Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava Watch In Steel To celebrate the opening of its new Plan-les-Ouates manufacture, PP presents this gift to its fans (in exchange for money) by Rob Nudds June 18, 2020 MIN READPatek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava Watch In Steel
New releases from Patek Philippe don’t always feel this new. We are used to seeing minor updates to a collection that often feels more entrenched than established. But that is fair enough. When you can arguably claim to be the G.O.A.T. why mess with a winning formula? However, with the release of the Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava watch in steel, the Genevan manufacture has shown it’s aware of how much times are changing.
For the past five years, Patek Philippe has been working on a new manufacture in Geneva. The Plan-les-Ouates site was signed off in 2014 to aid Patek Philippe‘s desire to internalize as many aspects of production as possible. Some interpreted the manufacture’s construction as a sign the brand was about to respond to market pressure and up production, but while that may be a more feasible step with the new facility operational, it appears that wasn’t — and isn’t – the prime motivator.
To soften that blow, the brand has instead announced a new addition to the Calatrava range. And, I must say, it definitely looks novel. It is a more youthful take on the renowned classic model that is core to both Patek Philippe’s catalog and identity.
…how does it match up…
This model, with its applied, luminous Arabic hour markers, brushed/embossed blue dial, and, perhaps most importantly, stainless steel case, seems a direct competitor to the relatively recently released Fifty-Six collection by Vacheron Constantin. The question is, how does it match up to the competition?
A divisive piece
Creating divisive watches is not Patek Philippe’s general modus operandi. The brand creates classics. It creates heirlooms. Wilful division is not something that features prominently in the company handbook. However, the Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava is a divisive piece, even it is incredibly conservative in appearance.
…a little safe.
Let’s be fair, in comparison to a regular Calatrava, this model is off-the-wall bonkers. It is a bubbly, curvy, colorful, injection of vitality. It is a shot in the arm for a collection struggling to find relevance among the youth of today (I must be getting old…). And yet, despite this patent joie de vie it still comes off as a little safe.
It is perhaps as “unsafe” as Patek could convince itself to be. But does it go far enough? What does this piece (in steel) give us that the Vacheron Constantin ref. 4600E/000A-B442 (also in steel) didn’t give us two years ago? Aside from a more sizable hole in our bank balances (the PP retails for €25,720 at the time of writing; the VC debuted with an €11,900 price tag), the “carbon style” texture in the middle of the dial is the most startling aesthetic difference between the two displays. But here’s the thing: this pattern is embossed, rather than engine-turned. That’s a real shame at this price point. That, for me, would have provided at least a small justification for the price running closer to 30k than the just-above-ten price of the Vacheron.
A new dawn?
if we wanted to compare this watch to another similarly styled pieces from a major rival we could drag in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date. The Polaris shares some visual similarities (and a similar level of technical mastery) with the new Patek Philippe Calatrava. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, it comes off as very decisive and very on-brand. It also retails for more than €10,000 below the PP’s retail.
Maybe it will herald a new dawn for Patek Philippe.
The new Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava Watch in steel is a very bold and laudable move for a brand trying to reinvent itself for a new age. For me, it does not hit the mark squarely between the eyes, but I have already heard some very excited noises from the watch community surrounding this release. Maybe it will herald a new dawn for Patek Philippe. Maybe it will, as is clearly intended, engage a new audience. Only time will tell.
The obvious pros
The best things about this watch are the steel case and its movement. The lume on the hands and numbers looks top-drawer too, but even I, as a well-known lume nut, care not for night-time visibility when we’re talking about Patek. No, the steel case makes this piece interesting in anybody’s book. Its laid back, more accessible style means that it would undoubtedly live a versatile life on any owner’s wrist.
It has a 40mm wide, 9.07mm tall case, which means it will wear a bit bigger than the measurements suggest, but this is probably a good thing for a watch that, at a smaller diameter, would too easily pale into the background.
The dial is blue. It is a very nice blue. The finishing, while not entirely hand-applied, contrasts nicely. It is attractive. It is clear. Is it inspiring? For some, its versatility will be. I must admit that I think the date integrates very nicely with the overall design due to the window’s dimensions matching up well with those of the numbers.
An unusually casual strap completes a great weekend look. And while that sounds like a ringing endorsement, there is one major stumbling block I cannot haul myself over.
The price. A shade on the wrong side of 25k means this watch, steel case of not, will not be exactly accessible. And while that is perhaps the point of a Patek Philippe, I’m not sure producing a watch that will make younger buyers take interest in the brand and then pricing it entirely out of reach is the best strategy. I would wager that by the time many potential purchasers have accrued enough free capital to buy the Patek Philippe Ref. 6007A-001 Calatrava, they might have already had their heads turned by many other more affordable (and reliably collectible) timepieces.
…tell me I’m wrong.
A lot of people are excited about this release. There are loads of good reasons to be. The steel case. The “cool dial”. A change of direction for a classic model family. A beautiful, slimline self-winding caliber 324 S C, to name but a few.
On the other side, the price, the embossed dial (and strap), a weak power reserve of between 35 and 45 hours, and a host of desirable competitors make this one a tough sell for me. But tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I just don’t get it. Tell me I need to grow up and appreciate this model and the leap of faith it required Patek Philippe to take in order to make it. I’ll be waiting for you in the comment section below.
Learn more about this model and the brand here.
Brand Patek Philippe ModelCalatravaReferenceRef. 6007A-001DialBlue brushed and embossedCase MaterialStainless SteelCase Dimensions40mm wide, 9.07mm thickCrystalSapphire crystalCase BackSapphire printed with a commemorative logoMovementself-winding caliber 324 S CWater Resistance30mStrapEmbossed calfskinFunctionsSelf-winding. Date in an aperture. Sweep seconds. Diameter: 27 mm. Height: 3.3 mm. Number of parts: 213. Winding rotor: central rotor in 21K gold. Frequency: 28,800 semi-oscillation per hour (4 Hz). Power reserve: min. 35 hours – max. 45 hours.Price€25,720 ($28,321) Watch of the Week
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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