An Ode to the Dress Watch: The Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119G-001

SHARP & Humbertown Jewellers

Even in a world where business attire has been migrating more to business casual, and where dress codes in general have continued to fall from favour, a dress watch will always deserve a home in one’s watch collection. This isn’t solely on account of modern sports watches being too large to tuck tastefully under a shirt cuff, but rather due to the undeniable elegance and appeal of a well-executed dress watch on its own. 

In recent history, there isn’t a brand out there that has refined the craft of the category better than Patek Philippe. The iconic Calatrava first came to market in 1932, and ever since the brand has continued to evolve and refine this elegantly finished classic. The Calatrava “Clous de Paris” Ref. 6119G-001 seen here is indeed a modern interpretation, but from its case through its caliber it pays proper tribute to the reference that came before it. Its bezel is guilloched with a hobnail pattern — also known as Clous de Paris — that first appeared on the Calatrava ref. 96D that was unveiled in 1934.

This bezel design continued to make scattered appearances in the Calatrava line a half dozen times over the years leading up to the unveiling of the 6119G-001 in 2021, and unlike other design cues that often spread throughout the watch industry, the Clous de Paris bezel remains distinct and proprietary to Patek. Its scarcity also makes this reference that much more enticing to the modern collector. For those collectors in the Greater Toronto Area, Humbertown Jewellers — Patek’s only authorized retailer in Ontario — can provide a first-hand look at this and other references.

Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119G-001 displayed on white tabletop.

Of course, the bezel design isn’t all that makes this reference special. It also marked the arrival of a new manually wound movement for Patek — the caliber 30-255 PS. The development of this watch had a few key targets: to increase its overall power reserve, while maintaining its slender 2.55mm thickness and ensuring the accuracy standards that Patek Philippe has long been known for (a maximum deviation of -3/+2 seconds in 24 hours). This was achieved with only a nominal increase in the caliber’s diameter, with a resultant power reserve of 65 hours, or nearly three days.

While respecting necessary traditions is important at Patek Philippe, that does not mean that modernization is out of the question. This white gold reference sports a charcoal dial with vertical satin finishing, fitted with white gold hour indices. This is complemented by a circular grained subdial at six o’clock, that is stepped nominally below the main dial surface to add a touch of dimensionality. Measuring 39mm across, its sizing is also on the more modern end of the spectrum. While dress watches of decades past often appeared in cases as small as 34 or 36mm, this increase in case size is able to suit a wider range of wrists all while falling within the conventions of the modern dress watch category.

Like many references from Patek Philippe, the 6119G-001 is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a nod to something greater, it’s a piece of modern horological history, but above all else, it’s an ode to the dress watch like no other. It’s the Calatrava that embodies the passion and values of a family-owned business, and that strives to perpetuate the philosophy of its founders by creating the best watches in the world.

See more Patek Philippe watches available at Humbertown Jewellers here.