Editor’s note: This Hands-on Review of the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar has been photographed with the assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
What is it
The so-called Holy Trinity brands had a great year in 2019. Two of the stand out watches in our opinion were the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 ref. 5000H/000A-B582 and the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar, both in stainless steel. The former retailed for 62’500 AUD, while the latter retails for 52’650 AUD. We went hands-on with the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 end of last year and you can read about it here. But today we’re having a closer look at the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar.
The Patek Philippe 5212A is an idiosyncratic watch, that manages to walk the thin rope avoiding cartoonish-tacky and instead going for understated-yet-quirky.
The launch of the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar went a long way in cashing in on the popularity of the steel sports watches, and also bringing to the fore the popularity of the Calatrava family of watches amidst a sports watch boom.
Where: J Farren-Price Sydney, 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299)
Who is the Patek Philippe 5212A for: Anyone and everyone who can afford it, or afford to find one (at retail). In particular, I reckon it will be an ideal watch for young and savvy businessmen. The Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar is the perfect blend of smart with casual, understatement with refinement.
Basic Specs – Patek Philippe 5212A
The reference 5212A-001 features the calibre 26-330 S C J SE which is an automatic-winding mechanical movement measuring 27mm x 4.82mm. The movement comprises 304 components, 50 jewels, and beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h). It features a Gyromax balance with Spiromax silicon balance spring, a central rotor in 21K gold, and provides a power reserve of min. 35 hours – max. 45 hours.
The watch offers an okay water resistance of 30m (3 ATM) and comes on a hand stitched calfskin strap.
Patek Philippe 5212A – Hands-on Experience
The Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar happens to be my favourite Patek currently in their catalogue. While the media pictures and reviewers’ photos do good justice to this, on the wrist, it’s a different beauty altogether. This is because of two reasons: one, the proportions of the watch work great in my opinion (especially for someone with slim wrists such as 16.25cm in my case). And second, it is the combination of the silver opaline dial with the orangey-brown strap, the use of a black typeface that’s based on one of Patek’s watch designer’s own handwriting, and the framing of the entire package inside an all polished case with architecturally nuanced Cathedral-looking stepped lugs.
I must admit at this point that a number of collectors and enthusiasts alike I have spoken to seem to take offence with the white date wheel not matching the colour of the dial. Usually, I would too, conceding that it just jars. However, in the case of the dial of the Patek Philippe 5212A, it works in person (and not in generic photos anyway).
The dial is almost subtle creamy in reality with metallic treatment. With a fair amount of text. The white date disc stands out in a good way, strikingly displaying its obligation. Also the fact that it’s not framed helps declutter the dial. I know it looks jarring with the white against the cream, but try this on in person; the contrast does help elevate the legibility.
On the whole, there is a sense of quirky and human-touch to the dial that also brings the appeal for me. The lettering reminds me of the text on the Omega Constellation Globemaster Annual Calendar watches, but a bit more personable. The idea of a hand written script adds that extra bit of personal touch to the timepiece, adding a connection that sometimes is missing from objects of ‘mass’ production.
The aspect that makes it great for everyday wear is the legibility of the dial; despite a lot of text — 143 letters excluding ‘Swiss made’ text and 49 numerals besides the date — courtesy the circular and intuitive display of compilations on the dial, everything is highly readable at a glance. The black polished and faceted indices bring further depth and legibility, as do the four printed black dots between them.
I also love the red indicator hammer-style markers for the day and week hands, that bring a subtle burst of energetic colouring to the otherwise toned-down dial.
Another quality that makes me conform to the idea that the Patek Philippe 5212A is a great ‘one-watch-collection’ piece is the reading of 40mm diameter and 10.79mm thickness, and a lug-to-lug spacing of only 48mm. Those are just magic proportional dimensions right there. I have a tendency to compare a lot of watches with the Tudor BB58 simply due to its great proportions for slim wrists, and the Tudor’s measurements of 39mm x 47.2mm x 12.5mm strike a sense of comfortable familiarity.
A lot of very daily wearable watches I have handled in the past usually beat about the same measurements, and as such make for excellent ‘one watch collections’. For instance, the Lange 1815 Chronograph measures in at 39.5mm x 11.2mm x 48.4mm, and the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 I was talking about earlier measures 38.5 x 10.9 x 47.4mm.
It also helps that it is a very lightweight watch, one that can be worn everyday. The strap is not alligator or lizard, making it less formal. It is also a quick-release strap with a very unassuming tang buckle. The watch ain’t thick either, making it easy to hide underneath the cuffs.
Another plus is the inclusion of 20mm lug interhorn spacing which means finding after market strap options will be all buttery. And while thankfully the colouring of the strap does really complement the dial, I wouldn’t mind putting it on a red strap to bring out the redness of the tips of the two hands on the dial to make it a bit more casual and fun. There was a gentlemen at a Sydney vintage watch shop that was selling this watch a while back, and he had included a PP red suede strap as part of the sale; the combination of subdued red suede is truly killer.
That’s All Folks!
Calendar watches are a part of Patek’s legacy, having ‘invented’ and patented the annual calendar indicator in 1996. Even though the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar is not an annual calendar or a perpetual calendar or even a complete calendar with a moonphase thrown in for good measure, it in itself is pretty impressive, offering a weekly calendar with a semi-integrated mechanism; essentially, it is a basic calendar movement that factors in the day, the month, and the week, but according to the ISA 8610 standard.
Quirky. Smart. Casual. Understated. Refined. The Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar is all this and much more.
To find out more about the Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar and other PP timepieces, please head to their website here, or visit their authorised retailer J Farren-Price Sydney at 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.