Next to date displays and chronographs, an additional time zone is arguably one of the most useful features that a watch can have. That said, there are many different ways of achieving the same core functionality, and depending on your lifestyle and how you plan on using your watch, each method comes with its own list of pros and cons. While the majority of offerings opt for a traditional four-handed GMT layout, Patek Philippe tends to favor the travel time approach, where there are two different hour hands operating on the same hours scale, rather than having one 12-hour hand paired with a 24-hour hand dedicated to the reference time. Historically, Patek Philippe has opted for two 12-hour hands with a day/night indicator to achieve this functionality; however, as part of its new releases launched this year at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, Patek Philippe has reimagined this classic format. Featuring a rose-gold case and a blue dial, the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 opts for a 24-hour format in order to eliminate the need for a day/night indicator, and it also features a redesigned movement that offers genuine travel time functionality without requiring any additional buttons or push-pieces on the side of the case.

Inspired by that of the Calatrava Weekly Calendar Reference 5212A-001 from 2019, the case of the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time reference 5224R-001 features curved stepped lugs, and it measures 42mm in diameter by 9.85mm-thick. However, once you factor in the way that the domed sapphire crystal sticks up above the edge of the bezel, the total thickness for the watch comes in at 10.2mm. A smooth polished bezel surrounds the front crystal, while the reverse side of the watch is completed by a sapphire display caseback. Aside from the signed winding crown at the 3 o’clock location, the case doesn’t have any additional pushers, crown guards, or buttons, which means that the new reference 5224R-001 offers a classic round profile, just like you expect from a traditional Patek Philippe Calatrava. Water resistance for the ref. 5224R-001 comes in at a fairly standard 30 meters to protect against incidental contact, while the lugs are fitted with a navy blue calfskin strap that features a nubuck finish, cream-colored contrasting stitching, and a matching pin buckle in 18k rose gold.

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While the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time 5224R-001 is hardly a thick watch, its dial accounts for the majority of its 42mm case size, meaning that it wears slightly larger than something like a dive watch that has similar on-paper dimensions. Even still, Jake was the one who took these photos during our meeting with Patek Philippe, and his wrist is only slightly larger than mine, so while the ref. 5224R-001 might initially seem a bit big compared to traditional Calatrava models, it still isn’t an oversized watch, and it ultimately looks perfectly appropriate on a fairly wide assortment of different wrists. In terms of its case shape and overall design, the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel ref. 5224R-001 is a fairly straightforward and traditional watch. However, the real noteworthy features of this particular model are its unique 24-hour dial and mechanical micro-rotor movement, and neither of them is quite like anything else that exists within Patek Philippe’s current catalog.

The dial fitted to the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 is navy blue in color and it features a subtle mixture of contrasting surface finishes. The center section receives circular striations, the ring containing the hour markers showcases a circular satin finish, and the small-seconds register at 6 o’clock is snailed and outlined in rose gold. The running seconds are represented by a small white hand within the register, while both time zones are displayed by a trio of centrally-mounted, syringe-shaped hands that are also crafted from 18k rose gold. However, rather than having the two hour hands indicate the time in a 12-hour format with a day/night indicator to help differentiate between AM and PM hours, the new reference 5224R-001 features a 24-hour dial, where both of the hour hands only make one full rotation each day.

Patek Philippe has used 24-hour displays in the past (most notably on its Gondolo pocket watches from the early 20th century), although the new Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 offers a slight update to the classic 24-hour dial layout. Rather than having noon appear at the 6 o’clock location like on most 24-hour dials, the scale has been inverted, so that noon resides at its usual place on the top of the display, and this has specifically been done to help increase legibility during the hours when people are most likely to be awake. The hour markers appear as applied 18k rose gold Arabic numerals that are filled with white luminous material, and while the hand for the secondary time zone is skeletonized, the other two are filled with luminous material for added visibility in the dark.

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Powering the Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 is the new Caliber 31-260 PS FUS 24H automatic movement, which represents an evolution of the brand’s classic travel time concept that has been refined and adapted to offer a 24-hour layout. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours, the 44-jewel Cal. 31-260 PS FUS 24H features Patek Philippe’s Spiromax hairspring made from Silinvar (silicon), along with a micro-rotor design with its oscillation weight crafted from solid platinum. The use of platinum for the rotor is due to the fact that it is heavier than gold and therefore increases the winding efficiency of the movement. Additionally, the Patek Philippe Cal. 31-260 PS FUS 24H also features a reduction wheel that uncouples the self-winding mechanism whenever the watch is being manually wound in order to reduce wear to the internal components.

While the movement itself is certainly impressive and beautifully finished, arguably the most interesting detail about this new caliber is that it offers the same core functionality as Patek Philippe’s other travel time movements, yet everything can now be adjusted directly through the winding crown. Rather than having a pair of buttons located on the 9 o’clock side of the case (like the Nautilus and Aquanaut Travel Time models), rotating the crown in the intermediate position on the Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 allows you to jump the local hour hand either forward or backward in one-hour increments. Although I personally enjoy the twin button method used for the Nautilus and Aquanaut Travel Time models, it’s undeniable that adding a set of buttons would have altered the profile of the ref. 5224R-001’s round and elegant case, and by having all access to the movement carried out by the winding crown, the new ref. 5224R-001 is able to offer identical functionality while still feeling like a true Calatrava.

Regardless of whether you frequently travel or just want to keep track of the time in a different location, having a secondary time zone display can be an incredibly practical feature, and the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 offers a novel approach to providing this core functionality, but with an entirely more elegant display. With an official retail price of $57,370 USD, the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001 is undeniably a fairly expensive timepiece. However, given the steep premiums that Nautilus and Aquanaut Travel Time models already command on the secondary market, it will be interesting to see if the new Calatrava 24-Hour Display edition will experience the same overwhelming demand as its Travel Time sports watch siblings. For more information, on the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time ref. 5224R-001, please visit the brand’s website.

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