If someone were to ask me what my favorite watch is, my immediate response would be, "the Calatrava!" No, not necessarily Patek's Calatrava, just the Calatrava. Longines, IWC, Movado, Ulysse Nardin, Omega, and a handful of other important Swiss manufacturers produced Calatravas, each slightly varying in shape, size, and dial configuration. Only days away from Christie's New York December 9th sale, it's the perfect time to point out some excellent Calatravas offered in this auction. Note that it is more than likely that these three watches are being sold publicly for the very first time.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN YELLOW GOLD CALATRAVA, CIRCA 1947
Vacheron Constantin clearly proved that Patek wasn't the only brand in town who could make a killer Calatrava. This wristwatch is smaller (33.5mm) than the soon-to-be-mentioned AP Calatrava, but is a lot of watch for not a lot of bucks. The value in this Vacheron lies both in the beautiful cream dial featuring applied Roman numeral and baton indices, and the iconic case shape nearly identical to Patek Philippe's reference 96. A caliber V453 17-jewel mechanical movement is fixed inside this yellow gold Calatrava case. At an estimate of $2,500-$3,000, it'll be an arduous task trying to find anything else on this planet as cool as this...well, you get my point.
AUDEMARS PIGUET STEEL CALATRAVA, CIRCA 1953
Okay guys, you may not think Audemars Piguet ever manufactured a Calatrava, but they did. This half-a-century-old, 34 millimeter piece of brilliant Swiss watchmaking is a classic AP dress watch, something we just don't come across too often. The reference on this piece is 5007 and a simple Google search will evince its rarity. An estimate of $8,000-$12,000 is suitable, but the higher end of the estimate is surely out of my comfort zone in terms of spending that much on a vintage, mid-sized AP dress watch. If the case size was upwards of 37 millimeters, I would tell you otherwise. Still, don't hesitate to bid, as this is a significant artifact of horological history just waiting to be added to your collection.
PATEK PHILIPPE CALATRAVA REFERENCE 570, CIRCA 1949
The Patek Philippe reference 570 has always been on my list of dream watches. Also, might I add, owning a Patek Philippe on a bracelet has become somewhat of a personal goal of mine. This exceptionally fine example of the 570 is precisely 35 millimeters, though, on the wrist, it will probably wear larger. I recommend a wristwatch like this to the most knowledgable WIS out there, or even a first-time collector. The $15,000-$20,000 estimate is more than fair and I wouldn't be surprised if it fetched a greater dollar amount. Its bracelet, case, dial, and movement are all signed by Patek. If I was in the market for a yellow gold 570, I would have absolutely no qualms about going for this watch.
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