The 20th anniversary of the Aquanaut is not the only milestone that Patek Philippe is celebrating in 2017. The company’s self-winding, micro-rotor Caliber 240 turns 40 in 2017, and variations of it appear in several new models, including the skeletonized version at the heart of the Patek Philippe Calatrava “Squelette” Ref. 5180/1R-001. Here’s a closer look at the watch.
Patek Philippe first introduced a skeletonized variation of its iconic Calatrava to its regular collection in 2008. The new model, whose movement is designated Caliber 240 SQU (for “squelette” or skeleton) spotlights not only the intricate art of skeletonization but also the painstaking craft of filigree engraving. Caliber 240 SQU’s plates and bridges are pierced to the maximum extent possible to allow the most ideal view of the movement’s inner workings without compromising its functionality. Aesthetic highlights include the opeworked plate directly above the mainspring barrel, which offers a tantalizing glimpse of the coiled mainspring underneath the carefully formed Calatrava cross — a symbol that has been a Patek Philippe registered trademark for more than 100 years. In all, Patek Philippe says, the skeletonization of each movement requires more than a full week of work.
After the skeletonization come further refinements on the workbench of an engraver, who devotes more than 130 hours, according to Patek, to add arabesque and volute decorations to the remaining structures of the movement. Among these flourishes are a “Patek Philippe Genève” brand signature on the barrel frame, around the decorated Calatrava cross, and a “PP” emblem, signifying the brand’s Patek Philippe Seal, on the microrotor, which is made of 22k rose gold. In the final step, the movement parts are plated in rose gold and polished to achieve a visual harmony with the case and bracelet. The movement-holder ring that frames Caliber 240 SQU, made of 5N rose gold, is also openworked, pared down to the 12 spokes that serve as hour markers in lieu of a traditional dial.
This drastically skeletonized movement’s horological performance remains sound, meeting the high standards of the Patek Philippe Seal, the brand’s in-house quality certification, with a rate accuracy of -3 to +2 seconds per day. Measuring 27.5 mm in diameter and a slender 2.53 mm in height, Caliber 240 SQU is comprised of 159 parts, including 27 jewels, and offers a 48-hour power reserve.
This elegant yet minimalist movement finds its home in a similarly understated round case, made of 5N 18k rose gold and measuring 39 mm in diameter and 7 mm thick. Topped on the front and back sides with large-format sapphire crystals, the case is water-resistant to 30 meters. The time is elegantly indicated by baton hour and minute hands made of blackened 18k white gold. The bracelet, also made of 18k rose gold, is secured by a fold-over clasp. The watch carries a retail price of $98,660.