Classiest Watch: Patek Philippe Calatrava or Orient Symphony?

December 4th, 2012 Posted in Orient Watch Reviews | 27 Comments

Without question, Patek Philippe is one of the oldest and most innovative watchmakers. With its origins dating back to the 1850s in Geneva, Patek Philippe has been the watch of royalty, worn by kings and queens, sultans, princes, and dukes.

The Calatrava, specifically, is Patek Philippe’s signature model, honing in on the company’s heritage and history while acknowledging its place in the contemporary watch world. Offering some of the most complex watches, Patek Philippe’s timepieces are naturally among the most expensive.

So, in today’s battle of the classiest watches online, let’s pit the Calatrava against the Orient Symphony.

Check it out.

Patek Philippe Calatrava

As mentioned, the Calatrava is Patek Philippe’s signature model. The epitome of class and elegance, this watch offers a pristine dial, typically on a refined 18k gold case, although certain models feature a platinum case. Calatrava’s cases are generally small (35-38mm). A small case adds to the watch’s clean and subtle design. Ever-detailed, Patek Philippe also offers detailed cases from a “hobnail” pattern bezel to a smooth, shiny finish bezel to a baguette-shaped diamond-lined bezel.

No matter the style, all Calatrava models have a few mechanical things in common. These include a mechanical self-winding movement, which varies in complexity depending on the model, sapphire crystal over the dial and case back, and 30m water resistance.

Sapphire crystal, diamonds, gold, platinum, and exceptional watchmaking can add up to quite a hefty price tag. A simple Patek Philippe Calatrava model is around $23,600. And although you may have luck finding online watches for less, be sure to check out the Orient Symphony for an affordable alternative to the Calatrava.


Orient Symphony

A fairly new Orient model, the Symphony is quickly becoming one of Orient’s best selling watches. Its classic look paired with an exceptionally affordable price (use Orient’s online watch discount code for added affordability), makes it easy to love.

What’s even better is that the Orient Symphony shares a lot of the same essential features as the Calatrava. Let’s see… clean, easy-to-read dial, mechanical movement, and a variety of styles are just a few.

The Symphony may not be lined with diamonds, but a stainless steel case is timeless and solid. A bit larger than the Calatrava, the Symphony measures in with a 41mm case diameter. This slightly larger case is another feature that has made the Symphony so popular. Though it’s slim and sleek with a subtle dial, it still offers a significant presence.

Like the Calatrava, the Symphony is complete with 30m water resistance, but unlike the Calatrava, the Symphony is also equipped with a date calendar for added convenience.

At $210, the cost of the Symphony is a tiny fraction of the Calatrava’s. That’s a lot of watch and a lot of class for a little price.

Who would you award “classiest watch” and why? Leave a comment below!

  1. 27 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Mobags on Dec 4, 2012

    I’d have to give it to the Symphony. It has a cleaner, more refined look.

  3. By Marc on Dec 5, 2012

    the patek. the crown is more subtle and leather is always classier.

  4. By Derik on Dec 5, 2012

    Personally I would award the “Symphony” classiest. Patek are great and timeless, and to be honest I could never afford one. If I could I wouldn’t spend the money. It’s a watch not a down payment on a house.

  5. By Amogh on Dec 5, 2012

    The Symphony. It just has a cleaner more refined look.

  6. By Don on Dec 5, 2012

    I love Orient. I love Patek (maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a nautilus). But I have to go with Patek. It is the apex of subtle luxury.

  7. By Dan on Dec 6, 2012

    Well how can you beat 18K gold? But for the value the Orient is hands down the winner. For 21K I can buy myself an orient, a nice suit and a maybe a pre-owned BMW and still have some change left over. Well if I wanted to impress someone I would buy the 21K watch.

    Right now I’m wearing a MAKO and feel pretty impressed!

  8. By Kelly Gerber on Dec 8, 2012

    It looks very elegant and as well as functional. Its very affordable. I think it will be a very seller.

  9. By carrie ernst on Dec 9, 2012

    your orient watches are always classy and high quality,they make only the best

  10. By Thinh L on Dec 9, 2012

    I actually browsed the site for Symphony models and I have to say the ER27007W is, aesthetically, every bit as timeless as the Patek.

