HANDS-ON: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 HANDS-ON: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524

HANDS-ON: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524

Felix Scholz

The story in a second:

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.

Patek-philippe-calatrava-pilot-travel-time-5524-2It’s a telling fact that in the first sentence of their press release for their new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Patek Philippe have to explicitly reference that they have two 1930s hour angle pilot’s watches sitting in their Geneva museum. Because the fact is that while we associate many wonderful watch types and styles with Patek, the classic aviators watch is not among them.

Patek-philippe-calatrava-pilot-travel-time-5524-3There is something ironic about Patek, that most august and legitimate of brands, feeling the need to justify a new model. It’s a watch that has left the industry, and the (large, affluent and opinionated) Patek collector community befuddled. The most common sentiment expressed about the Pilot Travel time is that ‘”this is not Patek”.

Patek-philippe-calatrava-pilot-travel-time-5524-5The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time might confound traditional notions of what a Patek looks like, but there is no denying that the high Patek standards are there. The white gold case and rich blue dial (apparently inspired by the blue of US naval airplanes) with applied white gold arabics are undeniably quality with a capital Q. And the caliber 324 S C FUS movement (also used in the Aquanaut 5164A) is a thing of beauty. Even the dual time complication (with twin day/night indicators) makes sense for a pilot’s watch. No one is denying any of this.

Patek-philippe-calatrava-pilot-travel-time-5524-4If this watch said Zenith, IWC or even Breguet on the dial, not too many eyebrows would be raised. But for Patek this is an unconventional move by a company famed for their conventional (and exceptional) timepieces. Is it a heralding of a new direction? Or an attempt to grab a slice of the pilot watch pie?

Only time will tell if the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time represents a mis-step the brand, or if it will be a roaring success.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 pricing.

The Pilot Travel Time will retail for 42,000 CHF.



Patek Philippe


Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Reference No


Case Size

42 mm

Case Height

11.01 mm

Case Material

18K white gold


Blue lacquered brass, applied Arabic numerals, 18K white gold with Superluminova coating


Vintage brown calfskin with contrast stitching, clevis prong buckle in 18K white gold


Caliber CH 324 S C FUS




wo time zones (local time and home time), separate day/night indicators for local and home time, analog date