Keeping up with the times

In the hands of the Stern family, Patek Philippe entered a new era in 1932 marked by the debut of the understated Calatrava named after the emblematic cross on the company’s trademark.

Calatrava Squelette Ref 5180/1R-001.

The minimalist style of Germany’s Bauhaus school of art and architecture inspired the design of the round watch, whose skeletonised and bejewelled reinventions as well as a men’s model were unveiled at Baselworld 2017 watch and jewellery show.

This year, Patek Philippe also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the ultra-thin self-winding Caliber 240, which originally powered the Golden Ellipse men’s wristwatch launched at Baselworld 1977.

From the 2017 collection, the Calatrava’s men watch, Ref 6006G, is driven by Caliber 240 PS C movement.

A rework of a 2005 model, the timepiece is larger in a 39mm white gold case. The design remains unchanged in the two-tone graphic, the uncluttered markings with plain Arabic numerals, as well as analogue date with a scale on the dial’s outer circumference. The silvery subsidiary seconds dial stands in its asymmetric position between 4 and 5 o’clock.

Against the ebony black dial, the circles now boast contrasting finissage — the black centre and date circle with a sunburst finish, the minute and hour circles with a guilloche pattern.

Other modifications include the white-lacquered baton-style hour and minute hands while the date hand is tipped with a red-lacquered arrow precisely pointing the date numeral.

The sapphire-crystal case back gives a view of the bridge side of the lavishly finished Caliber 240 PS C movement with polished chamfers, parallel Geneva striping, gold-filled engravings and the recessed 22k gold mini-rotor with an engraved Calatrava cross.

Haute Joaillerie Calatrava Ref 4899/900.

Introduced in 1977, the Caliber 240 measured merely 2.53mm in height. Due to its versatility and reliability, the movement has become one of the brand’s mainstays fitted in various models.

Marking its 40th anniversary, the beauty of the Caliber 240 SQU is shown in the dramatically-skeletonised Calatrava Squelette Ref 5180/1R-001. The plate is open-worked even above the barrel, exposing the coiled mainspring beneath the pierced contour of the Calatrava cross.

The Patek Philippe Genève brand signature is engraved on the remaining parts of the barrel frame around the Calatrava cross while the PP logo appears on the gold minirotor. Remaining structures are engraved with vivid arabesques and volutes.

The caliber is framed by a holder ring also skeletonised down to 12 spokes that serve as hour markers. The rose-gold case is reduced to a narrow frame to emphasise the self-winding movement.

Showcasing craftsmanship, the skeletonisation was executed to the maximum extent possible without compromising the movement’s performance. With a tolerance of -3 to +2 seconds per day, its rate accuracy is due to the Spiromax balance spring made of the hard yet extremely light and antimagnetic Silinvar.

The versatility of the Caliber 240 is further demonstrated in the Haute Joaillerie Calatrava Ref 4899/900, whose white gold case sets a stage for precious stone settings with several staggered rows composed of Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds alternating with brilliant-cut rose sapphires with varying colour intensities along the periphery.

Calatrava men’s watch Ref 6006G.

Like sand in an hourglass, gems of different sizes appear to be randomly set in the lower half of the naturally tinted mother-of-pearl dial — white diamonds at the top and sapphires with varying rose hues at the bottom.

The dial’s upper half is adorned with engraved feathers in varying shades of rose. Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands are also decorated with filigreed, handcrafted engravings.

More diamonds and rose sapphires further adorn the crown and the white gold clasp — all in all, the 702 precious stones sparkle in the high-jewellery timepiece.