Patek Philippe Calatrava ‘Clous De Paris’ Ref. 6119, a contemporary take on a cult favourite

The Patek Philippe Calatrava is a horological icon that deserves little to no introduction. Presented in 1932 under reference 96, the model is seen by many as the ultimate dress watch. Among the countless versions of the Calatrava, the Clous de Paris has turned into a Patek Philippe trademark since its introduction on the bezel of the reference 96D in 1934.

The hobnail finished Calatrava now comes with a more contemporary veneer, a slightly larger diameter, a dial with applied hour markers… Oh, and a totally new hand-wound movement.

Fast forward to modern days, the emblematic reference 3919 was introduced in 1985 and has often been regarded as the quintessential Calatrava. This unapologetically elegant 33mm dress watch was powered by the micro-rotor calibre 215. The reference 5119 (below top) introduced in 2006 was slightly larger at 36mm. It’s now time for the model to reinvent itself with a larger, modernized version. Meet the Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119 and its totally new hand-wound calibre.

Entering its 90th year, the Calatrava collection received a major update both inside and out with the Patek Philippe Calatrava ‘Clous De Paris’ Ref. 6119, or in shorter form, the Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119. It’s available in 18k rose gold and 18k white gold.

The round bezel, as the longer name of this new Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119 suggests, is decorated with a guilloché hobnail pattern called ‘Clous de Paris’, a pattern originally designed by French jeweller and watchmaker Boucheron. The ‘Clous de Paris’ are influenced by Parisian cobblestones and are a true hallmark of the French capital. The Clous de Paris motif reflects the city and its architecture. It is used in many of the Haute Joailler’s creations (including the legendary Carrée watches and Quatre rings).

It is a rather rugged-looking pattern that, precisely for its pyramid-like ‘roughness’, actually works like magic with the sophisticated and refined curves of the new lugs and the simple, round face. The dial now features obus-style hour markers that complement the hobnail bezel rather beautifully, and creates light effects that are contrasted with the brilliance of the Calatrava dial.

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 6119 – its reference number pay tribute to 1985’s 3919 and the 5119 of 2006 – distinguishes itself mainly with the slightly larger diameter of 39 mm. The case thickness is 8.43mm, lug-to-lug measurement is 46.9mm, the lugs are 21mm apart. The curved, tapered lugs instead of the straight lugs on the refs. 3919 and 5119 give the watch a slightly larger footprint, giving it more presence without having to grow the case diameter too much. Despite the larger case, the ref. 6119 remains svelte at just 8.08 mm high, making it a bona fide dress watch.

Patek Philippe says “It reflects the changing preferences of our era and emphasizes its presence on the wrist without compromising the slender elegance of its case.” which, frankly, is a slightly odd statement as the large watch trend has already begun to turn and I am not quite sure how much of an upwards pressure in terms of case sizing for iconic dress watches there has been.

But I digress. I am sure Patek Philippe has diligently done its own homework and assessed what its clients across the globe want from the next Calatrava. More importantly, the end result, judging from the official images, looks beautifully proportionate – to my eyes much more so than many of the Calatrava watches from recent times.

Powering the new Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119R and 6119G watches is what Patek Philippe calls a “totally new movement.” The goal was to create a hand-wound movement with a larger diameter than caliber 215 PS while being slim enough to keep case thickness in heck. The new caliber 30-255 PS has an inside case diameter of 30.4 mm (overall diameter 31 mm) as opposed to 21.5 mm for the 215 PS (overall diameter 21.9 mm) and an unchanged height of 2.55 mm as indicated by its designation.

Visible through the sapphire-crystal case back, the caliber 30-255 PS is beautifully finished with six bridges – one for each wheel or function – with Geneva striping as well as chamfered and polished edges. 

To preserve the height of 2.55 mm of the caliber 215 movement, Patek Philippe created a central pinion without a wheel plate that meshes with the center wheel via an intermediate wheel, as well as a ratchet wheel and a crown located beneath the barrel bridge as opposed to above it. Despite what we can comfortably call ‘ultra-slim’ build, power reserve has been extended to 65 hours – just about enough to last from a Friday evening until early morning on Monday. This is achieved despite the operating frequency being a rather high 4 Hertz – 4 Hertz over 65 hours is mighty impressive from a movement that is just 2.55mm thick.

This is largely due to the expanded diameter providing enough room for the installation of two parallel mounted mainspring barrels – which again is rather rare as double mainsprings tend to be series coupled. Working in parallel means greater torque which enables greater moment of inertia for the balance (which, at 10 mg/cm2, is indeed very high and the highest of all of Patek Philippe’s 4Hz movements.

The Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119 has a sapphire crystal case back to show off the new caliber. The watch is water resistance of 3 bars (30m equivalent). The dial is made of brass, and the hands and hour markers are in 18ct gold matching that of the case.

The Patek Philippe Calatrava ‘Clous de Paris’ 6119 is available in two versions. The Ref. 6119R-001 combines a rose-gold case, a silvery grained dial and a chocolate brown alligator strap. The Ref. 6119G-001 in white gold comes with a charcoal grey dial and a black alligator strap. The watch is fitted with a pin buckle matching the material of the case. The new Calatrava ‘Clous de Paris’ 6119 has a price of Euro 26,150.

The Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119 is available at Patek Philippe Boutiques and selected stores worldwide. For more information, come into the beautiful and timeless world of Patek Philippe.