Patek & Penfolds: A Watch And Wine Pairing To Last A Lifetime
Patek Philippe's Calatrava and Penfolds’ new California Collection make the perfect match.
Today, Watchonista looks at two marques at the top of their respective fields: Patek Philippe and Penfolds. At first glance, a Swiss watch brand and fine wine might seem like a natural pairing, but the Swiss aren’t known for their wines and Australia, where Penfolds hails from, isn’t known for their watches, so we had to look outside of their home countries to find the perfect match.
Patek Philippe’s motto is, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation,” and the same might be true for Penfold’s top wines, which can famously age for over 50 years. The only difference is that you can wear your Patek Philippe while you safeguard it for your children, and you can only lust after the Grange or Quantum as the bottles age in your wine cellar. Of course, you can drink some of them now, if you like. Penfolds prides itself on wines that are delicious upon release and have the potential to age for decades.
In addition, both Patek Philippe and Penfolds are among the oldest companies in their industries. Penfolds was founded in 1844, making it one of Australia’s first wineries, while Patek Philippe opened its doors as Patek, Czapek & Cie in 1839. Accordingly, they are noted for their exceptional craftsmanship and signature style, as well.
The Calatrava is one of Patek Philippe’s signature timepieces — it first debuted in 1932, and today’s watches retain the same elegant stylings as the original Ref. 96. First released in 1951, the Grange has been Penfolds’ flagship wine for a long time. This year, the winery debuted a new flagship wine, Quantum, made in the same spirit of excellence and longevity as the Grange. These modern interpretations of the two brands’ heritage make the perfect pairing.
The Ladies Calatrava Joaillerie, Ref. 4997/200G, is a superb example of Patek Philippe’s expertise. The concentric waves of the guilloched dial are coated with transparent blue lacquer that causes the color to shift in different lights and is truly mesmerizing.
The bezel is also expertly set with 76 round-cut internally flawless Top Wesselton diamonds, plus the brushed calfskin strap with a satin finish complements the blue dial perfectly. Inside the 35mm white gold case, it holds the ultra-thin automatic Caliber 240, created in-house at Patek Philippe. And its fine finishings are visible through the open caseback.
For the gentleman, Ref. 6119R channels the original Calatrava, but with a new movement and an updated dial. The bezel is decorated with Clou de Paris (also called a hobnail pattern), which gives it a refined and elegant look. Moreover, this new model, released in April, has a 39mm diameter rose gold case and the new manual-winding Caliber 30-255 PS with a 65-hour power reserve.
The silver-grained dial has a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock and applied rose-gold hour markers. I suggest you wear your Calatrava while savoring Penfolds’ newest innovation, Quantum; you won't regret it.
It can take years to develop new watch movements and complications, and Penfolds shares this patience. While Australia is Penfolds’ home, 20 years ago, it embarked on an ambitious transpacific project. Penfolds’ winemakers imported the best South Australian vine cuttings into California and planted them across the state. They spent the past two decades establishing the vines, seeing how they grew in the new climate, and blending wine to find something worthy of the Penfolds name.
There are four wines in the new California Collection, and the pinnacle is Quantum. This wine doesn’t have a traditional geographical indication, like Napa Valley or Australia, as it actually blends wines from both places together, creating a new “wine of the world.” This unique wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Shiraz. It is complex, full of dark fruits, such as blackberry and blueberry, and has notes from spending 16 years in American and French oak barrels, including cinnamon and hazelnut.
We recommend buying at least two bottles of Quantum — one to enjoy now; and one to look after for the next generation.