If someone wants to put this watch under my Christmas tree, they are most welcome. Not that it’s going to happen. This is an 18k gold Patek Philippe Calatrava from 1938.
In fact the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref 96, while rare, is still popping up all over the web in a variety of different metals, but of the ones I have seen, the 18k gold version with the rare black dial with applied gold markers looks the best.
There’s a great deal of extra work that goes into the creation of the black dial as opposed to the more common silvered dial. The white text and chapter indexes go onto the dial as white enamel and get baked on. The black dial colour is also baked on enamel. The baking and painting are repeated until they are perfect and then the dial is hand lacquered. This watch, complete with the railway track minute divisions still has its original lacquer and is in perfect condition.
The Calatrava Ref 96 looks best of all when it comes on the gorgeous and original 18k gold bracelet you see here.
Compare it to the same model made a year earlier on a quality leather strap. Still a great looking watch, but it was simply made for the gold bracelet.
The solid 18k gold case features an 18k snap back with lip, distinguishing it from the later reference 96 backs and case production.
The case is of course small by today’s standards at 38.5mm lug tip to lug tip, and 30.5mm in diameter and 9.8mm thick.
The watch runs on the original Patek Philippe Calibre 12”’120 with 18 jewels and a Breguet balance spring. The watch is currently avaialble on Ebay and US$26,950 seals the deal or you can make an offer.