Calatrava Rare 1st Series
Ref. 96 Early Steel Model
In 1932, when the Stern brothers wanted to widen the appeal of their newly-bought company, Patek Philippe, they cast off their fanciful old Art Deco styles, looking ahead instead with the clean symmetrical lines of their latest model, the Calatrava reference 96.
The progressive new owners of Patek Philippe were also among the earliest adopters of a revolutionary new material for watch cases: stainless steel. This product of Sheffield steel masters Firth Brown was licensed to watch companies such as Patek, Vacheron and Rolex under its trademark Staybrite. This is stamped into the case-back of the watch along with the marks of Patek Philippe, and the case-designer, François Borgel (famous for producing the first waterproof watches for Rolex).
The Calatrava ref. 96 has influenced Patek's designs ever since, with current watches like the ref. 5396 directly originating with this pioneering piece made in 1934.
This extremely rare 30.5mm steel example is in excellent condition. Its Patek archive extract makes an interesting attestation: the movement is a much earlier production, from 1925. In fact, this 12-ligne calibre is one of their classic great-war era LeCoultre-supplied ébauches, finished in the perfect Patek pattern of wolf's-tooth keyless wheels, cut bi-metallic balance, and kidney-shaped hairspring stud holder.
Perhaps waiting lists are not that new; clearly even in the 1930s, Patek had to reach well into their reserve supply of movements to satisfy demand for their most popular new watch.
Guaranteed for two years, this vintage Calatrava is fitted to a Patek alligator strap, and supplied with its archive extract.
Stock No. 11397
Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: 12''' Manual-wind, LeCoultre ébauche.
Papers: Patek Archive Extract
Our price: SOLD
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