As soon as the doors opened up for 'Press Day' at Baselworld 2015 five days ago on Wednesday March 18th, 2014, we were some of the first journalists to head straight to the Patek Philippe pavilion to see for the very first time in person, the new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G-001. As soon as the first images of this timepiece hit the web, a wave of controversial comments started to arise. While the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time caught more than one purist by surprise —in an unexpected move by the most traditional horological maison from Geneva—, we preferred to remain objective and enjoyed this new watch in its true form. While many felt that this watch didn't make any sense within the Patek Philippe lineup, we completely disagree with such take. The new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G-001 is definitely based on old Patek DNA from scientific instruments released by the brand in the 1930s and exhibited at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva that we featured here. Now, just in case some of you still happen to disagree, below you will find an image we captured during our visit to the Patek Philippe Museum so you can see that this watch didn't come out of left field as most think.
Controversy aside, as soon as we saw the new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G-001 in the showcase we absolutely loved it, pretty much love at first sight. Now, let's move on to the images we captured during our hands-on review of this new exceptional timepiece. The new Patek Philippe ref. 5524 is a very refined and well executed Pilot's watch with an 18K white gold case measuring 42 mm in diameter and equipped with the same automatic calibre 324 S C FUS as the Aquanaut Travel Time. This outstanding calibre includes a dual time zone mechanism indicating local and home time, local and "home" day/night indication in apertures, local date by hand indicator at 6 o'clock and a center sweep seconds hand. The dial on the watch is a stunning matte blue varnished dial with white gold applied Arabic Pilot style font numerals filled with very strong luminescent coating —as you will see in our images.
The dial is extremely well finished with an interesting grainy texture that evokes the vintage matte dials on Pilot watches from another era. The blued sword hands along with the numerals round out the sporty look of this new timepiece from Patek Philippe that we are confident will become an icon as time goes by. Just like on any other Patek Philippe watch —sporty or classic— the level and quality of the finishes on this watch are exactly where they need to be, just as Patek Philippe has been delivering over the past 175 years. As you will see in the pictures, the color of the dial varies depending on lighting conditions going all the way from a very deep blue to a beautiful royal blue.
The strap, opposed to what many thought after looking at pictures of the watch taken behind the glass, is extremely supple and well made featuring a contrast stitching inspired by the belts of the Pilots from the 1920s and 1930s. The strap has a color and texture very similar to what you see on Hermès leather products. The pin buckle is highly polished featuring a new design never seen on Patek buckles and Patek Philippe's signature on it.
The new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is of course fitted with a display case back as it is the norm with most modern Pateks. The display case back is tastefully done with a highly polished finish.
Now, let's move onto one of our ultimate favorite features on this watch. We are talking about its luminescent material. Just as soon as we moved the watch slightly away from the strong lights in the press conference room, we could see those beautiful numerals turning green. Then, we knew a few lume shots would be key for this hands-on review. As you will be able to appreciate, luminosity is not an issue when it comes to this new Patek. Kudos for the bright and long lasting luminescent coating on the hands and numerals.
On the wrist, what can we say. The watch wears extremely comfortable and true to its size. Ladies and gentlemen, don't forget that no matter what, this is a Patek and when you strap a Patek Philippe to your wrist, something magical happens. We are very fortunate to have reviewed this controversial watch while at Baselworld 2015 and our verdict is that this new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is as Patek Philippe as Patek Philippe gets. Ladies and gentlemen, please make no mistake comparing this watch to other brands with Pilots watches.
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