Opinion and review on the 2015 Patek Philippe 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Aug 08, 2015,08:02 AM


Under the nice Parisian weather, I felt it was a nice moment to share my opinion and that we could have a talk  about the new 2015 Patek Philippe 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time I could see several weeks ago (a special thanks to Magnus for providing the beautiful pictures he was able to get at Baselworld).

Well, the least we can say is that this watch has created a significant buzz when it was presented at Baselworld this year and that people are quite uncertain still today whether they finally like it or not.

As far as traditional brands are concerned, it is usually quite difficult to bring such evolutions in style to the line-up. Especially when we are talking about Patek Philippe.

The artistic work of any brand and their creative crew is based on their imagination but also on the inspiration they get from the brand's legacy or art history. There is a huge difference between copying and getting inspiration from. The imagination and talent to use a brand's DNA is what it is all about.

One first thing I keep on telling myself since this reference was unveiled at Baselworld 2015 is that I saw many "Pilot" watches from other brands, especially since the last few years, and that each time I look back at the 5524G, I definitely find the Patek better finished (dial, case, applied numerals...), more appealing in proportions (42 mm thus not too big, like the 5070 was in fact, pushers, hands...) and much more interesting as regards to the beauty of the material and colors choice.

By the way, I think that we shouldn't think that it "looks like" (and thus "is inspired by") other brands' model which appeared more recently are misled: the design is inspired by aviation watches from the 20's - 30's.

All brands are getting inspiration from subjects they found in their past or in other's past. The talent is to be able to use this "material" to create something for today, bringing modernity, securing the brand's DNA without holding back the evolution trend.

In a word, I think the 5524G is maybe not the best toolwatch kind of pilot timepiece (it is in gold and not in steel), but the most beautiful pilot watch available today.


A pilot watch is by definition a watch that is not meant to please everyone because of its usually big size or specific style. It is a "niche" offer and is aimed at enjoying a very few people who will be receptive to the project.

Doing this kind of exercise is a huge challenge, because of the heritage of course, but also because of the pressure of every collectors or fans of the brand who all have a different opinion or taste in that field.

The goal of a brand is certainly not trying to satisfy everyone. This would lead to less interesting watches. But it is to be truth to its spirit and create something that will last.

Perfectly sized, very nice proportions, perfectly balanced...

Did they succeed to create that particular watch for those who want to collect something else, a little different from what their favorite brand used to do and at the level we expect from Patek Philippe standards in terms of design and quality?

Everyone will have a personal answer to this question but I personally think they did succeed. Time will tell what it will leave in Patek's history when looking back, in 20 or 30 years from now. Patek's history is full of examples of new watches that are part of the brand's history now and participated at shaping its DNA.

The watch

I think it is a very masculine and modern reference. I see it as a watch for travelers or willing to wear a more expressive model, sportier for the week-end and keeps a strong character. But respecting the luxury sector standard of Patek Philippe instead of getting a raw toolwatch.

Now, going into details, I think the unusual hands look really good and keep the watch attached to the beginning of the 20's century. The big numerals participate to this atmosphere. To me, picking among the leaf, stick, Dauphine hands etc... wouldn't have been a good move as it would be doing things half way.

Furthermore, the luminescent green coating power is stronger than on a standard watch. It is particularly visible in the dark of course. The numerals' frame give a very nice decoration touch as it brings an aditional attention to details (a little bit more luxurious and less "tool" of course).

The big pushers are quite weighing on the left of the case but this was a feature used in original pilot watches as they should be activated with gloves. So, it is not the classical balanced and discreet way but it is coherent with the origins of such a model.

I find the white gold case well designed as it remains simple in its curves. Most of the attention is directed toward the pushers and especially toward the dial.

By the way, the dial texture is something I like a lot in this watch (as well as the blue tone which was chosen). I would really want to be able to touch it to feel the surface's grain.

From, the different elements above, it is easy to see what Patek's idea was: creating a Patek Philippe watch worthy of the luxurious decoration and finishing details of the catalogue with an inspiration from the pilot watches.

Sometimes, we can say that trying to make two things at a time results in doing any of them the good way. I think they succeeded here in bringing Patek's standards (material elements) into an iconic toolwatch (spirit).

The finishing of the dial is stunning; the white hands' paint, the blued hands, the numerals' frame, the white printings, the grainy dial...

The movement used is the famous 324 automatic caliber with Patek's specific and clever dual time module. One thing I appreciate in this caliber and the 240 is the bridges' size and shapes as well as their decoration. Perfectly balanced to me, but this is of course a matter of taste.


