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Patek Philippe: Prestige Par Excellence
No other name represents haute horlogerie like Patek Philippe. This Genevan manufacturer unites luxury, tradition, and high-quality craftsmanship in some of the world's most exquisite watches. Patek watches are both status symbols and investments.
Independent, Creative, and Highly Esteemed
Patek Philippe is one of the few remaining independent Genevan luxury watch manufacturers. They are still family-owned, which contributes to their good reputation — and not just among experts. Patek Philippe builds nearly every component for their watches themselves. A Patek Philippe is the crowning piece of any watch collection. What's more, their high esteem and lasting value make these timepieces fantastic investments.
The manufacture pursues a primarily traditional design style and emphasizes its position as a family business. In terms of materials, Patek is known to turn to precious metals such as gold or platinum. Stainless steel editions do exist, but they are much less abundant than in other manufacturers' catalogs.
The Calatrava and Nautilus are Patek Philippe's most recognized models. The former has been in production since 1932 and embodies simple elegance, while the Nautilus debuted in the late 1970s and boasts a sporty design accredited to none other than Gérald Genta. For many watch enthusiasts, the Nautilus is synonymous with the watch giant as a whole.
Patek Philippe flexes their watchmaking muscles in the Complications and Grand Complications collections. Here you'll find watches with tourbillons, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, moon phase displays, and world time functions.
5 Reasons to Buy a Patek Philippe Watch
- Prestigious luxury watches
- Great investments: the Calatrava dress watch and Nautilus sports watch
- Luxury watches in 18-karat gold or 950 platinum
- Modern in-house calibers for high precision
- Inventor of many important complications such as the perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph
Prices for Patek Philippe Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, size, features|
|Grandmaster Chime, 6300G-001||3.17 million USD||White gold, 47.4 mm, 20 complications|
|Sky Moon Tourbillon, 6002G-001||2.37 million USD||White gold, 44 mm, 12 complications|
|Grand Complications, 5208R-001||1.3 million USD||Rose gold, 42 mm, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, chronograph|
|Celestial, 6102P-001||500,000 USD||Platinum, 44 mm, astronomical displays like sidereal time, phases and orbit of the Moon, etc.|
|Nautilus, 5811/1G||220,000 USD||White gold, 41 mm, date|
|Perpetual Calendar, 5160/500G-001||260,000 USD||White gold, 38 mm, perpetual calendar, retrograde pointer date|
|Nautilus Chronograph, 5990/1A-001||195,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40.5 mm, chronograph, pointer date|
|Nautilus, 3700||200,000 USD||Stainless steel, 42 mm, date|
|Aquanaut, 5968G||136,000 USD||White gold, blue dial, 42.2 mm, small seconds|
|Aquanaut Travel Time, 5164A-001||95,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40.8 mm, second time zone|
|Complications Skeleton, 5180/1R-001||96,000 USD||Rose gold, 39 mm, skeletonized case and dial|
|Nautilus Lady, 7118/1A-001||72,000 USD||Stainless steel, 35.2 mm, date|
|Aquanaut, 5167A-001||71,500 USD||Stainless steel, 40 mm, date|
|Calatrava, 5226G||56,500 USD||White gold, 40 mm, date, sweep seconds|
|Calatrava Annual Calendar, 5396R-011||54,000 USD||Rose gold, 38 mm, annual calendar, moon phase|
|Calatrava, 5227G-010||36,000 USD||White gold, 39 mm, date|
|Gondolo, 7041R-001||34,500 USD||Rose gold, 33.5 mm, small seconds, diamonds|
|Aquanaut Lady, 4960A-010||21,000 USD||Stainless steel, 35.6 mm, quartz caliber|
|Golden Ellipse, 3566||9,000 USD||White gold, 28 mm, manual caliber|
How much do Patek Philippe watches cost?
