In the Patek Philippe Ref. 5212A-001 Calatrava Weekly Calendar for 2019, the Geneva manufacture introduces an all-new in-house calibre with a new complication: The weekly calendar. The Calatrava Weekly Calendar is so named for the semi-integrated mechanism that adds a week of the year indication to traditional indications such as date and day of the week.
For more than a century, Patek Philippe has been known for its calendar watches, thanks to its development of a myriad of features, including the introduction of the annual calendar complication. Developed as recently as 1996, Patek Philippe introduced the concept of the Annual Calendar in Ref. 5035. This watch packed all the sexiness and complexity (in terms of number of components required, 316 to the perpetual calendar’s 275) of a perpetual calendar but at a more modest price point. To wit, an Annual Calendar is to the Perpetual Calendar what an Aquanaut is to the Nautilus.
The 2019 Ref. 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar with new manufacture calibre is an extension of the “useful complications” watchmaking policy pursued by Patek Philippe. The new Calatrava Weekly Calendar joins other luminaries such as the Ref. 5200 Gondolo “8 Days, Day & Date Indication”, with instantaneous day-of-week and date display and of course, the famed annual calendar. In terms of utility, finance professionals, for one, sometimes need to know the week of the year in the course of their work.
Even though the new automatic Calibre 26-330 is based on the brand’s workhouse calibre 324, the Geneva manufacture’s newest in-house calibre is the result of years of development work. The calibre features a semi-integrated mechanism with 92 additional parts. An essential addition is a seven-point star on the hour wheel in the centre of the movement controlling the day-of-week display. Via a lever, a second seven-point star with an extended Sunday tip drives the 53-tooth week wheel of the Calatrava Weekly Calendar.
The calendar displays advance semi-instantaneously in discrete steps to avoid energy consumption peaks. Corrections of the day- of-week and week-number displays are performed with two push pieces recessed in the case flank at 8 and 10 o’clock. The date can be corrected with the crown pulled halfway out thanks to a fail-safe concept. The user can perform such corrections at any time of the day or night without risking damage to the movement. Despite all this, the calendar complication is not the main attraction. There’s a whole host of horological innovation under that gorgeous opaline dial that we don’t have the space to get into this issue.
In addition to the iconic Calatrava case, the design language of the Calatrava Weekly Calendar is evocative of a bygone era. The indications on the dial are reminiscent of hand-painted numerals, a hallmark of vintage watchmaking before the advent of printed dials. The new Calatrava Weekly Calendar uses typography created specifically for this 2019 novelty based on the handwriting of one of the manufacture’s designers. Hence the letters and numbers of the new Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar are absolutely unique. That said, these are not hand-painted like the watches of old but carefully printed in black.
This “retro feel” is further enhanced thanks to the case inspiration – Ref. 2512, a one-of-a-kind Calatrava made in 1955. With such provenance, the 40mm Patek Philippe BaselWorld novelty enjoys the classical finesse of a bezel that meets the two-tiered tapered lugs. Meticulously hand-polished, the visual dramatism of the latest Calatrava is further enhanced by the box sapphire with a slightly cambered profile.
This story was first seen in the August 2019 issue of L'Officiel Singapore.