Adding to its diverse line-up of travel watches, Patek Philippe has just taken the wraps off the Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time Ref. 5224R.
A bold design, the ref. 5224R is Patek Philippe’s most novel travel watch to date. It is notable for having a 24-hour display inspired by the Chronometro Gondolo pocket watches made for Brazilian retailer Gondolo & Labouriau in the early twentieth century.
The ref. 5224R is instantly striking thanks to the high contrast between the dial colour and rose gold case, busy dial design, and large, thin case.
Though it is in essence a three-hander with an extra second time zone hand, it is far more interesting, even intimidating due to the 44 applied indices that give the dial something of an instrument-like appearance.
The 24-hour display elevates the quirkiness of the design, which arguably strengthens the overall aesthetic. Admittedly, this comes at a cost of legibility – it is not the most intuitive watch to read. It takes a while to get used to, so reliability will be an issue if one is rotating between different watches in his or her collection.
More surprising is the case size, which at 42 mm is massive for Patek Philippe. It is also unusual given the traditional case design, although the large case emphasises the slimness of the case.
The large size is likely intentional to provide space for the applied numerals, and is perhaps rooted in the large size of the Gondolo pocket watches. Still, one wonders if a slightly smaller case would provide more universal appeal.
At CHF48,850, the ref. 5224R is expensive for a mechanically simple complication. It is justified in part by the high-end base movement, the same one that powers Patek Philippe’s flagship perpetual calendar ref. 5236P.
Wide but slim
At first glance, one is immediately drawn to the prominent gold applied numerals of the chapter ring – while the “12” hour digits are conventional, the rest of the hour numerals run clockwise up to “24” at 6 o’clock. Framing the hour numerals are an additional 12 applied baton indices between the hours, and round cabochons above every numeral resting on the minutes track.
Of course, being a 24-hour display means that the gear train for the hour hand is modified to run twice as slow, making a complete revolution once a day. Additionally, the ref. 5224R uses this to its advantage as a dual time zone display, by having a second skeletonized hour hand which can be adjusted both ways via the crown in one hour steps.
While the numerals are chunky and eye-catching, the rest of the dial is surprisingly nuanced. The centre of the dial has a fine concentric graining, or azurage, emphasizing the circular motif of the applied numerals, while the seconds sub dial at 6 o’clock has even finer azurage that is only visible upon close inspection.
The ref. 5224R is large even by modern standards – 42 mm diameter with a relatively slim 9.85 mm thickness – using the traditional stepped case design as first seen in the ref. 5212A. Notably, the case middle is rounded with a smooth transition into the stepped lugs, evoking the traditional case design of the vintage ref. 2512/1.
Powering the ref. 5224R is the cal. 31-260 PS FUH 24H, which is a variant of the micro-rotor movement first seen in the ref. 5236P perpetual calendar. A relatively large movement at 31.74 mm in diameter, it proportionally fills the large case size as seen through the clear case back.
Most notable for its finger bridges and micro rotor, the cal. 31-260 is widely spaced out but relatively thin, with sufficient torque to power calendar complications. Thus, it is surprising that the base variant found in the ref. 5224R is specified to have a surprisingly short power reserve of only 48 hours – likely a conservative value – considering the absence of calendar complications to be driven.
Three patents were filed by Patek for this movement, which may trickle down to future calibers. The first patent (CH 716383 B1) relates to the keyless works engagement mechanism for the two hour hands. The second patent (EP 3650953 B1) concerns the design of a linear jumper spring design to allow a firmer snap between the hours adjustment. Meanwhile, the third patent (EP 3822711 A1) relates to the second – a patent ensuring that the two hour wheels are designed to have similar inertia, to avoid unintended misalignment of the hands that may occur when adjusting the 24-hour time.
Key facts and price
Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Display Travel Time
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 9.85 mm
Material: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 31-260 PS FUH 24H
Functions: 24-hour display, minutes, seconds, second time zone
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Strap: Alligator with gold pin buckle
Availability: Now at Patek Philippe boutiques and retailers
Price: CHF48,850 or 76,400 Singapore dollars (excluding taxes)
For more, visit Patek.com.
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