Patek Philippe’s new steel Calatrava watch
It shows the undeniable strength of Patek Philippe that in these difficult economic times, with a large proportion of the luxury watch world suffering from the pandemic lockdown that has cloistered most of the planet, they offer both a new manufacture and a new limited-edition watch.
The new production facility – given the catchy title “PP6”, lies just outside of Geneva in Plan-les-Ouates. As you might expect, it is a state-of-the-art building that will ensure an increasing capacity for the Maison to try to satisfy the insatiable demand of the market for their watches, be that from collectors, s of the brand or those inspired by Patek’s horological pedigree for their first serious watch purchase. In short, their new facility shows how bullish Patek Philippe are about the future.
In keeping with the Ave Phoenix legend, out of the COVID-19 ashes, they have created a new version of the watch that took the Stern family, for the first time in the history of the brand, to create a timepiece honouring the symbol of the Order of Calatrava, adopted by the brand in the early 20thcentury. The eponymously named watch became the backbone of the brands sales ever since.
The new 2020 iteration of the classic -a limited edition of 1,000- is cased in stainless steel and is a “time-only” watch. Even if writing this just 24h after the official press announcement, I bet all of them are already pre-sold to Patek lovers all around the globe. Similar examples of the Calatrava would be the ref. 5565A from 2006 to commemorate the re-opening of the Patek Philippe boutique in Geneva in a limited series of 300; and the ref. 5522A, of which only 600 were made, released with the opening of the Patek Philippe exhibition in New York in 2017. In both of them, it is notable that steel was used for the case, a defined production number and the escalation of the second market price – the watches traded for double the retail price within weeks of them becoming available... and they are still highly sought–after by collectors.
The new Patek Philippe ref. 6007A Calatrava adopts the same basis for content. A 40mm case is made of polished steel and contains the workhorse 324 S C automatic movement. The choice of case material stems from Patek Philippe’s past paradoxical choices that the rarer (and hence more valuable) watches would be produced in steel rather than in precious metals. The design has been given a makeover. As it seems to be the choice de rigueur in the watch market these days, the dial is blue with a “railway track” scale for the hour circle with triangular markers, pierced baton hands for the hours and minutes, an aperture date at three o’clock, and applied Arabic numerals. In a sense, the grey-blue sheen to the dial surface and the carbon-style texture in the centre is reminiscent of the Patek Philippe ref. 5208, made for OnlyWatch in 2017.
The ref. 6007A comes with a prong buckle and a calfskin strap in the same colour as the dial, with white decorative seams and an embossed pattern that makes it look like a textile. The sapphire-crystal caseback is specially marked with a Calatrava cross and the “New Manufacture 2019” inscription. Given the paucity of new watch releases this year and the fact that this is a very modern and (purposely) rare Patek Philippe within the price bracket of many collectors and connoisseurs, it is sure to leave behind a long trail of purchasing disappointment. I’d expect second market prices to escalate swiftly.