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Old 4 June 2023, 11:00 PM   #1
Timetaker34
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Patek Philippe Calatrava 5000J full review

I invite you all to my first review of an unusual and dear to my heart Patek Philippe time piece.

The 5000 Calatrava series is an important predecessor of what would become the model series 6000 which still exists today, albeit in a much bigger case. The general design characteristics on the other hand are still unchanged and a testament to the timeless design of this beautiful 90s vintage piece.

It all started out with the Calatrava 5000G, the white gold version in 1992. Now many of these informations have questionable sources, and I wouldn't put too much faith into the exact numbers. All I can find is that the white gold version has been produced in a limited number - somewhere between 500-1000 pieces. The yellow gold version the 5000J was produced throughout the 90s as is evident by the pre 1995 and post 1995 hallmarks. The exact production number is hard to determine but despite its success it is fairly limited and becoming more hard to find each year. There's also the rosegold 5000R version with a pink dial and blacks, leaf style hands.
There also exists the even more limited and less known 5000F which is limited to 100 pieces to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Patek retailer Hausmann. That version comes with an ivory dial and Breguet hands and numbers as well as an engraved, closed caseback.

Even between the 5000J series there are ever so slight different variations like an all gold printed dial or white printed dial.

The design of the dial was apparently inspired by the dashboard of a vintage Ferrari car, and you can clearly see the similarities there. It's being said the 5000 series originated as a planned collaboration between Ferrari and Patek. Since allegedly Patek wasn't willing to feature Ferraris logo on their dial this deal fell through in the end.

The watch itself has an unbelievable presence. The yellow gold case in combination with the black dial creates a timless aesthetic. The applied golden numerals, baton-style hands and the unusual railroad track dial with the small seconds being located in a very esoteric fashion between 4 and 5 o'clock are spectacular to look at and simply elevate the dial. The face of the watch doesn't look flat - the dial has depth and the golden applications are illuminating the otherwise pitch black background.


The shape of the case is thin, curved and modern. Never would've I expected a 30 year old watch to hold up this well. The lugs are mighty and towering on the case, they do not want to be subtle. The 19mm space in between the lugs combined with a dramatic tapering down to 14mm at the clasp - there are just so many interesting changes of shape, expectation and something dynamic that immediatly captured my attention. I have also chosen to order a custom made Camille Fournet black alligator strap, with rubber on the inside, so this watch can be worn in summer and won't start smelling or disintegrating due to sweat. The rouded tip of the strap just fits so well to the Calatrava cross style clasp. I can recommend anyone to skipping PP and directly going to their OEM, since the only difference is the logo on the inside. The order also took under two weeks from start to finish - which through Patek would've taken much longer and certainly would've cost more.


It is due to these incredibly strong lugs that the watch is wearing deceivingly bigger than you'd expect from a datasheet. While being 33mm in diameter on paper the watch is wearing much, much bigger. More close to 36, 37mm. On my 16cm, flat wrist, it fits like a glove. It is much like the NOMOS Orion which also requires people to rethink sizes and pay attention to lug-width and lenght instead. It is also the reason why, up until recently this model has been one of the best value Patek's on the market. It's easily overlooked when most people filter out smaller sizes.


Powering this simple, time only dress watch is the legendary caliber 240 PS. It allows this time piece to be only 7,5mm thin - which is for not ideal for my hair arms but I can get over it.
On the back of the watch, you can see through a wonderful display caseback and admire the Poinçon de Genève certified movement. This unobstructed view on the movement is certainly more unusual for a Patek from the early 90's and why it's so interesting to me. Any other micro rotor movement is usually powering a much higher priced watch and also bound to complications, which I can live without in this case. I do think the gold edge of the caseback could've been a bit slimmer, so it wouldn't obstruct as much of the movement and allow for a bigger sapphire crystal. You can see rougher finishing and more heavily machine milled movement plate edges, even though it was still being hand finished afterwards. Compared to newer Patek models, this doesn't look as good under strong magnification but without a loupe you practically wouldn't be able to tell. Truly worthy of the Geneva seal.


The 5000G caseback allows for a better view but also features models without the Calatrava cross on the rotor. As a side note: I didn't pick the white gold model because it doesn't have applied numerals like the yellow gold version. They're painted on the dial as well as having a weird, inverted "9" in my opinion. Coupled with the fact that it's the rhodium plated white gold and not the newer grey gold that Patek Philippe is using, it made my decision incredibly easy.

All in all this Patek 5000J is running strong with only -2 sec. per day in any position. I have no information on the servicing history of this piece but compared to my Rolex (+2 sec.) it runs just as good while being over two decades older.


Overall I'm extremely happy with my purchase. The desire to get a more petite and tasteful dress watch was born out of owning a 39,5mm micro rotor Chopard dress watch. I couldn't point at what was bothering me about it, except that the Chopard looked too big on my wrist. I still plan on doing a review on it too.
A nice dress watch shouldn't be overpowering on the wrist in my eyes and that's why my attention fell on the PP 5000 series. I was also able to completely flip my friends' opinion on this watch: from looking at pictures with a lot of reservation, to ending up loving it since they've seen it in person.

I hope you enjoyed this review and thank you for reading it.
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Old 20 June 2023, 01:11 AM   #2
Calatrava r
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Very nice watch and review of it.
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Old 20 June 2023, 08:08 PM   #3
Timetaker34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calatrava r View Post
Very nice watch and review of it.
Glad you like both, thank you very much!
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Old 17 August 2023, 04:56 PM   #4
kevinvigna
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I really like the black edition of Patek Philippe Calatrava 5000J. It is cool and classic
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Old 28 August 2023, 11:42 AM   #5
Chute
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Very nice. Love the micro rotor. Plus from what I’ve seen and read, yellow gold and black aren’t a common combo so that’s a special watch
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Old 29 August 2023, 03:28 AM   #6
ts3
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Great review and I share your thinking as to why you picked 5000J over 5000G. Not into plated WG watches myself, the 9 is just off on 5000G, and I also prefer the Calatrava cross on the micro rotor.
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Old 8 September 2023, 05:29 AM   #7
msmax
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The black edition of Patek Philippe Calatrava 5000J is absolutely amazing.
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Old 15 September 2023, 01:50 PM   #8
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absolutely stunning!
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Old 19 September 2023, 06:20 AM   #9
mongrelnomoad
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We have the same size wrist, and as time progresses, I find myself not only returning from the “standard” 40mm size of the last few years and returning to my more traditional happy place of 36mm, but even going smaller.

That’s a beautiful watch and makes me think I should start looking around the 33mm mark. It for sure allows the lugs to shine and explains all the wonderful ornate designs by PP and VC et al…

Enjoy it in good health!
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Old 3 March 2024, 12:03 PM   #10
Tenzing
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Hi there - I know this is an old thread, but I am considering purchasing this exact reference. Beautiful and simple. Any chance you have more photos of how the clasp looks on wrist? I have a concern that it will look too big relative to the smaller size case. I know I could get a new strap if needed, but would prefer to get it right the first time. Thank you.
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