    Patek Philippe does have the huge advantage due to their history, but Orient has done a superb job.

  11. By Edgar A on Dec 17, 2012

    Both are beautiful. I love that Patek has the classic sub second dial but i bet if you put a croc or alligator pattern leather strap on the Orient, it would look even classier.

  12. By wm justin on Dec 20, 2012

    Great watch…I have owned an Orient for ten years or so keeps better time than some of my seikos or citizens

  13. By Sharnta on Dec 22, 2012

    I would rate your watch the classiest. Great quality in different price ranges.

  14. By phil on Jan 6, 2013

    Bookmarked. I will definitely share this one out in my site.I agree, Patek packs the punch since they have the history, but how can you go wrong with the Orient’s Symphony? For a measly $200+ investment, you can have a fine mechanical timepiece that looks sharp and classy. My mind goes to Patek however my heart to to Orient.

  15. By alex on Jan 18, 2013

    Van Gogh or John Johnson.
    JJ is cheaper, brighter and shining better…
    (i have 3 orient star, good watches, but another level than PP)

  16. By SuzeeQ on Feb 11, 2013

    The Patek is a time piece that’s classic,sophisticated, and elegant. That said, the Orient is an exceptional watch! Looks like the hubby may receive a ‘timeless’ gift this year. Thanks to the Orient Watch!

  17. By Thor on Feb 12, 2013

    I am leaning towards a domed crystal, like the Bambino model

  18. By rj grant on Feb 19, 2013

    i love the look of all the watches

  19. By Ed on Feb 26, 2013

    Love them both. Patek are great but value for money wise the Orient is a clear winner.

  20. By Ken DaSilva~Hill on Mar 8, 2013

    Sadly many people confuse class with cost. Surely the value in a watch is in its ability to register the time accurately enough for one to be able to work to daily schedules. Some watches are Jewelery first, timepieces later, so this has to be taken into consideration. It does not matter to me if the casework is Gold, Stainles steel or other metal, although I do draw the line at plated base metal or watches with plastic cases. Affordabillity is of course a factor, as well as the wearers self esteem ( or lack of it! ). It is easy to give an outward persona of wealth by wearing items which are percieved to be ‘Right”, however there is a huge difference between cost and value. The rich of course, wear designer clothes for example, whilst the ordinary people wear designer labels ~ often on the outside of their clothes! To me the quality of a persons shoes has always been the main indicator of their wealth, good shoes cost a fortune, look beautiful even when old and are only worn by the wealthy and knowing. Oscar Wilde once described someone he knew as a person who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. It seems to me that this situation now pertains to most people. The Orient is by far the best buy here ~ who needs a quarter of the value of their home hanging on their wrist?

  21. By John on Aug 25, 2013

    Obviously, if you can’t afford it, you’d settle for an Orient. If you were a Billionaire or even just a multi-millionaire, the cost of the most expensive Patek Philippe is just change and if you can get the best enclosed in precious metal such as Platinum of solid gold, then why not — unless of course he/she is a tight-wad Billionaire! I amazes when people buy a Laborghini then complaiin how much gas it burns with the price of premium gas at close to $4.50. If you can’t afford it, don’t even think of trying to compare a Patek Philippe with an Orient, period!

  22. By Doug on Oct 2, 2013

    “If you can’t afford it, don’t even think of trying to compare a Patek Philippe with an Orient, period!”


    This is not a fair comparison for the Orient. For one, that Patek is hand assembled by master watchmakers, hand decorated and was conceived with brilliant new technologies, in-house. That Orient movement was stamped out by a machine, is undecorated and about as plain as a glass of water.

    This is not even mentioning the specific innovations that PP has developed here, like the mirco-rotor (that is actually pictured)!

    That Orient is 12mm thick, whereas the PP is 7mm thick. I guess most people don’t realize how impressive it is to make an automatic watch that thin, but I’ll help: very impressive.

