Review: The New Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G

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Patek Philippe are one and synonymous with the classic dress watch, the most famous of which is the Calatrava. The prototypical Calatrava can be described as having a round, slim case made of precious metal, with a clean dial and excellent legibility. While the core of the collection remains true to these principles, that Patek Philippe have begun deviating from them in recent years hasn’t gone unnoticed. We have seen a slew of pilot’s, as well as neo-vintage watches added to the collection in the past decade and, as a result, a community divided on whether or not this is a good thing. In 2019, the brand introduced the Ref. 6007A, a commemorative, limited edition Calatrava celebrating the completion of its new manufacture building in Plan-les-Ouates. The watch certainly stood out as it featured a gray-blue dial with stamped carbon fibre-weave pattern and a calfskin strap of the same hue with an embossed textile fabric texture.

Review: Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6007G

Last year, Patek Philippe have doubled down on their endeavour, by presenting the non-limited edition, white gold variants of the Ref. 6007 – yes, variants, with red, blue or yellow highlights. Here, we bring you the details and our honest opinion on the Calatrava Ref. 6007G, now more unapologetically “un-Patek” than ever.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

Patek Philippe’s latest Ref. 6007 is rendered in white gold and has the same dimensions as the seminal stainless steel version, at 40.00 mm x 9.17 mm. The entire case is mirror polished save for a small portion at the back of the case. Its rounded bezel and lugs are a defining feature that interacts playfully with incident light. So far, the description of the Ref. 6007 could easily pass as that of a contemporary dress watch. The first subtle-but-sure sign that it isn’t is the gaping lug width, which in turn means wider straps. It’s not exactly a bad look but it sure does contribute to the overall casual vibe of the wristwatch.

Despite its simple appearance, the case is well manufactured (as you’d expect from Patek Philippe) and real easy on the eyes.

The other signs that show that this isn’t your typical Calatrava can be found on the dial. The centre medallion of the dial features a stamped carbon fibre weave pattern that you won’t normally find on a Patek Philippe, let alone the brand’s most elegant collection. It would have been a huge boon if the pattern was engraved by hand with a rose engine lathe but that’d be reaching for too much for what can be considered an ‘entry-level’ Patek Philippe. Matching this design detail is the calfskin strap that comes with the watch; it too is embossed with a carbon fibre weave motif. Outboard of the centre medallion is a ring decorated with a concentric guilloche pattern and printed with a railroad-style minute track in white. This track is further accented with triangular hour markers in either blue, yellow or red – depending on the reference. Just beyond the inky triangles are corresponding applied Arabic numeral hour markers. Where the 3 o’clock numeral is supposed to be, we find a simple date display instead. Even the mere presence of a date display on a Calatrava is enough to trigger debate. To Patek Philippe’s credit, they’ve always been great at integrating date windows discreetly, and it’s no different with the Ref. 6007. At the true periphery of the dial, there’s the racing-style seconds track with coloured gradations (once again, either blue, yellow or red) and numerals at 5-second increments. Indicating the time are three central hands for the hours, minutes and seconds, respectively. The hour and minute hands are black with luminescent coating, much like the Arabic numeral hour markers. The length of these hands were deliberately designed to trace the borders between the main sectors of the dial – satisfying. The seconds hand is expectedly the longest of the lot and reaches all the way to the periphery. While it isn’t lume-coated, it is painted in the thematic colour of the reference.

From the appliques and date aperture to the stamped motif and thick paint, the dial features more depth and textures than it initially lets on.

The Movement

Driving the Ref. 6007G is the 30-jewel, 212-part Calibre 26-330 S C. This calibre is one of Patek Philippe’s newest, having started life as the base movement for the unique Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A in 2019. The Calibre 26-330 S C is also currently used in the Calatrava Ref. 5226G as well as the Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A. What’s interesting is that the Ref. 6007A that precedes the Ref. 6007G uses an older movement: the Calibre 324 S C. The new Calibre 26-330 S C was a long time coming with older movements like the Calibre 324 S C becoming long in the tooth. One key improvement that can be found in the Calibre 26-330 S C is the introduction of – ironically – a LIGA-etched seconds wheel with long teeth, resulting in a smoother running seconds hand. Another upgrade that is perhaps a no-brainer is the implementation of hacking seconds, the lack of which in older Patek Philippe base movements was always a talking point. What remains a constant, however, are the power reserve and frequency, at 45 hours (maximum) and 4 Hz, respectively. One can’t help but feel that Patek Philippe could’ve extended the power reserve to at least 48 hours minimum in the new calibre, but 45 hours max isn’t, by any means, a deal-breaker either.

