Why I would consider buying the Patek Philippe Ref. 5212A?
One of this year’s Basel novelties was the Calatrava Ref. 5212A. To be honest, this watch has been lost amidst the ongoing Nautilus craze. The frenzy of buying and the escalation of prices for the Nautilus appears to have distracted many collectors. It is time to address that and pay some attention to this really rather special Calatrava – the Ref. 5212A. This is a watch to own.
There are several reasons why the Ref. 5212A is worth considering.
Nothing boring about this Calatrava
I think it is an uneducated view to state that the Calatrava is a boring watch. It is so often the case that when people do not understand something, it makes them negative against it. I love the simplicity and purity of the vintage Calatrava. Yet, there are those who do not appreciate it. Well, the Ref. 5212A is a Calatrava that is anything but simple or plain. This is actually a complicated watch.
This is a very complicated Calatrava, for sure.
The dial design of the Ref. 5212A has absolutely no precedent within Patek Philippe. Nothing in the history of the company is like the Ref. 5212A.
Historically, steel Calatravas were not popular. Why spend all that money on a Calatrava and have it in steel? Precious metal was the mode of the day for most of the vintage era. As a result, there are actually stunningly few steel Calatravas in Patek Philippe history. Owning a modern variant in steel adds to its desirability. It also makes the watch eminently wearable on a day-to-day basis.
Steel adds a lot to the appeal of this watch – it makes it wearable in any scenario
The weekly calendar is a totally new complication. As a result, Patek Philippe created an essentially new genre with this watch in terms of its complication. A brand new movement was required – the Caliber 26-330.
I have to say, I do like this a lot – front AND back
A weekly calendar is also very useful in many walks of life. Certainly, from a business perspective, weekly calendar is a useful addition. I also like the fact that it is totally new.
Patek Philippe wanted to give this watch a somewhat vintage feel. To do so, the letters and numerals on the dial were produced with just this watch in mind. Each character has been handwritten to give it that certain vintage feel. No other watch in Patek Philippe history has had this process applied.
The more one looks at this watch, the more there is to discover
40mm in diameter. 10.8mm in height. This is a very approachable watch to wear. The height is a touch less than the Nautilus 5726 and works very well under a shirt. In fact, the sizing of it is almost a perfect sweetspot for me.
This is a watch that needs to be appreciated. It is, for me, the antithesis of the classic Calatrava. With a silvery opaline dial, it has no less than 5 different hands, each defining a different purpose. The hour and minute hands, in Dauphine blackened white gold, providing a stark contrast to the opaline dial. I particularly like the hammer-shaped hand with red hammer head in the middle of the dial, highlighting the day of the week. Likewise, the same style hand but elongated to indicate the week number and month on two concentric scales. It is a watch that would have me staring at the dial a lot. Oh yes….take a look at those stepped lugs!!!
A small detail, maybe, but a big effect on how the watch looks
This watch is a thoroughly modern rendition of a Patek Philippe classic, but several hints of vintage have been applied. It has, to coin my old expression, borrowed from the past without stealing from it. The case design is another expression of this feature. The watch is inspired by the Reference 2512, which was made in 1955. The 2512 is a one-of-a-kind marvel that is housed in the Patek Philippe Museum. It is also the 2512 that inspired the design of the Reference 5070. The modern 5212 has the same numerals as a nod to its past. Like all great racehorses, this one has a superstar in its bloodline.