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Patek Philippe: The Epitome of Haute Horlogerie  

There are only a few Swiss manufacturers that weren’t subsidized as a result of the Quartz Crisis from the late 1960s to the 1970s, and Patek Philippe is one of them. Patek Philippe remains an independent manufacturer — one of the few Genevan watch companies that remain as such. Adding up to the brand’s unyielding reputation is the fact that it’s still family-owned from its establishment to this day. This, combined with the brand’s reputation for crafting only exquisite Swiss watches, a Patek Philippe watch is every collector’s crowning piece — whether it’s a Patek Philippe Nautilus or a Patek Philippe Calatrava. While a Patek can cost over $200,000 USD, its resale value grows every year. With that, Patek Philippe watches make great investments for their lasting and growing value. 

Patek Philippe also boasts movements as well as other watch components made in-house. The brand builds almost 100% of its watch components. Moreover, the brand has about 200 models in its catalog, offering classic designs that show innovative complications instead of a showy aesthetic. Case in point: the Patek Philippe Complications and the Patek Philippe Grand Complications collections. Just like other watch manufacturers, finding a steel Patek watch is not far off. However, Patek Philippe has more platinum and gold watches for men and women as compared to other manufacturers. Gold watches from the brand come in either white, yellow, or rose gold. 

How much is a Patek Philippe Watch?

Patek Philippe is a Swiss luxury brand that has a steady line of impeccable watches. With that, the brand’s watches do cost a lot more than other watch manufacturers. Take a glance at the most expensive and cheapest Patek Philippe watches below.

ModelPrice (approximate)Key FeaturesMovement
Patek Philippe Grand Complications $580,000 USDMinute Repeater Perpetual Calendar Moon Phase Rose GoldCalibre R 27 PS QR LU, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe World Time $150,000 USDWorld Time Day/night display PlatinumCaliber 240 HU, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Gondolo $116,000 USDBarrel-Shaped Diamond Studs Rose GoldCaliber 25‐21 REC, mechanical manually wound movement
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph$70,000 USDChronograph Second Time Zone Day/Night Display Stainless SteelCaliber CH 28‐520 C FUS, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Nautilus Date$52,500 USDDate Stainless SteelCaliber 26‐330 S C, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Date$29,100 USDDate Stainless SteelCaliber 324 S C, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Calatrava Date$28,600 USDDate Rose GoldCaliber 324 S C, self-winding, mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Calatrava Small Seconds$16,100 USDSmall Seconds White GoldCaliber 215 PS, manually wound mechanical movement
Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Diamonds$12,500 USDStainless Steel Diamond StudsCaliber E15, quartz movement
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse $5,200 USDRose GoldCaliber 16 250, manually wound mechanical movement

 

Most Popular Patek Philippe Watches 

The Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Patek Philippe Calatrava are two of the brand’s most popular collections. Firstly, the Nautilus proves as the brand’s bestseller to this day since its launch in the 1970s. Designed by storied designer Gerald Génta, the Nautilus is one of the first steel sports men’s watches from a Swiss luxury brand. It is so popular that the waiting time for a brand new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is eight years. In fact, a collector has better chances of owning a pre-owned Nautilus than getting a brand new one. 

On the other hand, the Calatrava has been part of the Patek Philippe catalog since 1932. An instant classic, the Calatrava takes the Bauhaus design philosophy to produce understated elegance for each watch. As the quintessential Patek watch, the Calatrava takes its name from the Order of Calatrava. The Patek logo comes from the emblem of the order, an image stamped on the crown of Patek watches. 

Patek Philippe proves its excellence in watchmaking through its complications as seen in Patek Philippe Complications and the Patek Philippe Grand Complications. These models come with various complications such as a perpetual calendar, moon phase displays, and even chimes. It may also include tourbillons as well as world time functions. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Calatrava: An Iconic Dress Watch 

The Patek Philippe Calatrava is one of Patek Philippe’s finest watches. This dress watch represents the greatest thing about Patek watches — elegance and class. For more than 80 years, the Calatrava has been part of the brand’s selection. To say the least, the Calatrava timepieces herald as the best Patek Philippe men’s watches. The watch perfectly suits black-tie events and now extends to the female clientele. 

The Calatrava collection houses various models — from two or three-hand watches to those with a small seconds dial. The Patek Philippe Calatrava Swiss watches also come with thin movements that are either manually or self-wound. You can also get a Calatrava watch with a date window.

So, how much is a Patek Philippe Calatrava watch? A Calatrava watch can cost from $23,000 to $29,000 USD for a brand new automatic watch. A pre-owned or vintage Patek Philippe Calatrava costs about $19,000 to $25,000 USD. You can find a pre-owned manually-wound watch for less than $10,000 USD in yellow gold. It usually retails for about $16,000 to $23,000 USD. The most expensive Calatrava has peculiar dials or has platinum material and costs a whopping $120,000 USD.

Prices for the Patek Philippe Nautilus: The Quintessential Luxury Sports Watch 

The Patek Philippe Nautilus is the brand’s representative in the sports watch market. The watch launched in 1976 with the reference 3700/1. Its designer, Gerald Génta, took inspiration from a porthole. Originally, the watch came in a stainless steel case in response to the market’s demand for more stainless steel luxury sports men’s watches. That’s why the most popular Nautilus is easily the stainless steel model with the reference 5711/1. 

Since its launch, the Nautilus inspired many changes, such as different case materials. Today, a Nautilus can also come in white or yellow gold as well as rose gold cases. It also now has iterations that come with various complications. You can easily find a Patek Philippe Nautilus with a calendar as well as a moon phase function. Another popular version of the Nautilus has a chronograph function. Secondary time zones also make the Nautilus a truly sporty timepiece.

