You probably didn’t know that the first wristwatch was invented and designed by Patek Philippe, a renowned Swish watch manufacturer. It’s interesting that the first wristwatch was designed for a woman and it was intended to be a piece of decorative jewelry. The year was 1868.
Patek Philippe has been making watches for over 150 years now and is considered one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world. Throughout its rich history, the manufacturer has supplied timepieces for royalty such as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as Christian IX and Princess Louise of Denmark (the king and queen of Denmark). Pope Pius IX and Albert Einstein are also on the list of famous owners of Patek Philippe watches.
Patek Philippe has remained at the forefront of the fine watchmaking industry, and its prominent collections include fine dress watches, among which the Patek Philippe Calatrava holds a prominent position.
Let’s take a look at what makes the Calatrava stand out from other luxury wristwatches and from other Patek Philippe collections.
The best-organized manifestation of a round watch
Ever since the Calatrava was launched in 1934, it was praised for the combination of the signature Patek Philippe design and the enduring Swiss watchmaking practices. Patek Philippe went a step further with the Calatrava, making a round watch design appear ever so graceful and elegant.
The meaning behind the name
The Calatrava is considered by many to be Patek Philippe’s signature wristwatch. It’s no wonder since the name “Calatrava” was inspired by Patek Philippe’s emblem the Calatrava Cross, the pre-eminent symbol among the Iberian orders of Knighthood in Spain and Portugal. For a well-established watchmaker, naming a collection after their own emblem shows just how they felt about it. As the inventor of the first wristwatch, Patek Philippe had already had a long tradition of manufacturing luxury watches of the highest quality. The Calatrava was, and still is, felt to be the best embodiment of that tradition.
The metamorphosis of the Calatrava
Given its long tradition, the Calatrava collection saw many additions and changes to the original design. The core design has even been copied by many high-end competitors. Still, Patek Philippe continued to innovate and offer something unique compared to the competition.
For example, the invisible hinged caseback was inspired directly from the design of the pocket watch. Although it serves as a decorative standout feature of the Calatrava 5227, the design is aimed at protecting the perfect Patek Philippe movement. By making the movement visible, Patek Philippe reminded the world that their long-lasting tradition is owed to the faultless movements of their watches.
Vintage Calatrava wristwatches
Over the years, Patek Philippe watches have gathered lots of interest at auctions across the globe. The now iconic timepieces have always recorded exceptionally high prices at auctions, and the many variations of the original Calatrava are no exception. Vintage Calatrava wristwatches are among the most sough-after Patek Philippe collectible items, which is further emphasized by the fact that the famous manufacturer is making purchases in the auction market themselves in order to make additions to their own collection on display at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.
Vintage Calatrava watches are important not only to the Patek Philippe tradition, but also to the watchmaking industry in general, for the innovation in design and form. This is also what makes the Calatrava one of the most attractive collectible watches.
“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation”
The two sentences are the copy from the official Patek Philippe commercial, and sum up the philosophy of the Patek Philippe brand. As the last remaining family-owned independent Genevan watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe continues to grow based on strong family values. Therefore, if you are thinking of starting your own tradition of handing down your watch as a family heirloom, the Patek Philippe Calatrava is the watch for you. As Patek Philippe’s signature watch, it embodies all the perfection, style and tradition of this legendary brand.
At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, you can find an ever-changing immaculate collection of reconditioned pre-owned Patek Philippe watches. Our collections are assembled carefully so that you and your loved ones will have only the best. Visit us on San Diego Avenue and “begin your own tradition” with a world-class timepiece!