The Calatrava is one of the most elegant and pure timepieces that Patek Philippe produce, eschewing the technical wizardry of the Grand Complications and the sport-luxe design of the Nautilus for a more refined and timeless appeal. That timelessness has made it a hit with vintage collectors over the years, especially the cult favourite ‘Clous de Paris’ variation, with its hobnail guilloche bezel – now updated for the modern world with a contemporary look and brand new calibre.
The Ref. 6119’s classic circular case shape and gently rounded bezel are available in either rose or white gold, adorned with the titular ‘Clous de Paris’ hobnail guilloche. The design pays tribute to the famous Ref. 3919 that saw production for twenty years following its launch in 1985, as well as more recent editions like the Ref. 5119 from 2006.
Departing from previous models, however, is its new 39mm diameter – bringing it in line with the modern appetite for larger watches. Although to my mind, 39mm hits that sweet spot between being large without being overwhelming, as some of the giants out there these days can be. The increased size also has a few added benefits when it comes to the dial and movement within.
Starting with the dial, the larger size really emphasises its simple elegance. There are two options depending on which case material you opt for. The rose gold case comes with a grained, silvery dial with matching rose gold ‘dauphine’ style hour and minute hands and rose gold indices, which are inspired by the Ref. 96, the first ever Calatrava. In contrast, the white gold case has a charcoal grey dial with vertical satin-finishing, in addition to the matching white gold details. The seconds are found in a snailed subdial at 6 o’clock on both versions.
The other benefit of the larger case is that it can house a larger calibre than previous Calatravas, challenging the design team to create a new calibre worthy of the modernised piece. The manual movement they developed is called the 30-255 PS and at its core it’s a wider version of the 215 PS, measuring 31mm in diameter as opposed to 21.9mm.
The 65-hour power reserve is served by a double mainspring barrel arrangement in parallel – while only a single barrel is necessary for the 65-hour reserve, the second increases the torque, which increases the rate stability and long-term durability of the movement. Also, having a second power barrel just looks better when viewed through the sapphire case back, during development it was felt that a single power barrel left too much empty space in the design.
The watch is presented on a black or brown alligator strap with a prong buckle designed by Henri Stern, the manufacture’s former president. Another ergonomic consideration was the lug shape, the Ref. 6119 abandoning the Ref. 3919’s straight lugs for curved ones.
The Calatrava’s simple, vintage appeal has always been what makes people fall in love with it and it stands up remarkably well to its new modern proportions. The ‘Clous de Paris’ bezel is beautiful, as it has always been, and looks incredibly tactile – I’d love to get my hands on one. The new calibre is also a great addition and an interesting exercise in engineering, increasing the proportions of a movement without detracting from its performance or visual appeal.
Price & Specs:
Model: Patek Philippe Calatrava “Clous de Paris”
Ref: 6119R-001 (18k rose gold case, silvery grained dial)
6119G-001 (18k white gold case, charcoal grey dial)
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter x 8.1mm height, 18k rose gold or 18k white gold
Movement: In-house Calibre 30-255 PS, manual wind, 27 jewels, 164 parts
Water Resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 65h
Functions: Hour, minutes, subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock
Strap: Shiny chocolate brown or shiny black alligator leather
Price/Availability: £22,770 GBP
More details at Patek Philippe.