Patek Philippe Ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time


So Patek Philippe released what is known as a pilot’s watch at this year’s Baselworld watch fair and turned quite a few heads. You might wonder why that should be so, given that many firms have pilot’s watches but before we get to that, some background is in order. The 42mm watch in question is the Ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, which is cased in 18k white gold. As the name suggests, Ref. 5524 keeps track of home time and local time, courtesy of the automatic manufacture calibre 324 SC FUS. One crown controls both winding and the setting of time but two pushers at 8 and 10 o’clock adjust local time forwards and backwards, respectively. Both pushers are secured against accidental activation by a patent-pending solution.

Alright, so the size of the watch might be a big deal – no pun intended – just because Patek Philippe never quite jumped on the oversized wristwatch bandwagon. Then again, this is a pilot’s watch and such timepieces are generally big (hello almost every single watch from, well, just Google it) so perhaps nothing very newsworthy here. Well, perhaps watch lovers were amazed to learn that no less than Patek Philippe would be taking to the air with something the brand never did before…except of course that the company does indeed have a history with pilot’s watches and has the museum pieces to prove it. Those two watches, by the way, are massive at more than 55mm in diameter.

What is truly amazing here is that Ref. 5524 is completely out of step with current trends and is a nice example of Patek Philippe doing something only such a powerful brand can accomplish. Ref. 5524 is truly a timepiece that ticks to the beat of its own logic, which might indeed be an appeal to younger collectors. If so, this may be the watch that heralds an eventual “smart” offering from the family-owned stalwart of Geneva watchmaking, although one could say that Patek Philippe watches are already quite smart in that they will never be obsolete, never have battery issues or need an OS upgrade…