With how the world is at the moment it seems somewhat bizarre for Patek Philippe to release a pilot's watch, but that's what they've done. While we might not be travelling around like we used to be, Patek's new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time still makes for the perfect wrist-mounted travelling companion for those lucky enough to get to travel. Sure, having dual time zones don't seem particularly useful at the minute, but Patek has always been inspired by the future and their decision to ignore the current global situation is not surprising. Adding onto an already strong showing of novelties this year, Patek has done it again with this latest release, no matter how out of place it seems on the surface.
When the original Calatrava Pilot Travel Time was released in 2015, it was received with a sense of surprise. The Calatrava collection's design has always been simple, elegant and classical. The Pilot Travel Time took all of those design choices and flipped them on their head. This was a rather bold move for Patek as while they had not only expanded the Calatrava, a flagship collection - the Travel Time variant was also their first foray into pilots watches. Sure, some prototypes exist, but they weren't the modern thing. The Travel Time was a surprising merger between Patek's elegance and the sportiness of a pilot's watch. The duality of its modern tool-watch design and Patek's luxurious use of precious metals made the Travel Time quite a popular watch for Patek.
While the original reference (ref. 5524G) of the Calatrava Travel Time was a 42mm men's watch, Patek had released a rose gold version (ref. 7234R) in 2018 that was marketed towards women in a 37.5mm case. This latest reference, the 7234G, introduces a new colour scheme and a new material to that more feminine-focused collection. While customers and the overall community continue to push Patek for a stainless steel variant of the Travel Time, this feels like the closest we will get. While Patek's reluctance to use stainless steel might be frustrating, it's just not a material Patek are particularly interested in using, as President Thierry Stern has said in the past.
With its 18kt white gold case, blue dial and blue leather strap (a vintage brown strap is provided too), this is a remarkably more masculine piece than the original brown dial, brown leather and rose gold case ref. 7234R variant that preceded it. This seems to provide evidence of the fact that the market appears to be edging closer towards smaller timepieces. Sure, large watches are still popular but with brands like Breitling and Panerai beginning to downsize it indeed suggests where the market is going, and this masculinisation of a feminine piece seems to build upon that idea. This latest 37.5mm variant of the Travel Time is certainly not just for ladies, but men too, making an authentic a unisex piece. With its large military-inspired numerals, prominent crown and pushers and brass-based grained blue dial, this is a watch that would look incredible on anyone's wrist.
If you would like to see more information regarding the ref. 7234G-001 please feel free to check out Patek's website here.