The watch is provided with a brown strap and a simple pin buckle.

What we can notice once more here, in comparision to the dial's side, is that all the case, bezel and other "accessories" are really pure and simple in their design. I think it helps not getting a heavy looking watch as the dial is already the main attention focus area. Once again, it suits to the Pilot theme as watches were toolwatches, flight instruments and not used in a decorative way.

Hence, the Patek 5524G sticks to that spirit.


About the Travel Time complication.

I already had the opportunity to say how interesting and clever is this travel time complication.

The chief watchmaker of Patek explained me last year how it works.


Firstly and most important, the hour hand is able to go forward or backward (with the pushers at 9 o'clock) and the date will then be following the hour hand passing midnight, hence forward and backward too. This is a major design and this is what makes this Patek complication so special.

Secondly, the pushers at 9 o'clock can't be activated accidentally together. A little piece, linked to one button, is preventing to do so by disengaging a lever that activates the right gear.

Thirdly, a cam integrated to the hour wheel is preventing the date to be manually changed around midnight.

This a very interesting complication in which many clever and simple (reliable) ideas prevent the owner to make the wrong move.

This travel time is indeed very practical, able to be set very quickly (buttons and not via the crown) and safe for the movement.


Well, this is what I think of this new reference and what place it takes in Patek Philippe's collection: a very nice and unusual novelty which will have an impact on the brand's DNA for sure.

My view is that the Patek Philippe 5524G is a watch inspired by the pilot watch history but is not one.

The "pilot" theme supports the watch for a sportier man, wearing a strong character Patek watch, saying a lot about its wearer.

It is the most masculine and casual reference Patek has ever produced. More "male" than a Nautilus or a 5960/1A.

This is the kind of watch that you wear with suit pants and a shirt which sleeves risen up: an elegant casual way.

Most of the watches are too bulky or look much wider and don't have the elegance in the material choices (white gold and dial texture, movement) the 5524G has.

I truly believe this watch will be a huge hit, and not because of speculation or rarity reasons.

I'll be curious to read about how you feel after several months it was unveiled: what is your feeling? Do you feel it is a surprising and interesting Patek or do you feel you'll need more time to accept it? Do you love it or is it just not for you?

I'm looking forward to reading your comments smile


Mark In Paris

This message has been edited by Mark in Paris on 2015-08-11 03:45:53

More posts: 507055245524GcalatravacomplicationsnautilusPilot Travel Time

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I was very upset when I saw the first Baselworld 2015 report

 By: dr.kol : August 8th, 2015-08:23
and I heard that so were many people working for Patek. Interestingly, many who decided based on first impression to hate this watch, changed their minds 180 degrees after playing with the same. I am not convinced. However, I will pick up two new watches ... 

Don't be! It is normal not every watch appeal to us the same way

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:20
This is a particular model and won't be appealing to everyone. There are plenty of nice references out there and you know many of them :) Of course, it is normal to feel concerned about every references, even the ones we don't like. Tell us what you think... 

I didn't change my mind on it. I still don't get this watch.

 By: amanico : August 8th, 2015-08:25
Sorry to say, but I don't see anything special on this watch. The automatic movement is, well, ordinary looking, the case is so so, the dial is not very inspired. Well, I just don't get it, but this is just my opinion. At Patek, they made and make some ap... 

Perfectly understandable

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:22
For someone with your experience and references, this is far to be an easy one to understand. And you not the only one in that case. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion Nicolas. Cheers, Mark


 By: watchme : August 10th, 2015-10:20
I prefer, mechanically, the JLC Autotractor in the "Hometime." JLC didn't do a Pilot version of the Compressor, but easily could have. I don't think the 5524 is "brilliant," but like the Aquanaut, I think many a man's initial "revolt" will soften over tim... 


 By: Ed Watches : August 8th, 2015-08:58
It looks well executed in terms of finishing and movement, which is the least one would expect of a PP watch. For my taste, though, the design is a disaster, owing much to the sword hands and pushers. If I were out there for the complications this watch h... 

So would I

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:25
because I'm a great Nautilus fan. Concerning the pushers and hands thing, it is something that will certainly disturb collectors who are used to wearing Pateks. But I think we can nearly say, more or less, that they "had to be" designed that way. Thanks f... 

So would I...

 By: TheMadDruid : August 9th, 2015-17:14
and so I did. As for the Pilot, I didn't like it when it was first introduced and I still do not. The pushers are not only large (excusable) but impractical since they need to be unscrewed to be used. White Gold instead of steel belies the "Pilot" or "too... 

