Even though it was only launched in 2015, Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is already a modern classic, with its highly unusual design that includes a prominent case and a dial with large white numerals and luminous hands that contrast crisply against the dark background. Inspired by the manufacture’s aviator’s watches from the 1930s, the collection now spans watches with two time zones (in white or rose gold and with two case sizes), Alarm Travel Time, a grand complication with a 24-hour alarm, as well as several limited editions, establishing these pilot-style watches as key models of Patek Philippe’s collections.
With a diameter of 37.5mm, the Ref. 7234G-001 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is a medium-sized version of the Ref. 5524G launched in 2015. The round Calatrava case in white gold is sleek, with a flat and slightly bevelled bezel, as well as a case band that merges almost seamlessly with the strap lugs.
The blue lacquered dial, inspired by aviator’s watches, is highly legible with applied white-gold numerals filled with a white luminous coating and broad luminous baton hands made of blued white gold.
The self-winding caliber 324 S C FUS movement consists of 294 parts and features the exceptionally convenient Travel Time system for displaying a second time zone. All it takes is the actuation of one of the two pushers in the left-hand case flank to move the luminous local-time hour hand clockwise (with the lower pusher) or counterclockwise (upper pusher) in one-hour increments.
During such adjustments, the local time hand is disconnected from the movement, so the accuracy of time displayed by the minute and seconds hands is not compromised. The skeletonised hour hand continues to indicate home time. Both time zones have separate day/night indicators (LOCAL window at 9 o’clock for local time, HOME window at 3 o’clock for home time) to simplify time setting on the go. As long as the watch owner is at home, the two hour hands are superposed.
The two time-zone pushers are equipped with a patented safety system that prevents unintended adjustments of the local time setting. Before they can be actuated, they must be unlocked with a quarter turn, which is simplified by delicate fluting. Afterwards, they must be locked again with a quarter turn in the opposite direction.
The analog date at 6 o’clock shows the date in three-day increments to improve legibility without cluttering the scale. A useful feature for travellers is that the date is always synchronised with local time because the time-zone pushers also increment or decrement the date if the local time hour hand passes midnight either clockwise or counterclockwise.
The Ref. 7234G is completed with a shiny navy blue calfskin strap secured with a clevis prong buckle in white gold. It is reminiscent of the harnesses that allowed pilots to keep their parachutes and survival kits readily deployable. The scope of delivery includes a second calfskin strap in vintage brown with contrast stitching, much like the belts for classic pilot overalls.
This wristwatch for ladies and gentlemen comes in addition to the Ref. 5524G with a diameter of 42mm, making an ideal pair. Both formats of the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time are also available in rose gold with brown black-gradated dials (Refs. 5524R and 7234R).
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