One of the bedrocks of the Patek Philippe collection is its classic dress watch- the Calatrava. A necessary foundation piece for any Haute Horlogerie brand, the dress watch is a must and with the Calatrava, Patek Philippe continues to build on its rich tradition to this day.
For a bit of historical context, we go back to the ’30s when Charles and Henri Stern purchased the Patek Philippe brand. To revamp the manufacture, the first model they produced is, of course, the Calatrava. The Ref. 96 came in 1932, at a time when wristwatches were beginning to take over pocket watches and it was a move that cemented their status as one of the eminent watch brands of the world. To this day, the Stern family still owns Patek Philippe and you can tell that the Calatrava is still a staple in the brand’s lineup.
Since then, there have been many iterations of the classic Calatrava, from varying case sizes to dial styles, with this example being one of my favorites. As a vintage guy, the 5296G really speaks to me because of its sector dial. Sector dials were used in the 20th century a lot and the purity and utilitarian nature of its design really resonate with a lot of collectors. The combination of a 38mm white gold case with a two-tone silver dial and blue details is a winner in my eyes.
Patek Philippe has managed to draw upon it’s past with this 5296G while bringing the present with its modern sizing and proportions. I would say that this Calatrava can be considered the Swiss army knife of watches, with enough versatility to work both as a casual and formal piece.