Timeless Elegance of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Collection

Collector’s Guides • 06 Jun 2022

Timeless Elegance of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Collection

A watch for all occasions, the Patek Philippe Calatrava collection exudes timeless elegance with its pure lines. The simplicity of the Reference 96 with its Bauhaus principles continues in the latest Ref. 5226G. Take a look at how the Calatrava collection showcases the best of Patek Philippe savoir-faire.

Reference 96: the First Calatrava

Comprising the Greek cross with fleur-de-lis on its ends, the Calatrava Cross is an allusion to the Spanish Catholic order of knights who defended the city of Calatrava (Nuova Castiglia) in 1158 from Arabian invaders. Patek Philippe registered the motif as a trademark in April 1887. Since then, the Calatrava Cross has become a symbol of the company’s exemplary watchmaking quality and adherence to traditional techniques.


Calatrava Cross
The registered Calatrava Cross on the 21K gold central rotor of the Caliber 26-330 S C, inside the Ref. 5226G-001. Image credit: Patek Philippe.


The Calatrava lends its name to a key Patek Philippe collection, one that started with the Ref. 96 from 1932. Designed by Henri Stern shortly after the Stern family acquired Patek Philippe, the Ref. 96 laid the foundations for the now iconic design cues of the Calatrava collection. The concept adheres to the Bauhaus principles of form following function, distilling timekeeping to its purest essence. The round case of the Ref. 96 reflects the circular shape of the movement inside. With a snap-back case back, flat polished bezel, and tapered integrated lugs, this ensures a comfortable fit on the wrist.


Patek Philippe Ref 96
Patek Philippe Ref. 96. Image Credit: Christie’s.


The Calatrava collection was the first to contain in-house manufacture calibers, developed by Patek Philippe under the direction of Jean Pfister. While the essence of the Calatrava lines and designs remain simple, it showcases the best of Patek Philippe savoir-faire.

Read our Collector’s Guide on Patek Philippe Calatrava


The Calatrava Collection Today

Remaining true to the spirit of the Ref. 96, the Calatrava collection today showcases a range of expert Patek Philippe hand-finishing. The personality of each model in the current collection serve to exemplify the manufacture’s expertise in various traditional handcrafts. As with all Patek Philippe creation, every Calatrava watch is stamped with the Patek Philippe Seal, a guarantee that each watch meets the company’s quality criteria – the strictest in Swiss watchmaking.

Learn about the Patek Philippe Seal



With the simplicity of form as the canvas, the Ref. 5088/100P-001 highlights the exceptional savoir-faire in engraving and enamelling. First, applying the champlevé technique, cavities are hollowed out on the white gold dial plate. The cavities are then filled with Grand Feu black enamel. Inspired by vintage firearm decorations, the arabesque and volute engravings on the areas of relief highlight the impeccable skills of Patek Philippe engravers.


White gold watch with diamond bezel and guilloche lacquer midnight blue dial
The Patek Philippe Ref. 4997/200G in white gold with diamond-set bezel and guilloché lacquered midnight blue dial.


The clean lines of the Calatrava also lends itself decoration and embellishments. Part of the Calatrava Joaillerie line, the Ref. 4997/200G exudes refined elegance. Fine guilloché concentric waves adorn the dial plate. Successive layers of transparent midnight blue lacquer are applied on the dial and create a subtle depth effect. To finish, 78 round-cut interally flawless Top Wesselton diamonds light up the white gold bezel. This combination of fine guilloché and hand-set gems emit a graceful radiance that makes a distinct impression.

Read more about Patek Philippe Savoir-Faire


A New, Vintage-Inspired Look



Patek Philippe R5226G in white gold
Patek Philippe Ref. 5226G-001 in white gold.


The latest addition to the collection, the 5226G-001 self-winding Calatrava, inherits the traditional handcrafts with a refreshed aesthetic. The charcoal-gray dial has a black gradient rim and takes inspiration from the colour and texture of vintage camera bodies. Crafted entirely by Cadrans Flückiger, a specialist dialmaker that has belonged to Patek Philippe since 2004, it inspires a sense of wanderlust and exploration. The gold numerals, painted with beige luminescent material, are meticulously hand applied to the dial. The “Clous de Paris” hobnail pattern, typical to Patek Philippe, enhances the allure of the classic round Calatrava case.


"Clous de Paris" hobnail guilloché
“Clous de Paris” hobnail guilloché finish around the case band of the new Ref. 5226G-001


The Ref. 5226G-001 case is specially designed with lugs integrated into the case back. This allows the guilloché motif to continue uninterrupted around the white gold case band. Both the textured charcoal-gray dial and the hobnail guilloché case band feature in the new Ref. 5326G-001 Annual Calendar Travel Time watch, continuing that Calatrava style.


Patek Philippe 5236G-001
The new Ref 5326G-001 Annual Calendar Travel Time in a Calatrava-style case.


From enamelling to engraving, gem-setting to guilloché, the exceptional quality of finishing on the Calatrava collection reflect the Stern family’s continuing commitment to traditional handcrafts. A timeless classic that will hold pride of place in any collection, there is a Calatrava for every collector.

Discover our collection of Patek Philippe Calatrava watches

Unless otherwise stated, images are copyrighted to The Hour Glass.

Tags: calatrava patek philippe

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