Future direction of the brand

 By: Mark in Paris : August 10th, 2015-02:33
This reference brings naturally several questions indeed. Time will help to see more clearly how it "lives" in the whole collection. Just a little correction to begin with: the pushers are not screwed on the 5524. It is much practical that way indeed. I a... 

Valid points, Mark.

 By: TheMadDruid : August 10th, 2015-14:59
We can agree to disagree. I thought the pushers needed to be unscrewed before they can be pushed, no?

It is difficult to find the right answer

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:07
but from the pics and articles I could see it really seems to be normal pushers. Cheers, mark

If the watch looked like the 3rd Picture...

 By: Brandon Skinner : August 8th, 2015-10:21
...and only the third picture, I think I would like it 10x better. The pushers on the left-hand side of the case are too much of an eyesore for an otherwise nice looking pilot watch inspired from the designs of the 20's and 30's.

Funny you say that

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:29
as I like this one too and the 7th a little bit more. Of course, in general, the "live" experience is compeltly different from pictures and I'm sure you would like it more it you could try it on. As I told Ed, I think the pushers are quite the ones which ... 

mixed feelings

 By: cuibono : August 8th, 2015-10:27
although at first look, i liked this watch, it reminds me a bit of a blancpain leman, and i think the latter is better executed. i'm not commenting on quality of finish here, just the spirit/style. something ineffable. on the good side, this patek has gre... 

first of all, many thanks Mark for this review

 By: ch9698 : August 8th, 2015-10:33
beside the discussion concerning the "right" for Patek to make or not a pilot watch, which is for me a "non debate", I had the opportunity to try this watch, and really nothing happened. end of it

This is good common sense CH'

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:38
and to everyone to see if we "feel" it or not. There are many others fishes in the see of Patek! Thanks for the kind comments CH'. Cheers, Mark

To me it looks like the hands are indeed

 By: dr.kol : August 8th, 2015-11:34
from Blancpain Leman. But I'm afraid that for the time being I like Blancpain more. Best, Kari ...  

We all have our references

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:36
However, except the general hands shape and maybe some numerals, I personally can't see a common origin. But the Leman has more standard dimensions, which make it more acceptable maybe for someone who is not into the 5524. We all have our experience and I... 

you have to see it on the wrist

 By: P@trick@Belgium : August 8th, 2015-12:12
When I saw the 5524G first on pictures I had a so so feeling, not bad but not wow also, first of all let me say that I love pilot watches, had an IWC big pilot in the past, a smaller IWC pilot chrono, Zenith type XX and Stratos , Breguet type XXI, .... we...  

I totally agree

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:44
and I think you summarized the whole thing perfectly Patrick. Certainly better on the wrist and if it doesn't "match" then there are plenty of references beside this model. But this is not a mistake to me either. Thank you for your interesting view on the... 

Thanks a lot Mark for this article

 By: cisco : August 8th, 2015-12:13
It's a watch that certainly deserved such a post. Trying to understand and underline the main points. Your photos are great and shows very well the watch. I still don't like it, especially the pushers, the complexity of the dial with "local" and "home", t... 

Something different

 By: Mark in Paris : August 8th, 2015-13:49
The pushers seems indeed to be something which bothers many of you here. On the other hand, people usually like the grainy dial look :) I'm also curious to see what people will think about it in 10 years from now. Thanks for chimming in about the 5524 and... 

Date changes: forward and backward

 By: wover : August 8th, 2015-13:08
Hi, "Firstly and most important, the hour hand is able to go forward or backward (with the pushers at 9 o'clock) and the date will then be following the hour hand passing midnight, hence forward and backward too. This is a major design and this is what ma... 

Yes indeed they do

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-06:24
but it remains a very rare feature and a unique example concerning Patek Philippe! Cheers Wover, Mark

It's a pilot watch. Hometime complication.

 By: geross : August 8th, 2015-14:30
Have not seen it up close. But its understandable to be big. Other brands have 45 mm go 48 even 50 , its like a wall clock on your wrist. Too much. This patek is understandable go 42 mm cause its made for aviators who wear gloves , a tool watch for the ma... 

Well born

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-06:27
I agree Geross, this size makes it much more wearable to most of the people who are interested by pilot watches. We share the same approach about the watch, it is special and corresponds to a specific use/taste. Thanks for sharing your opinion Geross. Che... 

Will not sell...

 By: Ares501 - Mr Green : August 8th, 2015-15:02
like hot cookie...but will fetch amazing figures on auctions in future Just my 2 HRK Cheers D

I think this is what drove the project

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-06:29
It is meant to attract a very small niche of people who would like to go for something very different, but still with Patek's criteria. Thanks Damjan for your input! Cheers, Mark

Astute dear Damjan.....

