The turbulence generated by Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref.5524 seems to have abated and the model has landed as a stable member of the Calatrava family. In addition to a fresh iteration of the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time for men in warm rose gold, Patek unveiled its first self-winding Travel Time model for women just ahead of Baselworld in an unprecedented move for the brand via an Instagram campaign. There have been choice pickings in the complications arena for women at Patek Philippe in 2018 with the launch of the manual-winding ladies’ chronograph in a round case and this pilot’s watch for women. Equipped with a useful dual time function, Ref. 7234R is housed in refined 37.5mm rose gold case with a glossy chocolate-brown dial decorated with vintage touches. The tasteful combination of rose gold and brown is quintessential Patek making this an excellent choice for globetrotting women, while the sporty, slightly manly charisma of a pilot’s watch will appeal to all those Amelia Earharts out there with a taste for high-flying adventures.
From turbulence to calm skies
When the white gold Calatrava Pilot Travel Time with a blue dial was launched in 2015, many purists were in a state of shock. Why on earth was Patek flying in the face of its traditions with a sporty-looking pilot’s watch that could have been produced by just about any other less upmarket brand with a flair for vintage-style aviators? The answer, of course, was in the refined details we associate with Patek and, I think you will agree that the 2018 editions, with their warm, luxurious 18k rose gold cases and glossy brown dials exude Patek’s rarefied elegance to perfection and temper the colder, sportier nature of their predecessor.
Travelling in style
A dual time zone or GMT complication is one of the most useful functions for people on the move. Crossing multiple time zones and being able to consult your home time is not only reassuring but extremely easy to adjust on this model. The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time for women is housed in a 37.5mm rose gold case, a versatile case size that could also be an interesting unisex proposal. A curious fact: the 42mm men’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref.5524R is crafted in 5N rose gold and the 37.5mm women’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 7234R in 4N rose gold. With its higher copper content, the men’s 5N rose gold model is slightly redder than the women’s model…I wonder why?
The vintage mushroom-style screwed pushers on the left side of the case allow for the adjustment of the second time zone (local time) in an intuitive and simple way: the bottom pusher brings forward the time by one hour, the top pusher does the opposite and the luminous local hour hand moves counterclockwise. To avoid accidental adjustments, both pushers are protected with a patented safety lock and the local date can be set via a pusher in the case at 6:30 o’clock. Measuring a contained height of 10.78mm, the beautifully-finished case features a sapphire crystal case back and is water-resistant to 30m.
Flying back in time
The mood of this watch is unambiguously retro and the large Arabic numerals on the dial, the cathedral-style hands and the pronounced pushers on the left side of the case clearly reference aviator watches of the 1920s and 1930s. To enhance legibility – a vital characteristic of pilot’s watches – the applied rose gold numerals are hollowed out in the centre and treated with a white luminous coating as are the hands used to display local time. Home time is indicated by a skeletonised white hour hand, which hides behind the main hour hands if you are not using the GMT functions.
The brown sunburst dial, subtly graduated to black towards the edges of the dial, displays a fascinating sheen and looks fabulous with the contrasting rose gold touches. In addition to the second time zone, there are two round apertures on the dial at 9 and 3 o’clock with day/night indicators for local and home time –blue for night, white for day. Just like the men’s model, the date wheel at 6 o’clock features an orange number 1 for the first day of the month.
Calibre 324 S C FUS
Like the two men’s Travel Time Calatrava watches (Ref. 5524G and Ref. 5524R) and the Aquanaut Travel Time (Ref. 5164), this model is powered by Patek Philippe’s proprietary Calibre 324 S C FUS. An automatic movement with a 45-hour power reserve, this calibre was designed to make the adjustment of the second time zone a cinch. Measuring 31mm in diameter with a height of 4.9mm, the movement has 294 parts and is enhanced with Patek’s innovations like a Gyromax® free sprung balance wheel and a Spiromax® balance spring. The high level of manual finishes and precision – with a tolerance of no more than -3/+2 seconds per day – are corroborated by the Patek Philippe Seal.
In keeping with its vintage character, the timepiece comes with a brown calfskin strap and a rose gold clevis prong buckle. The prong or fastener is a three-piece fastener system often used in sailboat rigging. In this case, the clevis fastener was inspired by the harnesses that allowed pilots to keep their survival kits to hand and readily deployable.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 7234R retails for EUR 39,090. Please consult the brand’s official website for more information: www.patek.com.