If you like pilot’s watches, you need to head to the nearest airshow immediately. Irrespective of whether your eyeline lifts up to the craft in the air, or stays firmly on wrists, an airshow will give you more of a chance to spot aviation related watches than just about any other place. This setting – Avalon airshow, on the outskirts of Geelong – is where I spotted this dashing Patek Philippe 5524G, AKA the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time.
It’s a watch that Felix and I hotly debated when it was released a couple of years ago. To recap, the topline quote was this: “The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is the watch that’s confusing the most people at Baselworld 2015. While the familiar Patek quality is there, that is pretty much the only thing about this watch people are associating with the name on the dial.” We wondered, not only then, but several times throughout the year, whether it would be worn by real pilots, or by mere earthbound Patek collectors?
This question was answered emphatically by the watch’s owner, Sebastian, who is not only a pilot, but who is authorised to fly in formation – and has done so with the Australian Roulettes on several occasions. Guess that puts that to rest then #pilotsdowearpatek. But the first thing I noticed about his watch was the blue alligator strap…
Why did you change the strap?
It normally comes with a tan leather strap on it, but it does scuff up quite easily, so I changed it to the blue alligator and I put the white gold clasp on it, which is a more traditional Patek clasp. The blue matches the dial and it makes a much more classy watch. It makes it look like a more traditional Patek just by changing the clasp on it. It vastly changes the look of it.
What number Patek was this in your collection?
This was the first Patek that I bought. I’m from an aviation background so I liked the fact that it had a little bit bigger dial than the standard 38, 39mm, it worked well for me. And it got me into the brand. I’ve bought four since then.
What is so addictive about Patek?
The impromptu interviews you end up doing at air shows! No, it’s really about the quality of the workmanship, the weight of it and the company itself, it’s a family-owned company. I’ve been invited by Patek to do four days with them in Geneva and at the factory. It’s a nice family owned company and the quality is extreme. The quality is Patek.
The good thing about the Pateks I own is that most people don’t know what they are. They’re not as recognisable as other brands I own. I mean, watch people know, but you’re the first person today to mention it.
The first person, today?
Yesterday was different, but yes, the first person today!