Wrist Game or Crying Shame: Patek Philippe 5524G Would you Pilot this Patek for €34,323? by Michael Stockton May 20, 2020 MIN READWrist Game or Crying Shame: Patek Philippe 5524G
Welcome back to Wrist Game or Crying Shame, the weekly must-read event that has become the internet’s Clash of the Keyboard Warriors! This week, we’ll have some fun with the Patek Philippe 5524G and see if it’s worth spending your frequent flier miles. But first…
Last week, I showed you what has to be the most polarizing Speedmaster Limited Edition to date with the Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary model. Polarizing means that you like it or not. Or, in the case of sunglasses, it means you can’t see sh*t on your heads-up display. And folks, you did not see or like this watch. This Speedy was routed in an 85% Crying Shame loss.
Yes, I’ve embraced schadenfreude…
Me? I enjoyed giving Gerard — you’ll recall that he’s an owner — an hourly update on the voting. Yes, I’ve embraced schadenfreude here in Germany. Well, today doesn’t get any easier because we’re going to talk about the controversial Patek Philippe 5524G.
Mottos and such
They say that you never really own a Patek Philippe and that you merely look after it for the next generation. Well, my experience is that Patek never really sells a watch to a person who wears it and merely looks after those who aspire to sell it on the secondary market for profit. But maybe that’s just me… Perhaps the Nautilus has left me jaded. Or maybe it’s the “O.T.T.” auction coverage on vintage Patek.
Every so often, though, a little peyote slips into Geneva…
Whatever it is, I’m always left wondering whether anyone is truly passionate about these watches. In my view, they should be, as Patek makes some fine conservative pieces. Every so often, though, a little peyote slips into Geneva and something funky slips out of the works. The 5524G Calatrava is one such example.
Behind the ice-cubed curtain
I’ve never been inside the Patek Philippe booth at the show formerly known as Baselworld. It’s an intriguing ice cube-like formation that, if I’m being totally honest, looks like a Mark Newson Jaeger Atmos. It’s totally transparent, so one can see the goings-on, but entry is reservation only. Us Fratelli usually visited on Sunday and that’s when I was heading back to the Fatherland.
But, let’s be clear, I’m just not dandy enough to make it in there. This is the realm of Gerard, Robert-Jan, and Balazs. In fact, I heard that the trio held a Zoom call just last week in honor of when Basel should have been. They apparently dressed in all their “thanks for visiting” Patek neckties from prior years. Gerard, for example, has been attending for so long that he was festooned like a peacock. Yes, the jealousy runs thick from my fingers into the keyboard.
Rebellious designer tracksuit wearers clashed with traditional tailored suit wearers in a street fight resemblant of West Side Story.
And so it was in the year 2015 that Patek, in full view of its neighbors, debuted the 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. With a 42mm white gold case, large luminous numerals, and typical 1930s-40s pilot watch hands, the watch was an utter surprise. And the reception was mixed. Rebellious designer tracksuit wearers clashed with traditional tailored suit wearers in a street fight resemblant of West Side Story. And once the spilled caviar and Cristal were cleared, most came to a very sobering conclusion. The 5524G looked, and still looks, an awful lot like the Zenith Pilot Type 20. Patek shared historical pictures and information lending some credibility to their design, but the courtroom of public opinion often dislikes reading.
The 5524G in numbers
Despite the fact that the 5524G met mixed reviews, it sold when it was released. I don’t recall the aftermarket prices for a watch that now retails for a whopping €44,590, but slimy dealers did their best to charge a premium for a while. We’ll get to the current market later, but suffice it to say, things have quieted. Despite derivative looks, there’s a lot to like with this Patek. The caliber 324 S C FUS comes to us farm-to-table and is a two timezone movement with date function.
The watch has a skeletonized hand meant to show the home time. Meanwhile, two buttons on the left side of the case can be depressed to advance or decrease the local time hour hand. A couple of small windows on the dial let us know whether it’s night or day in both home and local time zones.
Brand fanatics often claim that the movement is the best thing since Armani created a ready-to-wear collection. The dial is actually dark blue and was issued in this color long before the hue was cool. Like Rolex, Patek opts for white gold surrounds for its indices. Regarding usage on the go, the 5524G is good for 60 meters of water resistance.
…this large watch is only 10.78mm thick.
I just completed a lengthy study and can confirm that this specification means that the owner and watch will survive the deep end of any pool at a Mandarin Oriental or Four Seasons resort. What’s truly nice is that this large watch is only 10.78mm thick. This means that it should have no issue going from boutique showroom to shady dealer safe to a second shady dealer safe to a middle-aged Supreme-hoodie-wearing goofball’s wrist.
In 2018, Patek added a red gold 5524R as a companion to the 5524G. It’s a good looking watch as well and tells us that the brand is sticking with this design. I do like a nice dose of stick-to-itiveness. But if it’s the original incarnation you’re after, you can score one at a pretty sweet discount versus retail. We’ve found a nice example with all of its boxes and papers for the sum of €34,323 located on the Main Line outside of Philly (Main Line = mega property taxes for those unfamiliar). The seller, who provided the photos, is Watchbox and they’re highly regarded. The question, ultimately, is how you, the Fratelli, regard this polarizing Patek.
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About the author
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became… read more
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