It has been eight years since Patek Philippe launched a Pilot-style watch. It was the unexpected Travel Time 5524G, a watch that caused a lot of discussions, mainly due to its controversial appearance and a confusing attachment to the Calatrava family. The inaugural reference, the variants to follow, including the now-discontinued 7234, and the 2019 Calatrava Pilot Alarm Travel Time 5520P, with its four protruding pushers, continue to look slightly odd compared to the rest of the Calatrava watches. Still, the new aesthetic introduced by Patek Philippe in 2015, with a nod to a historical 1936 model called the “hour angle dial” (a unique watch with unique features and an hour hand making one trip around the dial in 24 hours), is here to stay. So you better get used to these not-so-Patek-ish – whatever this means – timepieces. The Pilot style series is expanding its reach with two recently added Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph models. We spent enough time with the new Reference 5924G to begin to accept it, and hope you will agree that these are cool sporty-ish watches, for the least.
With the new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph 5924G, what you see, is what you get. There are two dials, the sunburst blue-grey and the lacquered khaki green, with dial elements and straps supporting the base dial colour of each variant. The 5924G white gold case is 42mm wide and 13,05mm thick, with 30m water resistance, which is not a lot, meaning it is ok to withstand moisture from splashes, but then again, pilots, as a rule, avoid landing in the water while wearing gold watches. The size is not ideal by modern standards, but the Calatrava Pilot series appeal to more confident and capable wrists. The crown and the prominent chronograph push-pieces at 2 to start/stop and at 4 o’clock to reset/flyback add to the feeling of handling a large watch.
On the dial, we have four hands to read the local and home time (solid sword-shaped hands for the local hours and minutes, skeletonised is for the home hours) and date indication; there is a central seconds hand for the flyback chronograph, and the indicator with the 60-minute chrono counter at 6 o’clock. The day and night indications for the local and home time are appropriately marked, the gold applied numerals with luminescent coating are consistent with the rest of the series, with indices at 6 and 12 almost wholly “eaten” by superimposed subdials – and I feel very sorry for that poor 12.
You must be wondering how the local time (and date) are adjusted on this watch, as it has the travel time function found in the non-chronograph reference 5524, where there were pushers on the left side of the case to perform the easy setting. For the date, there is a corrector on the top side of the case, and the left pushers, so practical on the 5524, were replaced by slightly larger than usual correctors, perhaps to make use of them less stressful. But you’ll still need a pen or small tool to operate them. The Calatrava Pilot Alarm Travel Time 5520P had a pair of pushers on both sides of the case; maybe applying the same design to a lesser complicated watch was deemed ungraceful by Patek. Still, travel time adjustment inconvenience aside, the new reference with the flyback chronograph looks quite balanced and promising, eager to satisfy those looking to own a pilot’s watch, with two beneficial (to pilots) functions, but not ready to settle on anything but Patek Philippe.
This pair of Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph 5924G relies on a self-winding CH 28-520 C FUS calibre, with 370 components, first introduced by PP in 2014, powering up the Nautilus 5990 (40.5mm case, an undisputed beauty). The calibre is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback; the central gold rotor is engraved with the PP cross, and the movement is nicely decorated, worthy of the brand. The power reserve remains to be mentioned as 45 to 55 hours max., not great, but not at all a disappointment – an inconvenience maybe, but something tells me Patek owners have specially trained robots to keep the watches wound at all times.
As mentioned earlier, Patek Philippe introduced two new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph models, Ref. 5924G-001 has a blue-grey sunburst dial, worn on a grained navy blue calfskin strap, while Ref. 5924G-010 features a lacquered khaki green dial and is supplied with an olive green calfskin strap with a unique finish for a vintage look. The straps use a single-prong buckle to secure the watches on the wrist for an even greater “vintage” experience.
For closing remarks or final thoughts, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph is a high-end timepiece. A close encounter can easily change your perception from negative (if) to highly positive. Expect a large watch executed to the Patek standards, with a Patek price tag (currently EUR 75,100 with EU taxes or CHF 64,000 before taxes). Expect it to be different, and controversial but also full of charm and character. And be prepared when discussing its design, ergonomics, user-friendliness, and even quite small-size (31mm) movement fitted into a 42mm case. If none of the above turns you away, go for it (see if you can buy one). For more details, visit www.patek.com.