Patek Philippe crafts some of the world's most prestigious timepieces. As a result, most of these watches demand high prices. Models from the Complications and Grand Complications collections are especially expensive, with prices ranging from 96,000 to several million USD. The Grand Complications ref. 5208R-001, for example, requires an investment of no less than 1.3 million USD.
Wristwatches from the popular Calatrava and Aquanaut series are a bit more affordable in comparison, and start at around the 15,000 USD mark on Chrono24, of course depending on the exact model you're looking for. However, prices for models with intricate complications and precious metals can climb to well over 100,000 USD. At the end of 2022, the value of the Advanced Research Aquanaut Travel Time in white gold had reached 790,000 USD.
The Nautilus is one of Patek Philippe's most celebrated collections. Prices for pre-owned women's watches start at around 20,000 USD, while the global icon ref. 5711/1A-010 will set you back roughly 150,000 USD. The limited-edition Nautilus 5711 with the blue Tiffany dial is on a whole other level, with dealers demanding more than the going rate for a Grandmaster Chime – a timepiece that has broken 3 million USD.
Despite this, owning a Patek Philippe doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Models like the Golden Ellipse, Twenty~4, and Gondolo change hands for much more manageable prices. Current editions generally cost between 12,000 and 50,000 USD on Chrono24.
The Calatrava: A Timeless Classic
The Calatrava collection has been part of the Patek Philippe catalog for over 80 years. Its name comes from the Spanish Order of Calatrava, whose cross serves as the company logo. This same image also adorns the crown of each Patek watch. Thanks to its simple elegance, the Calatrava is the perfect companion to any tailor-made suit and, thus, the ideal dress watch.
The collection contains a wide range of timepieces. Models with a small seconds dial at 6 o'clock look particularly elegant. The use of manual calibers also means that these watches have a particularly thin profile. You can purchase one of these luxury watches in white, rose, or yellow gold for between 17,000 to 20,000 USD. Prices for platinum editions sit around 42,500 USD. The ref. 6119 from 2021 is available in rose or white gold. This model is the most recent Calatrava to feature a guilloché "Clous de Paris" bezel. Inside the case, you'll find the in-house caliber 30-255 PS with a 65-hour power reserve. The white gold version changes hands for around 32,000 USD, while the rose gold edition was demanding closer to 34,500 USD at the end of 2022.
Patek Philippe unveiled the Calatrava ref. 5226G in early 2022. This model strikes its own path in the collection, as the design follows that of a pilot's watch. The 40-mm case is crafted from white gold, with the caliber 26-330 S C ticking away within. In terms of complications, the 5226G boasts a sweeping seconds and a date window at 3 o'clock. You'll need to set aside roughly 56,500 USD for a mint-condition copy.
The Catatrava collection also contains several women's watches. Most of these models come in rose or white gold and feature diamonds. They measure between 33 and 38 mm in diameter, and you can also choose from especially compact versions with manual or automatic calibers. Prices for a pre-owned Calatrava women's watch with a quartz movement begin around 5,000 USD. Models sparkling with diamonds can run up to 50,000 USD.
The finest variants of the Calatrava have intricately engraved dials and cases made of platinum. One example is the ref. 5088/100P, which easily demands about 116,000 USD.
Sporty and Modern: The Nautilus and the Aquanaut
Patek Philippe show off their sporty side with the Nautilus. Those who value tradition gravitate toward the models in stainless steel – the material used for the very first Nautilus. The original was released in 1976 under the reference number 3700/1 and drew immediate attention with its porthole design created by Gérald Genta. As of the end of 2022, these vintage models cost a solid 200,000 USD, a good 50,000 USD more than the follow-up release, the ref. 5711/1.
At Watches and Wonders 2021, Patek Philippe announced a "farewell" 5711 edition under the reference number 5711/1A-014. This watch's unique feature is its olive green sunburst dial with a horizontal relief pattern – an entirely new design in the Nautilus collection. While its list price came in at 34,893 USD, its market value had risen to a staggering 385,000 USD by late 2022.
