With its new Ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, Patek Philippe pays tribute to the courageous pioneers of aeronautics, recalls milestones in aviation, and touches upon the fact that the eminent family-owned Genevan manufacture also contributed to the conquest of the skies.
Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is a decidedly masculine watch that aptly symbolizes the conquest of the skies by aircraft and the conquest of the wrist by wristwatches. Rather than being a nostalgic reminiscence of the hour-angle watch that became obsolete with the advent of GPS navigation, it is a precise and dependable timekeeping instrument with a time-zone function that is especially useful in air travel.
For nearly eighty years, Patek Philippe time-zone watches have adhered to this principle in a unique way. In the 1930s, together with gifted watchmaker Louis Cottier, the manufacture developed its first “Heure Universelle” (World Time) wristwatches. The first patent for the meanwhile legendary Travel Time mechanism was granted to Patek Philippe in 1959. It was extremely simple to operate and simultaneously displayed the time in two different time zones. It was a very welcome instrument in a world where nonstop travel between Europe and America in a matter of hours had become commonplace thanks to modern passenger jets.
In keeping with “Tradition and Innovation”, the philosophy of the manufacture which just turned 175, Patek Philippe refined the two-time-zone mechanism – it was awarded a further patent in 1996 – to a new level of perfection. When the local-time hour hand is moved forward or backward in one-hour increments with the two pushers in the case, an isolator uncouples the time-zone mechanism from the going train. This prevents the degradation of the amplitude of the balance and allows it to continue oscillating at a regular rate. The advantage: the watch continues to run with the accustomed accuracy.
In the new Ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, this advanced mechanism is part of the self-winding caliber 324 S C FUS manufacture movement with a sweep seconds hand, an analog date, and a heavy central rotor in 21K gold. Like the time-zone mechanism, this legendary movement is superbly finished and thanks to ongoing innovation reflects the state of the art in mechanical watchmaking. The Spiromax® spring that breathes in the Gyromax® balance is made of Silinvar®, a derivative of silicon.
The special properties of this material, combined with the geometry patented by Patek Philippe, assure high dependability as well as the rate accuracy tolerance of -3/+2 seconds per day as specified by the Patek Philippe Seal. The sapphire-crystal display back reveals beautiful details such as the chamfered bridges with Geneva striping, the circular-grained gold rotor with perlage in the center, snailed flanks, and a Calatrava cross. It features magnificent contrasts with bright shimmering metal, gold-filled engravings, and sparkling red bearing jewels.
The elaborate 294-part movement ticks beneath a dial that unlike conventional aviators’ watches is not black but instead stands out with a noble dark navy blue lacquer that resembles the body paint of American fighter planes in the 1930s. Thanks to large applied Arabic numerals in white gold and broad baton-style steel hands with Superluminova coatings, the local time is easily and clearly legible, both during the day and at night. In the typical Travel Time style, the home-time hour hand is skeletonized and remains discreetly in the background. It is hidden beneath the prominent local time hour hand as long as local and home time are identical. A separate day/night indicator is assigned to both time zones (at 9 o’clock for local time and at 3 o’clock for home time). The analog date at 6 o’clock is totally new: it displays the date in 3-day increments. Because the scale is not cluttered with numerals, it is eminently legible.
The sleek classic face of the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is framed by a large-format 42-millimeter white-gold Calatrava-style case. Its bezel is flat and slightly inclined; the caseband merges elegantly with the lugs that secure the strap bars. The crown and the two time-zone pushers at 8 (+1h) and 10 o’clock (-1h) are fluted for a slip-free grip and add a technical look that suits the design of a precise measuring instrument.
Additionally, the time-zone pushers are equipped with a patent pending safety lock that prevents unintended adjustments of the local time setting. Before they can be operated, the pushers must be released with a quarter turn and then locked again with a twist in the opposite direction. The strap that perfectly matches the style of the watch is also designed for safety. It is crafted from vintage brown calfskin with contrast topstitching and recalls the leather belts that belonged to a classic pilot’s gear. The white-gold clevis prong buckle follows the theme. It was inspired by the harnesses worn by pilots to keep their survival kits and parachutes readily deployable without hampering their freedom of movement.
Model: Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524
Caliber CH 324 S C FUS
Self-winding mechanical movement, two time zones (local time and home time), separate day/night indicators for local and home time, analog date
Diameter: 31 mm (basic movement 27 mm, calendar/time-zone module 31 mm)
Height: 4.9 mm (basic movement 3.32 mm, calendar/time-zone module 1.58 mm)
Number of parts: 294
Number of jewels: 29
Power reserve: Min. 35 hours, max. 45 hours
Winding rotor: Central rotor in 21K gold, unidirectional winding
Balance: Gyromax®; Frequency: 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 Hz)
Balance spring: Spiromax®
Balance spring stud: Fixed
– Pushed in: To wind the watch
– Pulled out: To set the time
Local-time hour hand (upper hand) and minute hand from the center
Home-time hour hand (lower hand)
Sweep seconds hand
Date hand at 6 o’clock
Day/night indicator for local time at 9 o’clock (LOCAL)
Day/night indicator for home time at 3 o’clock (HOME)
Correction push pieces:
Date between 6 and 7 o’clock
Local-time hand forward in one-hour steps at 8 o’clock
Local-time hand backward in one-hour steps at 10 o’clock
Patent-pending quarter-turn safety lock for the time-zone pushers
Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal
18K white gold, sapphire-crystal display back, water-resistant screw-down crown
Water-resistant to 30 meters
Case dimensions: Diameter: 42 mm
Length (lug to lug): 50.75 mm
Width (3 to 9 o’clock incl. crown): 48.53 mm
Height (crystal to lugs): 11.01 mm
Thickness (crystal to display back): 10.78 mm
Width between lugs: 21 mm
Blue lacquered brass
Applied Arabic numerals, 18K white gold with Superluminova coating
Hours and minutes local time, baton-style hands in blued steel with
Hours home time, skeletonized baton-style hand, steel, white lacquered
Seconds hand in steel with Superluminova coating
Date: Leaf-shaped hand, white lacquered
Vintage brown calfskin with contrast stitching, clevis prong buckle in 18K white gold