Patek Philippe Calatrava Retailed by Tiffany & Co.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Retailed by Tiffany & Co.

Austerity is not a word one might connect with Patek Philippe, and yet in the 1930s even the mighty member of the Big Three felt the strain of the Great Depression.

For over a century after its founding in 1839, the manufacture had made a name for itself with the production of complicated pocket watches, attracting the attention of such luminous personages as Queen Victoria.

But the great stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression that followed saw consumers across Europe tightening their purse strings, and sales were faltering.

Along came two men—brothers, and themselves co-owners of a dial manufactory—with whom Patek Philippe would be inexorably linked.

Jean and Charles Henri Stern purchased a controlling interest in 1932, and soon set their minds to developing a product that would revitalize the faltering company. Since its reputation rested on the minute repeaters and perpetual calendars beloved of royalty, the Stern brothers sought to move Patek Philippe in the opposite direction. The prevailing trend in Europe was for simple, streamlined designs typified by the Bauhaus School formed by Walter Gropius in 1919.

Though the school was dissolved in 1933, its founding principle of gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”) dominated European art and design until the outbreak of World War II.

The Sterns enlisted the help of English watch designer David Penney to create a watch that distilled the Bauhaus tenets to their simplest principles. Gesamtkunstwerk called for each individual part of a thing—be it a building or a watch—to unite in a cohesive and completely functional whole. There could be nothing superfluous about it: no flourish or folderol unless it added to the functionality of the piece.

And since wristwatches were all the rage, the watch that Penney designed would be a wristwatch: round, with a slim case that featured integrated (rather than soldered-on) lugs. The dial would be simple, telling the time only. It would not show the day, or the date, just the simple progression of seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, that only two hands could tell.

For the name of this watch, the brothers reached deep into the annals of history. They found reference to a symbol that knights emblazoned on their banners, which was taken from the very city they defended. The city was Calatrava, and the symbol that the knights bore on their banners—the Calatrava cross—would go on to adorn the movements of this watch, the Patek Philippe Calatrava.

The Calatrava did as the Stern brothers intended, and has become the company’s most iconic watch, the centerpiece of its collection.

Throughout the years the Calatrava has seen many iterations—even one inspired by a pilot’s watch made in the 1930s—though never straying far from its founding principles.

The Calatrava that we offer here is a Reference 2464 manufactured in 1950. The case is a hair under 33mm, as thin and delicate as anyone would expect from a Calatrava. And the silver dial is simple, elegant, with applied gold markers and sub-seconds at six o’clock.

But the dial holds a secret, visible above the manufacture’s name at twelve o’clock: a second signature, that of the venerable jeweler Tiffany & Co.

The relationship between Patek Philippe and Tiffany is an old one. It started as early as 1851, when the jeweler first began offering watches made by Patek Philippe in its stores. Throughout the years the two companies have maintained that bond, which is proudly proclaimed on the dials of some of those watches—this one among them.

Accompanied by a box and an extract from Patek Philippe, this Reference 2464 is the very essence of Patek Philippe: beautifully proportioned, luxurious, simple, and undeniably elegant.


SKU: AS02327

18k yellow gold case is approximately 32.5mm (excluding crown). Reference 2464. Cal. PP 10-200 Manual Wind Movement. Circa 1950.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with minor signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including a scratch at 2:00. Signed crown.

Includes one 19mm dark brown Patek Philippe signed clasp with gold buckle.

Also includes box and extract from the archives.

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