You also have the option to fit a diamond-paved bezel on your "green" Nautilus. This configuration can be found under the ref. 5711/1300A and has an official retail price of 94,624 USD. Listings on Chrono24 come in at over 800,000 USD.
If you're a big fan of diamonds and white gold, the ref. 5719/10G-010 is a great option. This timepiece boasts no less than 1,700 diamonds and requires an investment of 766,000 USD.
The title of most expensive Nautilus model is held by the 5711/1A with the Tiffany Blue dial. The watch was created in collaboration with Tiffany & Co. to mark 170 years of partnership in 2021. The white gold timepiece has the same inner workings as the stainless steel edition and was limited to a production run of just 170 pieces. It was only exclusively sold in Tiffany boutiques in the USA for 52,635 USD, but prices on the secondary market had soared to over 3 million USD by the end of 2022.
In October 2022, Patek Philippe surprised fans with yet another Nautilus 5711 release, the ref. 5811/1G-001. The white gold case clocks in at 41 mm – 1 mm larger than previous versions – and is paired with a matching white gold bracelet. Otherwise, not many updates were made to the newer edition: the watch sports a blue dial and uses the renowned caliber 26-330 S C. Prices on Chrono24 sat at around 219,000 USD at the end of 2022.
Patek Philippe Nautilus: Complications & Women's Versions
Patek Philippe not only offers the Nautilus as a stainless steel three-hand watch, but also in gold with numerous complications, including annual calendars, moon phase indicators, chronographs, and second time zones. Depending on the complication, expect to pay at least 100,000 USD to call one of these timepieces your own.
Women's Nautilus watches are smaller than those intended for men. Patek produces a 32-mm quartz-powered model, as well as a 35.2-mm automatic edition. In terms of material, you can choose from stainless steel or rose gold, and some versions also come with a diamond bezel. Prices vary by model and run between 35,000 to over 100,000 USD.
Aquanaut: Modern With Softer Lines
Patek released the Aquanaut in 1997. While clearly inspired by the Nautilus, this timepiece is no remake. Its design is more modern and less angular. The manufacturer crafts the "tropical" strap out of a special composite material resistant to water, abrasion, and UV radiation, which lends the timepiece a rather sporty feel. Prices for the three-hand version in stainless steel come in at around 62,000 USD.
Timepieces in white or rose gold are more expensive at between roughly 85,000 and 130,000 USD. The stainless steel Aquanaut Travel Time occupies a similar price range and features a second time zone. If you would prefer your Travel Time to be gold, be prepared to spend roughly 151,00 USD. For a slightly larger investment, you can purchase a model that also has a chronograph function.
Patek Philippe introduced two Aquanaut chronographs in white gold in the fall of 2021. These timepieces measure 42.2 mm across and are outfitted with the caliber CH 28-520 C boasting a flyback function. You can choose between a mint-condition copy with a blue dial for 134,000 USD or the green dial version for 145,000 USD.
Patek offers women's Aquanaut watches in two sizes: 35.6 and 38.8 mm. Options include everything from simple stainless steel models to diamond-encrusted gold timepieces. The price range for these watches is similarly vast. A stainless steel women's Aquanaut with a quartz movement changes hands for as little as 15,000 USD on Chrono24. The same watch with a diamond bezel costs about 55,000 USD. Those in the market for a gold watch with diamonds can expect to pay between 100,000 and 390,000 USD.
Patek Philippe launched the Chronographe Aquanaut Luce "Rainbow" under the reference number 7968/300R in 2022. This model is Patek's first women's watch with a chronograph function and an automatic movement. The 39.9-mm case is made of rose gold. The stand-out feature is the bezel encrusted with a total of 40 colorful, baguette-cut sapphires. The list price for this extraordinary Aquanaut is 212,900 USD.