The Calibre 26-330 S C as seen through the sapphire crystal case back.

In terms of finissage, the Calibre 26-330 S C is standard Patek fare. It meets all the exacting requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal, has a healthy balance between hand and machine-assisted decoration, and is simply attractive. While the bridges feature linear Côtes de Genève, the gold winding rotor is instead adorned with a circular iteration of the decoration. The edges of these bridges, as well as the winding rotor, are beveled and polished. Also polished, are the screws that secure the movement and the jewel countersinks.

The Competitive Landscape

When you’ve already conquered the dress watch market, where do you go next? The casual watch market, apparently, at least based on what Patek Philippe is doing. There has been a strong push by Switzerland’s most prestigious watch maison of late to appeal to a younger clientele. The Ref. 6007 is evidence that Patek Philippe isn’t afraid to break a few eggs to achieve this. Even just a decade ago, no one could imagine seeing carbon fibre weave motif and bold Hublot-esque colours in a Calatrava, of all watch collections. The Ref. 6007G is priced at USD37,850, which feels steep, but is in line with what a ‘fancier’ Calatrava costs these days. For reference, a basic, no-frills Calatrava from the current catalogue would come in at the USD30,000 mark.

The Ref. 6007 is perfectly proportioned and wears securely on the average wrist.

Naturally, Patek Philippe aren’t the only old maison attempting to rejuvenate their own portfolio. Audemars Piguet have also done so with the introduction of the Code 11.59. For decades, the Le Brassus brand has been the sportiest and trendiest of the Swiss Holy Trinity, but the Code 11.59 line takes it to the next level. The defining characteristics of a Code 11.59 timepiece include its octagonal case middle, skeletonised lugs, curved crystal, and minimalist dial elements. It is in essence a sublimely crafted casual watch, and for the first time in a long time, not a Royal Oak sports watch. When the collection was first introduced, it was understandably met with shock and criticism (mostly on dial design), but as it stands, the Code 11.59 has won over many unbelievers especially after numerous well-crafted, ultra-complicated releases. The model closest to the trendy Calatrava Ref. 6007 would have to be the Code 11.59 Selfwinding, which comes in many variations. Priced at around CHF30,900, the watch costs virtually the same as a regular Calatrava.

The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding

To a lesser extent, the grand dame of watchmaking is also trying to endear itself to younger collectors. You will find plenty of Vacheron Constantin watches these days in non-traditional colours or aesthetics. Then there’s also the Fiftysix collection that’s meant to be the brand’s casual collection but has gone under the radar for a bit. Of course, the term ‘casual’ is used loosely here as the watch is still more dressed up than, say, an Hublot or a pilot’s watch. But compared to watches from the brand’s own Patrimony and Traditionnelle collections, you will see why. The Fiftysix Self-winding for instance does look a lot more relaxed and dressed down and could certainly be more appealing to upstart enthusiasts. It’s not just the looks that tick the right boxes, but also the pricing; the Fiftysix Self-winding in pink gold (shown in the photograph below) is priced at USD25,500 while the steel version is priced at USD12,700. These prices are nothing to scoff at but will be much more agreeable to younger clients who may not have as much purchasing power as their veteran counterparts.

The Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Self-winding

Final Thoughts

Love it or hate it, we can all agree that the Ref. 6007 is different. Has Patek Philippe gone too far with the faux carbon fibre weave and the technicolor accents? Only time will tell. Nobody can fault the brand for trying to stay relevant – it’s why Patek Philippe is still thriving despite the quartz crisis or the smart watch. But at the same time, it is understandable that some feel that the identity of the Calatrava collection is being diluted. At least, one thing remains a certainty, and that’s the quality of the Calatrava wristwatch. The design of Patek Philippe’s latest Calatravas might not be for everyone, but they’re still as impeccably crafted as ever.


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