21 April 2015
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Reference 5524 is the watch that got itself most talked about (for good or ill) at Baselworld, the watch and jewelry show in Basel. For it is an aviator’s piece, “classic” in its aesthetics but an anomaly in Patek Philippe’s current production. However, its detractors forget that the famous manufacturer, over the course of its long history, has produced electronic marine chronometers, supplied watches to American officers during the Second World War and also made models for pilots—two of which, from the 1930s, can be seen at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. These are what inspired the new Ref. 5524, in which the original function of the hour angle (used by aviators to plot their course and now superseded by satellite technology), has been replaced by a useful complication: a second time zone indicator, a specialty of the watch maker. In fact the self-winding movement, created in-house and well known to connoisseurs of Patek, has a skeletonized central hand showing the “local” time as well as a dual day/night function and a date dial at 6 o’clock. Easy to use, thanks to the two pushers on the left that adjust the local time hand by intervals of one hour, forwards or backwards, it is also extremely accurate: the average daily error is around -3/+2 seconds a day, as required by the standards of the Patek Philippe Seat that guarantees the quality of construction of the whole watch. With a case in white gold (42 mm diameter) and dial with a luminescent coating (clearly visible in all lighting conditions), the Pilot Travel Time has everything it takes to attract a new following.