Last year, Patek Philippe released the hyper-cool stainless steel Nautilus 5990 Travel Time, and this year, they've continued the travel theme with a new pilot's watch. In a surprising move, Patek has played to the trends and reached into their history to inspire the new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524. With a classic and rugged design, handy jumping-hour dual time complication and a trick pusher design, this odd-ball Calatrava stands out in Patek's current line up.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is based on old Patek Philippe hour angle watches that helped pilots calculate their position when used in tandem with a sextant and a radio. The exact reference pieces, which are also known as siderometers, are on display at the Patek Philippe museum and were used to inform the design of this sporty new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time reference 5524.
Nowadays, siderometers are not especially crucial complications, so Patek opted to use their travel time functionality to add some flare to the rather common pilot watch aesthetic. The movement is Patek's CH 324 S C FUS, an automatic movement with 294 parts, 29 jewels, a maximum power reserve of 45 hours, and Patek's Gyromax balance. With support for dual timezones via a local jumping hour hand, day/night indication for both home and local time, and a sub dial for the date, this is a nicely featured and well thought-out design for a travel complication.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524's case is 42mm wide and offered exclusively in white gold. With a thickness of 11.78mm and a lug to lug slightly under 51mm, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time feels excellent on wrist, with a very masculine and sporty appeal (despite the gold case).
The dial is done in a very dark blue lacquer that appears somewhat grey in all but bright lighting. The hands are blued steel with ample lume and the arabic markers are also generously lumed for low light visibility. Additionally, the supplemental hour hand can be hidden beneath the main hour hand when the owner is not traveling.
To ensure 30m of water resistance and to protect the time display from accidental change, the pushers for the travel time feature a patent-pending locking pusher design that only requires a light quarter turn of the pusher cap to lock the pusher in place. In hand, this feature feels and works beautifully, and it's an elegant solution that is much more user friendly than a traditional screw-down pusher (especially given that the pushers are on the left side of the case).
Although the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time may seem like a strange watch for Patek Philippe to produce, I am far from a Patek purist, and I found it to be entirely charming in person. While it's far from an original design, the implementation is strong, the proportions are excellent and, if you want a sport watch in white gold, I'd certainly recommend seeing the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 in person before passing final judgement.
Priced at $47,600 USD mounted on the vintage style brown leather strap seen in the photos, the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is quite expensive, but what did you expect? Like the white gold GMT Master II announced last year, this is precious metal meets luxury wrapped up in a time-proven sporty pilot design. patek.ch
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