    Furthermore, class is not a measure of what is on a man’s wrist, but rather how innocuous that wrist can be. I’m not taking away the fact that the Orient is a great watch for the money, because it is and I too own an Orient, but you cannot say that the PP is not worth it’s price tag without qualifying why they charge the quid.

  23. By Richard on Oct 3, 2013

    The Orient that I wear everyday gains about +1 per day. I’d say that’s pretty freaking accurate.

    I don’t care what kind of materials are used, what kind of craftsmanship it has. The point of wearing a watch is to tell time, and to tell it accurately. Just because the the Patek is hand made doesn’t mean its going to be more accurate. It could be in platinum and couldn’t be more accurate than this Orient I have on my wrist.

    Orient gives the best bang for your buck, period. Mine has been accurate since I took it out of the box. Can’t really ask for more.

  24. By Bananabender on Jan 24, 2014

    you need to stop falling for the Swiss watch makers marketing BS. [Every single claim made by the Swiss watch industry is somewhere between a gross exaggeration and an outright lie.]

    Hand wind watches are not precision scientific instruments. They are simple clockwork devices made using cheap materials (steel and brass). They have barely changed since the 1750s.

    It only takes about an hour to fully assemble a mechanical watch. It is fiddly work but nowhere as difficult as neurosurgery.

    Swiss watch are known to have a 300% retail mark-up. So $18,000 of the $24,000 cost of a Calatrava goes towards paying for the fancy lighting, polished wooden cabinets and thick carpets in the store.

    A $24,000 Calatrava probably costs less than $2000 to make. The rest of the price is advertising and retail mark-up.

  25. By New Orient Convert on Mar 29, 2014

    I would choose the Orient, and here’s why… I now own one! On impulse I just bought a Symphony today, my first Orient, at a local AD. I was browsing for a beater and had heard good things about Orient, but did not own one, so I decided to check them out.
    While I own several ‘prestigious’ Swiss timepieces (none are Patek, but some are not that much less in cost than the Calatrava), I am simply amazed at how much watch one gets for little money with Orient!
    This watch is simply stunning in its elegant beauty (indeed, it was the design that immediately ‘called’ to me). Fit and finish is superb, the quality and attention to detail fully equal to watches costing far, far more (save for the undecorated movement and the cheapie bracelet, but as for the latter, it’s going on leather anyway–I’d much rather costs be cut there than on the watch itself!)
    Although admittedly it’s too early to be sure of long-term performance, having brought my new acquisition to show to my friend who is a watchmaker and has a Timegrapher, my watch is keeping time to well within COSC specs– +2 right out of the box. I thought he would be as amazed as I am, but he said that he expected this as in his experience Orients are very accurate, typically much better than the tolerances specified in the manual, which are more a ‘CYA’ specification.
    I am dumbfounded by how Orient can make a profit selling such quality timepieces for such a low price. How DO they do it??
    I am now officially an Orient convert… as betrayed by the fact that I’m already researching models online for my next purchase.
    And ironically, I’m going to have to continue my search for a ‘beater’, as this one is too nice to be used in that capacity!
    I understand that the only major lacking of the Symphony, specifically, compared with Swiss pieces is a sapphire crystal; but this is indeed offered on some other Orient models in a similar price range… Fantastic!

  26. By Me on May 22, 2014

    Well – Orient would be the watch hands down no mater how you look at it. The exception is if you are going for pretentious – then wear a watch that is 50% of the average salary in the USA. Lets face it – watches tell time, they look nice – you can do all that without the “my watch cost more than your annual take home pay”. That is why orient wins – tells time and looks nice. If you worry it might break buy two as it is still a great buy. If you worry about does this watch look like I make enough money – well spend the extra on therapy.

  27. By vaios on Sep 23, 2014

    well patek is patek and the calatrava is the holly grail of watches if I ever could afford one I would buy it. So today I bought a orient symphony black dial for 116 dollars, love the look, I am waiting to see it. if I like it I will buy the white dial symphony as well. thanks orient at least we can put something nice on our wrists without spending as somebody said a deposit for a house

  28. By vaios on Sep 23, 2014

    excellent reviews

27 comments | Tell us what you think!