Patek Philippe’s first release of the year is a rare Calatrava in stainless steel
The timepiece is being launched as a commemorative edition to celebrate the completion of Patek Philippe’s new production building in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva.
For watch enthusiasts, 2020 has been a strange year. Two of the industry’s biggest trade shows – Baselworld and Watches & Wonders – were cancelled due to the pandemic, leading to a dearth of new watch releases which typically kickstart a new year.
Notably, watchmaking giant Patek Philippe has been silent on its new releases, till now. To celebrate its new production building in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, the watchmaker has launched a new limited edition timepiece, and in stainless steel, no less.
Patek Philippe first broke ground on the new production building in 2015 with the aim of centralising all aspects of production into a single building. This move was first initiated in 1996 by then-president Philippe Stern, who desired to reunite under one roof the individual business activities previously distributed across a dozen over sites in the city. Although the new building was generously sized, it soon proved to be too small to cope with the manufacture’s growth.
The new facility, built to the tune of CHF 600 million (S$881.6 million), is five times bigger than the previous building. It features 10 floors, four of which are below ground. There are facilities for every aspect of watch manufacturing, from basic machining, to ateliers for hand-finishing and assembling movements, to studios for crafts such as engraving and enamelling. There’s even an 880-seat restaurant on the top floor.
Patek Philippe has a tradition of accompanying key events in its corporate history with limited-edition commemorative watches. Two examples are the Ref. 5500 Pagoda and the Ref. 5029 Minute Repeater presented in 1997 to highlight the official inauguration of the previous manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates.
To celebrate the completion of the new production building, Patek Philippe is now releasing the Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava, a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.
Patek Philippe's Calatrava model holds special meaning for the watchmaker. The first Calatrava was introduced by the Stern brothers in 1932, a time when pocket watches were still the norm and wristwatches were just gaining popularity. The Calatrava was launched to help the company tide over the Great Depression, soon becoming the blueprint for the ultimate men's dress watch.
The new Ref. 6007A-001 carries the Calatrava legacy, but with a modern twist to appeal to the modern gentleman. For one, it features a case and bezel made from stainless steel, a very rare material in the Patek Philippe collection. Aside from Nautilus and Aquanaut models, Patek Philippe timepieces in steel are hard to come by. According to the watchmaker, the material was chosen to reflect the steel used in the construction of the building.
The blue dial features a railway track scale and triangular markers. Most captivating is a graphic centre featuring a finely grained carbon fibre-like texture. It has a stamped guilloche centre, along with Arabic numerals in white gold with luminous coating. The timepiece features a calfskin strap, embossed for a textured pattern akin to fabric.
The sapphire crystal case back is marked with the Calatrava cross and the "New Manufacture 2019" inscription, commemorating the year when the first groups of employees moved into the new building.
Although the Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava is a limited edition timepiece with only 1,000 available worldwide, more than 100 pieces have been allocated to the Southeast Asia region. The timepiece has since arrived in Singapore, priced at S$34,700.