For those who aren’t closely familiar with the world of watches, Rolex represents the king of the hill. But those in the know, know that Patek Philippe rules the horological roost. Described by Jean-Claude Biver, the CEO of Hublot, as “above everything”, Patek have been producing the most beautiful and desirable timepieces since the brand’s inception in 1852.
However, for some, this all came into question just a day before BaselWorld 2015, when Patek released the somewhat contradictory Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524.
Featuring twin crowns for the second time zone, a coloured reference marker – labeled to differentiate home and local time, and most strikingly; luminous, modern-style Arabic hour markers. It is a style at odds with everything we knew and loved about Patek.
It seems that most are taking issue exclusively with the hour markers, and their almost Zenith-like style. The days of sleek, classic line hour markers may have met a temporary end in the halls of Patek.
Despite this, the 5524 has met its fair share of praise as well. It seems Patek, unlike some other brands, are willing to sacrifice a portion of their fastidious fan base to make sure they keep in touch with younger consumers. Although, for some (myself included), it might be an abrasive concept that Patek will change their design to suit this style, it is unlikely to say the least.
As long as Patek Philippe continue to produce products like the Ref. 5970, we cannot complain. It is exciting to see that the most renowned brand in classical high horology are not satisfied with resting on their (not unsubstantial) laurels.
At the very least, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time provides a vivid depiction of the future of Patek Philippe, and as a self-described watch fanatic, I find it hard not to be excited. Patek have reached this point in their history by constantly questioning and developing the standards of traditional watchmaking, so any continuance to do should not surprise or upset us.
Feature Image shot by Monochrome