What exactly does a Patek Philippe Calatrava bring to the table?
Patek Philippe are renowned for many things. Their reputation in the first part of the 20th century saw them lead the way when it came to the manufacture of highly complicated watches. Perpetual calendars. Self-winding perpetual calendars. Perpetual calendars with chronographs. There is a long list of patents. There is a similarly long list of achievements where Patek Philippe led the industry and established their reputation as the masters of highly complicated watches. The Calatrava has been ever-present, but always in the background.
Ref. 3541G – cool simplicity
Yet, as much as Patek Philippe is famous for its complications, it is also famous for watches with an understated classiness to them. This “feel” is embodied in its Calatrava range. And for me, there is no better place to represent this than in vintage-world Calatrava. Vintage Calatrava watches fascinate me. The reason why is simple – they offer a completely different experience to a more compicated watch. Put simply, I find a calm peacefulness and joy from wearing a vintage Calatrava. There is no try-hard about the watch at all. No need to put colourful straps on it. The Calatrava is all about understatement.
The purity and simplicity of a vintage Calatrava creates a feeling that has to be experienced to understand. It also has to be experienced to appreciate.
Ref. 3417A – for me this is the top of the tree
When I wear something like a Ref. 2509J or a 3483A or even a 570G, it creates an enjoyment that is hard to beat. Yes, a grand complication will always be exciting. Yes, a complicated watch will always be fascinating to look at. But to believe that it is the only way to get enjoyment from a watch is somewhat unidimensional. I know some watch collectors who insist on wearing only complicated watches. Often, that is more about showing others what they have. A Calatrava is the exact opposite. It shows that you don’t need to show others what you have. Now that is something to feel good about.
Ref. 570G – hard to capture the joy of wearing one of these
Although prices of some of the more desirable and rarer Calatravas have already moved sharpy, there remains a goldmine of beautiful watches that are still at a reasonable price.
But steel manual wind would be my choice…..