Patek Philippe may be best known for making the Nautilus one of the most desirable sports watches of all time, but its catalog extends far past that. The company makes high-end timepieces in several categories, including dress watches, where the Calatrava makes a strong case as the best dress watch on sale today.
The Calatrava dates back to the early 1930s when the economic disaster meant that most people couldn’t afford luxuries like high-end watches. Patek designed the timepiece as a more affordable, smaller watch to keep up sales. The watch has evolved over the years, but today’s Calatrava isn’t a radical departure from the timepiece sold nearly 100 years ago.
Minimal design hiding technical mastery is one of the Calatrava’s calling cards. Newer models feature Patek’s latest movements, but the lack of elaborate complications means the units can be thin and keep the overall watch size compact. Patek uses a display case back on some variants, showing off its highly decorated movement underneath. The newer Caliber 30-255 movement offers a 66-hour power reserve, shock- and magnetic-resistant construction, and 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Though the case size has increased, the Calatrava remains an elegant dress watch at 39mm. Its astonishingly thin case means it slides under dress cuffs and sleeves of all types, and the variety of available dial colors and metals means there’s a Patek dress watch for almost any wardrobe. Water resistance checks in at just 30 meters, so this is not a watch you’d take to the pool, if the classy leather strap didn’t clue you into that already.