The Patek Philippe Calatrava is one of Patek Philippe’s most popular watches. This classic and elegant timepiece considered one of the most iconic luxury dress watch designs.
This round wristwatch has a number of versions, including models dotted with diamonds and dials with intricate designs, but the classic ones have the simple, iconic design of index markers with hours, minutes, and seconds hands with a date window at 3 o’clock.
Bob’s Watches, which provides a comprehensive article on Patek Philippe collections, tells the story of the Calatrava: the Stern family, which has owned the company since 1932, the year that they invested in the business (which was founded by different owners in 1839, when it was called Patek, Czapek, & Cie.), launched the Calatrava collection on the same year. Over the decades it has become one of the most sought-after luxury dress watches with a timeless aesthetic and classic look.
A Patek Philippe Calatrava costs tens of thousands of dollars and has a high resale value. The 39mm 5227G Calatrava, and the 5227R Calatrava for instance costs around $30,000 to $35,000.
If you’re looking for watches that have a similar aesthetic, read on. Below, we’ll list affordable alternatives to these iconic designs.
Best Affordable Patek Philippe Calatrava Alternatives
The Japanese-made Citizen Corso is an affordable, elegant stainless steel watch with a silver-tone dial and case. This is a 40mm model, with a clean ivory dial and a date window at 3 o’clock, is fitted with the brand’s revolutionary Eco-Drive technology, so it’s powered by any light and does not need to be charged.
This has the same design elements as the Calatrava—just slightly bigger at 40mm, with index markers, a three-hand feature, and a date window. The price is only around $100 to $150.
Another Citizen Corso model to consider is the 40mm Corso AW1236-03A, which has a combination of index and Roman numeral markers (at 12 and 6 o’clock). This model also has a three-hand feature and a leather strap.
Bulova Men’s Classic Automatic 96C131
This watch is off American watchmaker Bulova’s Classic collection, which has a wide array of simple yet sophisticated designs.
The Bulova Classic Automatic 96C131 has a classic and clean dial design. Like the Patek Philippe 5227G-010, this has a simple black dial and thin index markers. This is a 42mm model with an automatic movement with up to 40 hours of power reserve. There is a day/date window at 3 o’clock, and the strap is a croco-embossed black leather strap.
Another sleek model of the Classic collection is the Bulova 96B242, which is a stainless steel watch with index markers against an attractive cream dial. What makes this watch stand out is the simple yet striking green seconds hand. This one’s a bit smaller at 40mm and has a quartz movement with analog display.
Learn more about Bulova’s history and collections here.
Orient Bambino ER24003W
Japanese company Orient has been making watches since 1901. The brand is known for selling mid-range automatic and mechanical watches. One of the most popular collections is the Bambino, which is composed of classic dress watches.
The Orient Bambino ER24003W is an elegant 40mm watch with a gold-tone stainless steel case with applied hour markers and a date window at 3 o’clock. The watch has the domed crystal that Orient is known for, and has a solid screw-in caseback. This watch runs on Orient’s 21-jewel automatic movement.
Frederique Constant Slimline Small Seconds
Founded in 1988, Frederique Constant is a Swiss watch company that makes high-quality watches that won’t break the bank.
Like the Patek Philippe 5196J-001, this Frederique Constant Slimline watch—one of the brand’s most popular lines— has a small seconds feature at 6 o’clock.
This is a good watch for those who want something a little less robust. The midsize Quartz watch is a 37mm with a PVD stainless steel case and applied yellow gold-plated and dark grey-printed indexes. The watch has a sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown, and a date window at 3 o’clock.
You can read more about Frederique Constant’s history and watch collections on our Watch Review article.
Seiko Presage SRPC99J1
Those who are looking for another high-quality Seiko, there’s the elegant and relatively more affordable Seiko Presage SRPC99J1.
The 40.5mm Seiko Presage SRPC99J1 has a stainless steel case, a three-fold clasp with a push-button release, and a see-through caseback. Like the Calatrava, this watch has simple index markers.
There is a date window at 3 o’clock and a stop second-hand function. This watch also has an automatic movement with a manual winding capacity, with a power reserve of up to 41 hours.
Montblanc 110717 Automatic
Montblanc, which shares the same company as Cartier and Piaget, has been making watches for more than a century. Known for their high-quality and elegant fountain pens and leather products. The brand started adding watches to its catalogue in 1997.
Montblanc watches are known for their elegance, and this automatic watch is a good Calatrava substitute if you’re looking for something that has the same sophistication and simplicity.
The Montblanc 110717 Automatic has a combination of both Arabic numeral (on 6, 9, and 12 positions) and index hour markers on a polished stainless steel case and a black alligator pattern leather strap. Powered by the Montblanc Calibre 4810/914, this model has a 42-hour power reserve and 28,800 vibrations per hour. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, as well as an exhibition caseback. The water resistance is 100m.
Learn more about the brand—its history, reputation, collections, and warranty policy in our Montblanc Watch Review.
Larsson & Jennings LJXII Lugano Leather
The Larsson & Jennings LJXII 40mm watch is by Larsson & Jennings, a company that sells watches and accessories, as well as promotes a sustainable production. The Larsson & Jennings gold and black LJXII watch have a clean and simple dial with slim index markers and a Roman numeral marker at 12 o’clock. A 26mm option is also available.
A classic dress watch inspired by Swedish design, this Japanese quartz watch has a gold-plated stainless steel case with a snap caseback and a mineral glass. The strap is a simple black hand-stitched leather, with a water resistance of up to 30m.
The company was included on our list of Swedish Watch Brands. You can learn more about it and other Swedish companies here.
Nomos Orion 38
Nomos is a German watchmaker famous for its clean, minimalist designs. These watches cost thousands but are still relatively more affordable.
The Nomos Orion watch does not exactly look like the Calatrava, but both of them have a neat, legible design. Those who are looking for a watch with these design elements, and can be easily matched with both formal and casual wear, this elegant model is a good watch to consider.
This 38mm watch has a silver-tone stainless steel case with a white dial and sticks hands and index markers (there are also minute markers on the outer rim of the dial). There are a small second subdial and a large date window at 6 o’clock. Having a 42-hour power reserve, this model is powered by the Nomos Caliber Beta hand wind movement.
Other similar models to consider are the Nomos Orion Neomatik 39, which has striking tempered cornflower blue hands and gold index markers; and the Nomos Tangente 38, which has a combination of Arabic numeral and index markers.
Grand Seiko Elegance
Grand Seiko was introduced by Seiko in 1960 as a response to the challenge of producing the models with the same quality as Swiss watches. The brand offers luxury watches made by master craftsmen of Seiko’s exclusive watchmaking studios.
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGK007, off the brand’s Grand Seiko Elegance Collection, is a 39mm with a stainless steel case and a silver dial. There are two other functions aside from the hours and minutes (the small seconds and power reserve indicator), but they all have a minimalist design, not making the watch look cluttered. The strap is classic crocodile leather, and the glass is a dual-curved sapphire.
The movement, which can be seen in the see-through caseback, is caliber 9S63, with a power reserve of up to 72 hours.