Every year, Baselworld is an opportunity for Patek Philippe to capture the attention of the watch world with their new releases, and 2019 was no different. In what is one of the standout pieces in their new collection, the Ref. 5212A-001 Calatrava Weekly Calendar is noteworthy for a number of reasons.
Cased in a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 10.79mm, the new Ref. 5212A is an elegant watch that straddles the line between dress watches and casual daily wearers. The inspiration of the Ref. 5212A is the Ref. 2512 which was first released in 1955, and has a number of design cues from a classic mid-century timepiece. These can be seen in the graciously curved and stepped lugs, which accentuate the taper of the metal towards the strap.
The dial displays significantly more information than a more common Calatrava, with displays for hours, minutes and seconds, as well as date, day, month and week of the year. This is indicated via a date window, and five centrally mounted hands that point towards their respective time cycles, which Patek Philippe admitted was a technical challenge they successfully overcame. The most unusual indication is the week of the year, commonly used to track the progression of the year by European business communities. The layout adheres to the ISO 8601 standard, which dictates that when tracking weeks of the year, the first official week starts on the Monday of the week of January 4th. The indicator counts up to 53 weeks as in approximately 5 or 6-year cycles, a year will contain 53 weeks rather than the normal 52 weeks.
Another unique feature of the dial is the font used for both the letters and numbers. At first glance it appears to be hand-written, and this is because it is based on the handwriting of one of the members of the Patek Philippe team who designed the piece. Including a personal touch that references one of the designers is another uncommon element that Patek Philippe has worked into the watch. This detail, and the calf leather strap that the watch comes on, both add to a feeling that is more relaxed than the typical study of Classicism other Calatrava references imbue.
The movement used in the Ref. 5212 is calibre 26-330, based on the self-winding calibre 324, but totally redesigned to include the new indications. The new design includes the ability to adjust any of the hands at any time of the day without damaging the movement, and has up to 45 hours of power reserve.
One final piece that sees the Ref. 5212A as being a very unique puzzle, is that the watch is produced in steel. This is possibly the only non-limited steel Calatrava produced by Patek Philippe in the modern era, with all others being released in precious metals or limited editions for specific markets. With the incredible popularity of steel watches in the Ref. 5711A Nautilus and the Aquanaut collection, it is interesting to see Patek Philippe release another piece in this coveted metal, near their entry-level price point.
The Ref. 5212A is a totally new take on a daily watch with an unusual complication, and one that is sure to be incredibly popular. With its inspiration coming from the middle of the 20thcentury, but a movement and design elements that are firmly footed in the 21stcentury, the Calatrava Weekly Calendar is sure to be one of the most significant watches released in 2019.