Complications and Grand Complications
Patek Philippe turns watchmaking into an art form in the Complications and Grand Complications collections. Fans of intricate complications are sure to get their money's worth. The exclusive use of precious metals like gold and platinum underscore the high-end nature of these collections. Furthermore, most models feature diamonds and/or fine engravings.
Models with a world time function and those that combine an annual calendar with a moon phase indicator serve as the entry point into these collections. You can call one of these timepieces your own for between 42,000 and 84,000 USD. Prices for watches with fine skeletonization range from 80,000 to 132,000 USD. Versions with a perpetual calendar demand similar prices. You'll have to dig much deeper into your pockets if you want one of the intricately finished top models with both a perpetual calendar and chronograph. These masterpieces usually demand between 210,000 and 316,000 USD. Finally, Patek watches with a minute repeater for relaying the time acoustically cost upwards of 210,000 USD.
Patek Philippe added the Annual Calendar Travel Time (ref. 5326G) to the Complications collection in spring 2022. The model features an annual calendar, moon phase, GMT function, and two day/night indicators. The 41-mm watch is made of white gold and rimmed with "Clous de Paris" detailing. The automatic caliber 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H ticks away inside. Expect to pay around 130,000 USD on Chrono24 for a new timepiece. The MRSP is 76,880 USD.
Highly complicated models like the Sky Moon Tourbillon and Grandmaster Chime are among Patek Philippe's crowning achievements. The former features twelve complications, while the latter boasts an astonishing 20 complications. These include a perpetual calendar, tourbillon, second time zone, sidereal time, minute repeater, date repeater, and several more. However, all this luxury has its price. The Sky Moon Tourbillon requires an investment of over 2 million USD, and the Grandmaster Chime sells for more than 3 million.
Anything but Round: Golden Ellipse, Gondolo, and Twenty~4
In addition to the classically round Calatrava and the porthole design of the Nautilus, Patek Philippe also offers a wide array of watches in different shapes. For example, the Golden Ellipse turns heads with its elliptical design. Crafted in 1968 according to the divine proportion, it exudes a classic beauty. Current models come in platinum or rose gold and cost between 31,500 and 49,500 USD on Chrono24. However, you can find older models from the 1970s and 1980s for as little as 5,000 to 16,000 USD.
Patek Philippe has been offering women's watches in the Twenty~4 collection since 1999. You can choose from two different designs. The classic version bears a slight resemblance to the Cartier Tank thanks to its rectangular case and integrated bracelet. As of 2018, the Twenty~4 collection also contains a round edition. Other than its shape, this timepiece sets itself apart from its counterpart through its technology. While the rectangular Twenty~4 is only available as a quartz watch, the round version features an automatic movement. Beyond the shape, you can also decide between rose gold or stainless steel for the case, as well as whether you would like diamonds. Plan to spend anywhere from 7,000 to 295,000 USD on one of these timepieces.
The Many Shapes of the Patek Philippe Gondolo
The Gondolo collection is marked by its Art Deco design and interesting shapes. Whether it's cushion-shaped, rectangular, barrel-shaped, or a subtle combination of the three, this collection has something for everyone. Patek produces these watches exclusively in gold, which the manufacturer then artfully combines with diamonds and pearls. Most get their power from manual calibers, though some feature a quartz movement. Prices for vintage timepieces from the 1970s begin around 6,000 USD. Simpler models from the current collection cost roughly 21,000 USD. More intricate pieces with diamonds and pearls can easily demand up to 210,000 USD.
Modern Calibers and a Unique Quality Seal
Patek Philippe is best known for mechanical watches made with in-house movements. Their calibers have a few special features. In 1949, the company patented the "Gyromax," a special type of balance wheel that is still in use today. While regular balance wheels use weight adjustment screws on the side of their rims, the Gyromax features adjustable weights that sit on top of the wheel. Therefore, it has a greater moment of inertia, resulting in increased precision.
