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Exploring the Sporty Revamp of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 6007G-001 6007G-010 6007G-011

If I were to say the word Calatrava, you likely already have a pretty solid picture in your head of what I’m talking about. Patek Philippe’s quintessential dress watch has become the archetype of slimline, elegant gold timepieces and for good reason. And yet for 2023 the prestige-soaked maison has opted to mix up the formula with a trio of new, sporty Patek Philippe Calatravas with the ref. 6007G.

There’s a lot to unpack in the new pieces, but to understand just how different they are from Patek Philippe’s historical approach to dress watches, it’s worth looking into what that history is. Once upon a time, Patek Philippe (& Cie, as they were then called) were having a spot of difficulty. Hard to imagine, I know, but this was the Great Depression and good news was few and far between. The company needed a cash injection to keep their doors open, which came in the form of the Stern family.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96

At the time, Patek Philippe had been focusing mainly on cutting edge, high complications; the kind of stuff that required patents aplenty to produce. But Jean and Charles Henri Stern realised their shiny new watchmaker needed something simpler, something, dare I say, more mainstream – or as mainstream as you can get at a time when wristwatches were still relatively new. Enter the Calatrava Ref. 96.

Named after the Calatrava cross, the knightly symbol that you can these days see on Patek Philippe crowns and movements, it quickly became the foundation on which the brand’s ascendency was built. This first Calatrava was streamlined and elegant, with the kind of less-is-more sensibilities that guarantee a certain timelessness. Designer David Penny knocked the Red. 96 out of the park. Fun side note: if you ever get a little tired of trying to learn Patek Philippe’s reference numbers, this is where it started. The Calatrava Ref. 96 was the first of their watches to go that route.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 96

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96

With a 31mm case size that was just 9mm thick, a snap-on back and flat polished bezel, the Calatrava Ref. 96 was streamlined to the point of minimalism. This might have been the early days of wristwatches, but they still had ergonomics in mind, with a tapered fit to the wrist. Hour markers were simple trapezoids and seconds were on the six o’clock small seconds. If none of this seems particularly stand out these days, then that’s because the Ref. 96 template has been adopted by most watchmakers under the sun – but it all started here.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007A

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007A

The reason it’s worth delving into the dressy history of the collection is so that we can understand just how different the new pieces are – although it has to be said, the overall design isn’t strictly speaking new. Back in 2000 when Patek Philippe opened their new 600 million Franc manufacturer, they built a commemorative limited edition to go with it. The steel cased Calatrava Ref. 6007A-001 was gorgeous; a central seconds, blue dialled number with a distinctive centre made from hatched squares set at different angles.

There were 1,000 of the things, but you can probably guess how long they lasted. They’re serious collectors’ pieces if you can get your hands on one these days. At time of writing there’s one going on Chrono 24 for just over £81,000, a good margin more than its original price tag of just over £22,000.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G-001

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G-001

The new trio of Calatravas basically form the precious metal version of that steel limited edition, with the same central dial pattern. But where the original opted for monochrome blue, colour is the name of the game here. They are quite possibly the sportiest pieces ever introduced to the collection.

Part of that is a simple change. The switch from blue to black at the centre gives that unique guilloche a carbon fibre slant and in no small way reminds me of a chequered flag. I’m not about to say these are racing watches, but there’s definitely some petrolhead flavour in there, amped up by the matched embossing on the calfskin strap. And that’s only revved up by the colours.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 6007G-010

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G-010

The three models are exactly the same but defined by their bright highlights. The 6007G-001 uses sun yellow, the -010 a go-faster red and the -011 a gorgeous sky blue that’s thankfully not too close to Tiffany. That colour is echoed across the seconds hand, the triangular hour markers on the innermost ring of the dial and the funky, offset minute markers on the outer ring. It’s also, of course, in the strap’s contrast stitching. The colours are only really there in small touches, but against the ebony black dial they impact well beyond their footprint.

Otherwise, you’re looking at a 40mm white gold case, on the large side for a Calatrava but within classical tolerances. Inside each is the calibre 26-330 S C, a newer (if not completely new) generation movement, gorgeously finished and with a 35-hour power reserve. It has a date, something I’m sure many of us could do without on a dial like this, but otherwise a typically superb in-maison movement.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 6007G-011
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 6007G-011

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G-011

Patek Philippe have used colour in the past, but mainly for more exotic pieces and limited editions (the 5470P 1/10th monopusher chronograph springs to mind), but not core collection Calatravas. Between the use of colour, the carbon-adjacent guilloche and the distinctive dial with its various concentric circles, the new Ref. 6007G models are a world away from the original Ref. 96 that came to define Patek Philippe’s watchmaking.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 6007G Casebacks

In essence though, the new pieces are designed to do the same thing the original was – get sales. Obviously. The Ref. 96 was aimed squarely at the mainstream and the Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007G is trying to tackle a younger demographic of watch buyer (at least, a younger buyer that can put down £30,480), to tempt in the potential collectors that will commit atrocities for a Nautilus, but skim over the Calatrava collection as too old fashioned.

Is that a bad thing? There are likely some traditionalists out there that think so, but I’m not one of them. It’s probably tempting for a brand with the name recognition of Patek to rely on their own archetypes rather than try something new. New can be divisive. But a more casual Calatrava you can wear to a track day? Sign me up.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Patek Philippe Calatrava
  • Ref: 6007G-001 (yellow), 6007G-010 (red), 6007G-011 (blue)
  • Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 9.17mm thickness, white gold case, black dial
  • Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
  • Movement: Patek Philippe calibre 26-330 S C, automatic, 39 jewels, 212 parts
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 45h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
  • Strap: Calfskin embossed with “carbon” pattern
  • Price/availability: £30,480

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.