Basel--Inside the Patek Philippe booth at Baselworld, company President Thierry Stern, a member of the fourth generation of Sterns to run the venerable watch brand, did not hide the fact that the reactions to the new pilot watch had not all been positive.

The 42 mm Calatrava Pilot Travel Time has an 18-karat white gold case, a dual time mechanism and day-night indication apertures, one for local and one for home time, at 3 and 9 o’clock.

He said 80 percent of the people who have seen the timepiece feel that it is too much of a departure for the brand, a point of view that is apparent when scanning reviews online. Some sites compared Patek’s new pilot watch to lower-priced brands like Zenith or even Eddie Bauer. 

The criticism, however, doesn’t seem to bother Stern, who helms one of Switzerland’s last family-owned and -operated high-end watch brands. “I like it,” he said of the new pilot’s watch, with a laugh.

The 42 mm Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (Ref. 5524G) has an 18-karat white gold case housing the caliber 324 S C FUS self-winding mechanical movement.

Like other Travel Time watches from the brand, it has a dual time mechanism as well as day-night indication apertures, one for local and one for home time, at 3 and 9 o’clock.

The hands and numerals are painted with a type of Super Luminova used many years ago that had a greener glow, and the dial itself was designed to look like classic cockpit instruments.

It is believed the brand has not made a pilot’s watch since the 1930s, a time when the watch literally guided the flight.

Patek Philippe brought back the pilot today in attempt to appeal to a younger generation of potential watch buyers, albeit with a substantial income--the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time retails for $47,600.

The pilot’s watch was one of 35 new models from the brand to debut in Basel this year.

Patek Philippe introduced a total of 25 watches for men and 10 for women, coming off a year in which it focused on limited-edition pieces for its 175th anniversary.

In addition to the new watches, on display at the brand’s booth was last year’s million-dollar introduction--the $2.6 million Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175 created in honor of the Geneva-based company’s milestone.

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