In a year when traveling to another time zone seems out of the question for most, watch brands continue to come out with travel watches. But watches are planned often a year or two years in advance—and who could have predicted the era we’re living in now?
In any case, whether you’re working from home and dealing with multiple time zones or you’re simply a fan of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot, the latest version might appeal to some for its smaller size. At 37.5 mm by 10.8 mm, the new white gold Ref. 7234G is notably smaller than its white gold predecessor—the Ref. 5524 from 2015, which came ina 42 mm case and was the first modern reinterpretation of the 1936 original.
Last year, Patek Philippe introduced a men’s platinum Ref. 5520P, which featured an ebony black sunburst dial on a black strap with four pushers that was 42 mm by 11.6 mm. The ladies’ Ref. 7234A, the first steel version, also unveiled in 2019, and the 2018 rose gold Ref. 7234R came in the same size as the new Ref. 7234G, but for those that wanted the Ref. 5524 in a smaller size, Patek Philippe has finally delivered.
It comes equipped with the self-winding caliber 324 S C FUS, operating home time, displayed by the white gold skeleton hand topped off with white lacquer, and a second time zone indicated by the solid hour hand, and a bidirectionally adjustable date at 6 o’clock. A day/night indication for local and home time is displayed in the small apertures at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. For legibility at night, the recessed white gold appliqué Arabic numerals come filled with a luminescent coating to stand out against the navy blue varnished dial.
The watch is put into action via one of the pushers on the left-hand side of the case, which moves the second time zone hand forward or backward in one-hour increments. If the wearer is not jet-setting around the globe or taking early A.M. calls from a far-flung second office, both hands can remain superimposed to indicate just one time. The pushers are prominent, which has caused some backlash in watch collecting social spheres, but like it or not, they make for an instantly recognizable design feature of the Calatrava Pilot (and they happen to be historically accurate to the watch’s original heyday, for pilots who needed bigger pushers to adjust the time while wearing thick flight gloves). Patek Philippe created a patented safety lock for the pushers that prevent unintended adjustments of the second time zone, in case you find yourself knocking them about. Not that you would be knocking around a Patek Philippe, of any kind, these days, but it does help peace of mind.
The Ref. 7234G comes on a navy blue strap with a white-gold clevis prong buckle—a design twist meant to mimic the harnesses that secured pilots’ deployable survival kits in case of emergency. It is also delivered with a vintage-style brown calfskin strap and retails for $48,295.