The oldest independent, family-owned Genevan watch manufacture is famously tight-lipped when it comes to what will be culled from its collections and what will appear in place—so informed observers were surprised when Patek Philippe watch announced, days before Watches & Wonders, that it would be welcoming some exciting new novelties into the Calatrava family—its new white gold varieties applying a contemporary, graphic new aesthetic to its iconic, dressy, round wristwatch line.
Those sneak preview additions to the line feature a black dial whose distinguishing feature is an embossed chequered pattern in a smaller circle at the center, which juxtapose elegantly with the flashes of yellow, sky blue, or red (depending on which you opt for) found on the counters, seconds hands and strap stitching.
Also unveiled in Geneva, as part of Patek Philippe watch ’s “Rare Handcrafts 2023” collection being presented at its Salons in Geneva from April 1 to 15, was a pocket watch featuring a leopard, rendered in marquetry. The piece involved the assemblage of 363 tiny veneer parts and 50 inlays, and a palette of 21 species of wood of different colors, textures, and veining.
But there’s more: much more. Introducing its new watches in Geneva—the home city the Stern family—for only the second time, Patek had a few more surprises up its sleeve. Here’s what else they unveiled this time around.
Patek Philippe’s three new Calatrava references have white gold cases, ebony dials, and their own accent colors: red, yellow, or pale blue, applied to the seconds track, seconds hand, indexes, and the stitching of the matching leather strap. The intriguing dials feature a crosshatch pattern reminiscent of carbon fiber, which matches the treatment on the strap, giving each of the three a distinctly sporty feel.
Featuring a witty inversion of the tonneau watch shape, this new iteration of the Gondolo Serata has a brown-lacquered dial whose floral decoration is created by a matt/polished contrast. Breguet numerals and a chocolate brown calfskin strap complete the effect.
Patek Philippe is rightly very proud of its line named after a boutique in Rio De Janeiro, Gondolo from which roughly a third of the watchmaker’s output was purchased during World War II—and this addition to the family, whose case is set with 94 brilliant-cut spessartites, will surely enhance that pride. These create a two-tone effect (Patek refers to the colors as “cognac” and “mandarine”), complementing very first watchmakers (a group also comprising Piaget and Omega) to delve into electronic timekeeping’s potential back in the late 1940s, and here a Quartz movement carries out its tireless work behind a solid case back. Arguably the most striking of the new models bolstering the Calatrava lines, this self-winding model is housed in a rose-gold case and has a strap and dial in purple (the latter packs impressive visual depth, thanks to its pattern of concentric waves being made up of more than fifty layers of translucent lacquer).
Another rose gold, self-winding addition to the Calatrava collection—which, since its launch in 1932, has become widely considered the gold standard when it comers to dress watches—bolsters Patek’s repertoire when it comes to travel watches, thanks to its 24-hour display.
The Patek Philippe watch case is afforded an imperious flourish by its curved, two-tier lugs whilst the traditional local time correction pushers on the left side of the caseband now have a patented crown-operated correction system.
The navy blue dial with hand-laid rose gold appliques, enhanced by contrasting finishes, received no little praise in Geneva, as did the piece’s overall legibility and usability.
Horological aesthetes witnessing this unveiling at the Palexpo convention center in Geneva enthused about this piece’s appearance—the interaction with the white gold and rose gold with its brown opaline dials.
The more tech-minded onlookers, meanwhile, found themselves engaged with the piece’s 20 complications, including five acoustic functions (two of which are patented world exclusives: an alarm sounding the programmed time and a date-repeater striking the date on demand).
Another major talking point proved to be its reversible double-sided case, singled out in the horological arena by its patented swivel mechanism (which means it can be worn with either dial visible).