to the table.