The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is easily the most polarizing timepiece Patek Philippe has released in the past decade. At 42 mm in diameter, it’s big by Patek standards. Not to mention it is a pilot watch, with two pushers mounted atypically on the left side of the case. Clearly a departure from a brand whose pieces are seen as classical and elegant.
We’ve heard a lot of outrage regarding the design of the timepiece, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the scoreboard (sales) will determine the success of failure or this product, not the opinion of elitist journalists and collectors.
Will it end up being a “one-and-done,” a model that never gets produced again? Hard to tell, but I doubt it. Patek Philippe is a brand that’s in high demand among serious collectors. And so, owning a piece that goes against the conventional design Patek Philippe is renowned for, will surely have a certain cachet. Not to mention, collectibility.
I have a strong feeling there are enough people who want to make a unique personal statement, and have the means to do so, that this will sell out very quickly. My only complaint is not the design, but that it comes in white gold, which makes it much more expensive ($47,600), and heavier than steel. Steel would have been ideal for this watch. Especially, if it is being marketed to attract a newer, younger consumer.
The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is already the antithetic Patek, if you will, and it may end up being the piece that hard core collectors scoff at when it becomes available for sale later this year. I cannot predict the future, only time will tell. What I can say now, though, is that consumers who do buy the reference 5524 can take solace in knowing they own a distinctive, dual time zone pilot watch, from Patek Philippe, regardless of whether the critics like it or not. Moreover, the fit, finish and quality are every bit a Patek Philippe, and in my opinion the aesthetics are an improvement over the historical models which inspired its design (pictured above).