Patek Philippe re-writes the reference standard with their new Calatrava Ref. 6119. We do a deep dive into the rose gold model, and explain why this is the new standard bearer for the entry-level luxury dress watch.
Review: Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119R-001
Retail price is SGD 39,000 inclusive of GST.
We covered the launch release, and picked our favourites from the 2021 Patek stable here. Of course the Calatrava Ref. 6119 was one of them. In this article, we focus on the Ref. 6119R.
The Calatrava series is a direct descendent of the celebrated Ref. 96 (30.5mm case diameter), to the Ref. 96D (D for decor) in 30.6mm to the Ref. 3919 (33.4mm) and now the Ref. 6119 is in a new size of 39mm case diameter. This new reference will be available in a rose gold which we review here and also in a white gold case.
The case, dial and hands
The case is a very classical round case, with long(ish), sloping lugs. The entire case is polished, with the famous “Clous de Paris” bezel, taken from the Ref. 3919 introduced in 1985. The 3919 was for a long time the standard bearer of the entrance to the luxury dress watch genre. And now the baton is passed to the Ref. 6919. As mentioned, the case size is now a “Goldilocks just right” 39mm in diameter.
The iconic “Clous de Paris” bezel is retained in the Calatrava. The design is basically a guilloché or embossing, resulting in small pyramid knobs with a square base. It is also called Paris hobnail or simply hobnail. Patek literature describes it as a “guilloched hobnail pattern”, so we expect that it is made by a rose engine. The tiny pyramids now have a base which is larger than previous editions, and the profile is very crisp and clear. As one runs one’s finger on the bezel, the peaks can be felt, but are not sharp.
The dial is simple, but very elegant. And befitting a dress watch of this caliber. The Ref. 6119R has a creamy, eggshell coloured dial, with a silvery grained surface. The effect is rather special, as the graining catches light on some angles, and sparkles against the more matte background. The markers are in a matching rose gold appliqué bar type, which are faceted with an arrowhead. The faces of the appliqué is highly polished, as are the Dauphine styled hands which are also faceted and in a high polish rose gold.
A subsidiary seconds sub-dial is located at the 6 o’clock position, and is a minimalist design of a circle with cross hairs and second markers as transfer print bars. A railway track surround the periphery of the dial, which is punctuated at 5 minute intervals with rose gold dome appliqué.
The movement: Caliber 30-255PS
The movement is the all new Caliber 30-255PS, which measures 30.4mm in diameter and a height of just 2.5mm. The movement has a large diameter to allow for a double barrel design providing a power reserve of 65 hours. As with the new Patek calibers introduced recently, the C.30-255PS will have a stop seconds hacking mechanism.
Movement finishing is excellent, as is expected from Patek. All the haute horlogerie elements are addressed well. Of particular note is the Côtes de Genève, which are very well executed. The peaks of the côtes are well defined, sharp with clean lines. The stripes align perfectly across multiple bridges.
We might have preferred the bridges to sport some inward angles and sharper outward angles, but other than this, we are satisfied at the finissage, especially at this “entry-level” price.
The competitive landscape
The competitive landscape for an entry-level luxury dress watch is one populated by all the usual suspects. As Patek is the grand dame of the industry, we had expected the SGD 39,000 price tag to be at the top of the pile. And our little survey shows this is not far from the truth.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle, priced at SGD 30,900 is a candidate from another grand maison. At 38mm, the case is very similarly sized, and sports the C.4400 AS movement which has an autonomy of 65 hours. Finishing is exquisite and at a comparable level to the Patek.
Breguet Classique 7147 is another. It has a grand feu enamel dial is crisp and radiant, accentuating the printed black Breguet numerals, asterisk minute track and stylised fleur de lys hour markers. It runs on an automatic Calibre 502.3SD, which is well-finished. Retail is currently SGD 30,900.
Lange Saxonia Thin, current retail at SGD 25,500 is perhaps a bargain and the might be the most direct competitor. Housed in either a pink gold or white gold case measuring 37mm in diameter, it too is a hand wound thin mechanical movement of the highest pedigree. Even the dial seem to have similarities – grained finish dial, bar style faceted appliqué markers, although it omits the sub-dial for the seconds hand. The L093.1 movement has an autonomy of 72 hours, and superbly finished.
As a measure of reasonableness and to set a reference for the price tag, we invite you to make a comparison to the Nautilus 5711/1A, which currently carries a retail tag of SGD 46,000. The Nautilus is in a stainless steel case, and an automatic movement with a steel bracelet. But market perception is much higher, as black market prices see asking prices of circa SGD 140,000. Compared this way, the SGD 39k asking price for the Calatrava seems more reasonable.
Overall, the Patek Calatrava Ref. 6119R impressed us. We love it! We love the new larger 39mm size. We loved the thin case, and its beautiful elegant lines. We loved the hobnail bezel, and the simple, clear and classical dial layout. We also loved the new movement, and the fact that the latest Patek movements allow one to hack the balance for accurate time setting.
So much to love. The price is a bit steep, but this is a Patek Philippe. It leads the pack, and if they set a lower retail price, it would only serve to depress the rest of the industry. As is the norm in most industries, the pack take their pricing cues from the leader. The pre-owned prices of historical Pateks, including time only Calatravas, support this leadership position and justifies the higher asking price that would suggest higher resale values. The Ref. 6119 remains the reference standard by which to judge all other luxury dress watches.
Photographed at the Patek Philippe Singapore offices in Wheelock Place. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 and HC 2.8/80 with H28 extension tube. Profoto strobes.