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Dressed in The Best: Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96


In this new age, getting dressed for work is throwing on a button up because the webcam doesn’t see anything else. For most, gone are the days where if you worked in an office where you got up, buttoned up your shirt, tied your tie and spilled your coffee, all I might add, simultaneously as you rushed out the door. No more ironing your shirt every day and hanging up your suit at night, no more shining your shoes, I could go on.

One thing though, that has not entirely been lost, but often overlooked, is the importance of a quality dress watch in your watch collection. Today it seems as though the only reason why you’d have a dress watch is because your great-great-uncle gifted your grandfather with one, who gifted it to your father, who gifted it to…you know what I mean.


In most cases today, collections primarily consist of the most popular sports models, the new Rolex Kermit Sub, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, etc. What I want to bring you too, is a classic, often overlooked by the hype, and image that comes with the ownership of something new. Those stainless-steel sports models have become today’s “grails”.

Let’s take it back a bit.


We know the history of Patek Philippe, founded in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek, the company was always known for creating timepieces that were unorthodox, broke boundaries, set new standards, and were delivered to the highest echelons of society. Fast forward to 1932, with the familial addition of Jean and Charlie Henri Stern it was also the introduction of possibly the most iconic Patek Philippe dress watch of all time, and our subject today: The Calatrava Ref. 96.

Basic specs:

Case: 31mm

Case Thickness: 9mm

Lug Width: 18mm

The Calatrava line, which still continues to this day, provides wearers with a classy piece they can be proud of and pass on to the next generation, as their classic slogan implies.

It’s a watch that not only embodies the classiness of Patek Philippe, but one that you can wear without drawing too much attention to yourself. An understated solid gold piece, that gets noticed in the “if you know, you know” kind of way. Something appreciated by true connoisseurs and collectors from around the globe.

It’s those little details, the applied hour markers, the subtle branding, the perfectly proportioned sub-second dial at 6 o’clock. Even the angle of the beveled hands that dance in the different lights. It is a perfect piece to call your dress watch. A piece that you could turn into your heirloom to pass on to you great-great-nephew. A piece you could proudly wear on your wrist.


For 50 years, the 31mm Ref. 96 continued to be produced. Later on, the Calatrava line began to grow literally in size to accommodate the trends of increasing case sizes over the decades, but the original iterations, even at 31mm, look great on any wrist, male or female. So, even though you might still be at a desk in your home office, or slowly making your way back to your old one, consider bringing back the dress watch you your rotation. Something you can wear, not draw too much attention, and be proud enough to wear it for any occasion.


With the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96, there is no doubt that you would be in fact, dressed in the best.


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