 By: Sandgroper : August 10th, 2015-19:02
and to the point:) Cheers Francois

hard to get

 By: watch-er : August 11th, 2015-09:53
I think they are very hard to get now and will always be so because production will be limited and geared to demand, unlike some recent flops.

First of all many thankss Mark for this comprehensive review

 By: Mike H : August 8th, 2015-15:38
I am afraid that after few months I still don't fall in love with it. I was lucky enough to try it on the PP booth at Basel and as CH mentioned nothing happened really, apart from being surprised that it carries PP name... And because there are so many ot... 

My pleasure Mike!

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-06:43
You feeling is shared by many of the replies I can read. This is certainly a watch that will be appealing to a very particular target for sure. We'll see maybe in the near future how the potential clients (which part of the world, age etc...) will move on... 

Mark, thanks very much for this detailed re[port

 By: watch-guy.com : August 8th, 2015-16:09
I have not seen this model in real life and it is difficult for mr to comment but my first impressions are still "WTF"?? I have bought a few PP sight unseen and have not been disappointed but I would be loathe to lay down my hard earned dollars on this pi... 

You're welcome Julian :)

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-06:49
This was certainly a big surprise for everyone in Basel. I understand this is really not, yet, something for you and there are many other great references to compete with. I would say you really have to want a pilot or tool watch to start thinking about t... 

Great review Mark, thank you!

 By: GT3 : August 8th, 2015-17:21
When I first saw the 5524G I was shocked and thought it was a big miss. Recently I had the pleasure to see it in real life and I actually quite like it. The size is just perfect IMHO. Usually I really don't like the Pilot watches because the are simply to...  

You're welcome H!

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-14:43
The first "cold" impression is something many have shared here too. And the experience to see it in the metal, also improved our opinion (at least for some of us). The kind of Patek people are not looking for at first, but will come maybe to think about a... 

Although not for my taste,

 By: masterspiece : August 8th, 2015-21:16
you gotta love the 324 caliber. This piece, to me, is kind of like U Boat meets IWC meets Graham meets Shinola = 5524. Perhaps if I saw it in the metal I may change my mind but ~ I doubt it. To those who love it, great! That's what this forum is all about... 

Among all the widely produced auto movements

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-14:53
I think the 324 is the high-end workhorse caliber I prefer: the finishing but also the bridges' shape and decoration which is light and not looking "heavy". You 5524 equation is quite original! And I think it is much more than that. You'll tell us when yo... 

Pictures don't always do a piece justice.

 By: masterspiece : August 10th, 2015-12:49
Perhaps seeing it in the metal and playing with it a bit may change my opinion and perspective ~ if one ver makes it to Hawaii. :-) Aloha, Bob

Hope you'll be able to play with one Bob

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:06
and please share your experience then! Cheers, mark

Will do. :-) Aloha. Bob [nt]

 By: masterspiece : August 11th, 2015-09:46

should have been in steel

 By: Bruno.M1 : August 9th, 2015-00:41
I have to confess, the first pictures I got before it was announced at Basel this year I thought it was a joke. This was NOT a Patek. A few days later when it was indeed showed at Basel I still was confused. But that changed. Didn't take too long before I... 

Your surprise was shared for sure

 By: Mark in Paris : August 9th, 2015-14:59
Congratulations to your friend and we'll be very interested in knowing about your feedback Bruno. And I'm sure we'll have those beautiful shots of yours too :) As for the material, well, I think that Steel has a special place in Patek's history and it is ... 

This is the new nautilus and very hard to get so please

 By: christianch : August 9th, 2015-13:09
To the naysayers do not worry: this is an incredibly difficult watch to get (huge waiting list here in Switzerland) so I found it amusing that so many say "I wouldn't want one...this is not patek" -- you can certainly not like it but this is the new nauti... 

I share your excitation

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:30
but maybe not the fact it is the new "Nautilus" (depends in which way though). But I find it is certainly the new very sporty and casual watch from Patek. It will look so good on a strong man's wrist. It is well made and has its own character and I'm sure... 

I really like this watch....

 By: watercolors : August 10th, 2015-02:00
thank you for the in depth review. Happy wearing! Best Edward

Thank you Edward

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:33
I like it too very much as long as it is worn the right way. I would really see it with a smart casual outfit. It's a very nice travelers watch. Cheers, Mark

Any other name on the dial and it would be a nonstarter! IMHO

 By: Kamy : August 10th, 2015-04:23
And so utterly ridiculous that it's in white gold! Don't know any professional pilots that could afford it ;) But the review and the beautiful pictures is much appreciated :) Cheers, Kamy

Even in steel...