Patek Philippe has been using the material Silinvar in their escapements since 2005. Similar to silicon, it's anti-magnetic and extremely hard. Due to this hardness, there is less friction in the movement, and it doesn't require lubrication. The manufacturer presented the first balance spring made from this high-tech material in 2006.
Over the years, Patek Philippe has continued to cut its ties to third-party suppliers. In 2005, the company introduced their first in-house chronograph caliber. As of 2012, they produce all their chronograph movements themselves. Before that, they had used movements from other manufacturers. For example, the first Nautilus used a caliber based on the 920 from Jaeger-LeCoultre. Audemars Piguet used this movement for the first Royal Oak as well, as did Vacheron Constatin for the 222. Valjoux and Lemania also used to deliver to Patek Philippe.
In 2009, Patek Philippe introduced and began using their own seal, which marks a watch passing the world's most demanding quality test for mechanical timepieces. They had previously used the Geneva Seal, which has been a sign of high-quality watches from that canton since 1886. A significant difference between the two is that the new testing methods are for the entire, finished watch. According to the old Geneva Seal rules, separate movements could receive certificates.
Patek Philippe also offers watches with quartz movements. The manufacturer even invented the first solid-state quartz watch with no moving parts and had it patented in 1959.
The History of Patek Philippe
In 1839, Polish watchmaker and emigrant Antoni Patek (1812-1877) began producing pocket watches in Geneva. In 1845, he combined forces with his French colleague Adrien Philippe (1815-1894). Philippe's father had been a watchmaker and taught his son the craft. In 1844, Philippe unveiled an invention to the world of watches that is ubiquitous today: the crown. Before this, movements were usually wound using a key, much like many larger clocks today. The company has existed under the name Patek Philippe since 1851.
The two business partners participated in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, where Queen Victoria purchased two watches: one for herself and one for Prince Albert. Danish and Italian royalty also joined their list of distinguished clientele. In addition, a partnership with the New York jeweler Tiffany & Co. began during a trip to the United States when the American retailer ordered 130 watches.
From there, the company hit one milestone after another. In 1902, Patek Philippe patented the first double chronograph, and in 1925, they introduced the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar. In 1932, the Stern family took over the business, and it remains in their hands to this day. Thierry Stern has been leading the company since 2010. Patek Philippe produces around 68,000 watches per year.
A Rivalry Between Watch Collectors
Patek Philippe has always defined themselves by their excellence. In 1933, after three years of development and five years of manufacturing, the Henry Graves Supercomplication, an 18-karat gold timepiece, was finally completed. Banker Henry Graves Jr. had commissioned the watch to outdo the pocket watches commissioned by automaker James Ward Packard. Packard owned a dozen complicated Patek Philippe timepieces, which he had collected over the course of 25 years.
Graves and Packard were two of the leading watch collectors of their time and had an ongoing rivalry that the Supercomplication put to an end. The watch is composed of 920 individual components and has 24 impressive complications. These include a perpetual calendar, Westminster Quarters, the sunrise and sunset time, and a view of the starry sky over New York City from Graves' Fifth Avenue apartment. In November 2014, the pocket watch sold for a record price of 24 million USD at auction. Graves initially paid 60,000 CHF when he commissioned the watch, which is equal to about 200,000 USD today. The Supercomplication is the most complicated watch ever built without computer assistance. In 1989, Patek Philippe celebrated their 150th anniversary by unveiling the Calibre 89 pocket watch, which, with 33 complications and 1,728 components, outdoes even the Supercomplication.
In November 2016, Patek Philippe broke another record: A watch with the reference number 1518 sold at auction for over 11 million USD. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch. This precious timepiece is a stainless steel chronograph with a perpetual calendar. Then, on November 9, 2019, at a charity auction, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A-010 in stainless steel was sold to an unknown bidder for the record hammer price of 31 million USD. It is thus one of the most expensive watches in the world.