 By: Ornatus-Mundi : August 10th, 2015-04:44
I guess it would not pass the procurement process of any armed forces or airlines. Price would be prohibitive. As a conversation piece, I guess it was a genius move on Patek's side. Cheers, Magnus

Well Kamy,

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:35
I'm not sure it is a watch "made for" pilots but more a real sporty (for casual wearing) Patek inspired by pilot watches. It won't pelase to the majority, at least for now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Cheers, Mark

It is the best value for money Patek: a wg watch for the price of a steel watch

 By: COUNT DE MONET : August 11th, 2015-00:45
I have not seen it yet but I liked it straight away. It is a nice traveller's watch and I am sure there are plenty of financially potent travellers in the league of Patek buyers. Further it is a very noble looking pilots watch and a true Patek in executio... 

Well Moritz, we are completly in line baout this reference.

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:24
I added how I felt just before reading your comment and I totally agree with you. It is a "noble" (as you said) sporty watch and witha lot of character. It will suit to travelers in a very nice way. As you do, I would change the strap which is not my tast... 

ADDENDUM: I added something at my conclusion

 By: Mark in Paris : August 11th, 2015-03:20
I forgot to include the way I see it and how it will behave in the future. Cheers, Mark

I love watches, period. And, not just Pateks.

 By: whit : August 13th, 2015-09:22
Forget quality for the moment and considering cosmetics alone, there are other watches of similar style which are more appealing to me. I do like the dial, not crazy about the large pushers at all, even though I understand their purpose and necessity. For... 

I think you sumed-up it very well

 By: Mark in Paris : August 14th, 2015-14:26
As long as someone is not hardly looking for this kind of watch, there will certainly be some others before in its wishlist. As for the future, I think it is a good test even if there are many current models that will occupy their team already. So, not ve... 

Mark, as always your review is excellent. I am not a frequent

 By: kpk : August 14th, 2015-01:06
contributor on the PP forum though I am an owner. (I have possession of two ladies PP from the 70's and 80's belonging to my late-Mom.) - While I love PP as a brand and for its amazing history an back catalog, I have mixed feelings about modern PP. They t... 

Agreed. 100%.

 By: TheMadDruid : August 14th, 2015-06:05
I do think Patek is becoming more concerned with making money these days, and this will come back to haunt it. The brand is still worthy of praise; and it still makes many marvelous watches. But the numbers of watches it makes today has to lead to downgra... 

There is a lot to discuss on this topic

 By: Mark in Paris : August 14th, 2015-14:44
Firstly, thank you for sharing your honest opinion about what you think on the market. I guess the demand evolves very much (for the last decade at elast) and that Patek Philippe has expanded its offer. It is a matter of increasing the qualified workforce... 

I love it...

 By: Fricks : August 15th, 2015-09:18
... Even if at 1st sight i was disturbed by the 2 pushers at "9". Reminds me of the pushers of JLC... Felt it would look nicer without them. But overall its a nice watch. Finishing is great and well above any pilot watch. I think its a wrong debate about,... 

I totally agree

 By: Mark in Paris : August 17th, 2015-07:13
we seem to share the same feeling about this novelty. However, this is also the kind of surprise that needs to appear in small touches and we shouldn't have too many at a time. Thanks for your feedback Fricks. Cheers, Mark

I don't have any Pateks in my collection

 By: reintitan : September 14th, 2015-18:08
but if I were to get one, I wouldn't mind getting this one. Maybe I'm looking at it from "fresh" eyes, but I like what they've done here. Forget the lack of so-called "DNA" in that Patek never made a Pilot watch like this in their history. This watch sets... 

You're touching a central point here

 By: Mark in Paris : September 15th, 2015-06:53
as people may come to Patek for the first time and not necessarily have a knowledge of all its rpevious pieces. To make this new reference, they created something instead of just getting inspiration from existing ones. I 100% agree with each of your point... 

at first glance....

 By: keks : September 17th, 2015-03:39
my reaction was shocking as I recall seeing it stick out like a sore thumb among the new offerings when announced. however I have to admit that looking at it from a distance I do not mind the look and spirit of the piece. But looking at it closer there ar... 

This is indeed a watch leading to very personal reaction

 By: Mark in Paris : September 19th, 2015-15:01
even more so as it is very unusual for Patek. Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion Keks, this is definitely a watch that will not gather a consensus! Cheers, Mark