A brand new Patek Philippe Nautilus ref 5711/1 men’s watch costs about $29,800 USD. However, the waiting time for this watch lasts for 8 to 10 years. So, you might as well purchase a pre-owned model at $50,000 USD or more. What’s good about Patek Philippe, however, is that you can expect its price to rise by the year due to the demand. If you’re looking for a vintage model in steel, be ready to shed north of $80,000 USD for it. This may not be the cheapest Patek Philippe watch, but it’s sure one of the best Swiss watches to invest in today. 

The Nautilus is also suitable for women with a 33mm model in a white gold case, which can also come with more than 1,700 diamond studs. It’s the most expensive Patek Philippe Nautilus at $218,000 USD, brand new. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Aquanaut: Modern and Sporty 

Inspired by the Nautilus, the brand launched the Patek Philippe Aquanaut in 1997. While it bears great similarity to the Nautilus, it still has an identity of its own. Firstly, the Aquanaut comes with a more modern design that’s less angular than its inspiration. The rounded octagon case makes it a unique addition to the Patek catalog. It also has a “tropical” strap that’s resistant not only to water but also to abrasion and UV radiation. 

So how much is a Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch, you ask? Well, three-hand Patek Philippe Aquanaut men’s watches in stainless steel cost a little less than $30,000 USD. Meanwhile, you can splurge about $35,000 USD for the white or rose gold versions of the watch. Just like the Nautilus, the Aquanaut also comes with other complications such as a chronograph function. With this, the watch can cost between $35,000 and $40,000 USD.

For the ladies, you can opt for either a quartz or automatic movement. A quartz Patek Phillipe Aquanaut ladies’ watch costs about $15,000 USD in stainless steel. It also comes with a diamond-studded bezel for an added femininity. Meanwhile, the model in rose gold with an automatic movement costs about $35,000 USD. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Complications: An Exquisite Timepiece

Patek Philippe does watchmaking in its highest form. To demonstrate that, the brand launched the Patek Philippe Complications collection. A “complication” refers to the additional capabilities of a watch beyond just telling the time and date. Among these include chronographs, annual calendars, moon phase, as well as world time displays. In addition to this, Patek makes sure that each timepiece comes with exquisite designs. Thus, the Complications collection. 

The Patek Philippe Complications collection spans quite a huge range when it comes to prices. A Complications watch with a moon phase indicator or an annual calendar can cost about $35,000 to $48,000 USD. Meanwhile, you would need to spend somewhere north of $50,000 USD for a watch with a World Time complication. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Grand Complications: Innovation at Its Finest 

Taking complications up a notch, the Patek Philippe Grand Complications collection comes with the best of Patek Philippe. This collection carries the pride of the brand when it comes to engineering and design. You can find various complications like a perpetual calendar and even a sky chart right around your wrist. 

So how much is a Patek Philippe Grand Complications watch? It makes complete sense how the most expensive Patek Philippe watch sold at $31 million USD at a charity auction. That watch had 20 stunning complications. The watches from the Grand Complications collection can cost more than $90,000 USD at the least. However, watches with minute repeaters and perpetual calendars inevitably cost more. Their prices range from $180,000 to $590,000 USD. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Twenty~4: Soft and Sophisticated 

The brand’s representative feminine collection is the Patek Philippe Twenty~4. It comes with either a round or rectangular case. However, the collection is more popular for its rectangular watches. The collection houses some of the cheapest Patek Philippe watches, with prices ranging from $8,000 to $40,000 USD. The Patek Philippe Twenty~4 watches can have diamond studs around the bezel for some models, but they all have quartz movements. They also come in either stainless steel or rose gold cases. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse: An Elegant Dress Watch 

Patek Philippe surely knows its way around peculiar designs for watches. Aside from the Nautilus and the Aquanaut, you get another unique addition to your collection with the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. Launched in 1968, the collection houses timepieces with elliptical cases. This is part of the brand’s continuous deviation from traditional watch shapes. The watches from this collection exudes elegance in simplicity with a well-balanced dial. Golden Ellipse watches take inspiration from the principle of the “golden section” discovered by ancient green mathematicians. According to the principle, the “divine proportion” is a ratio of 1 / 1.6181. This proportion is the basis of history’s best works of art and architecture. 

It has two designs available as of the moment. Firstly, a black dial with a rose gold case and a blue dial within a platinum case. But how much are these Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse watches? Brand new, you can get them around $36,000 to $40,000 USD. However, models from the 1970s and ‘80s can easily cost around $5,000 to $7,000 USD. 

Prices for the Patek Philippe Gondolo: An Art Deco Watch 

The Patek Philippe Gondolo collection amalgamates all “form” watches from Patek Philippe. Form watches refer to all those that don’t come in a traditional round case. Patek Philippe put rectangular designs as well as tonneau and cushion-shaped cases in this collection. Generally, the Gondolo collection heralds the brand’s Art Deco designs. At first glance, you can see how strong lines and geometric cohesion take their form in the watches from the Patek Philippe Gondolo collection. Patek cleverly infuses modern design with its heritage pieces in these Swiss watches. That said, some parts of the watch take directly from pieces that you can find in the Patek Philippe Museum. Watches from the collection also only come in gold with the addition of pearls and diamonds. They may also be availed with a manual caliber or a quartz movement. 

You can buy a Patek Philippe Gondolo watch for $17,000 USD. However, they can be 10 times more expensive at $170,000 USD for watches with diamonds, pearls, or both. 

Why You Should Buy a Patek Philippe Watch?

While Patek Philippe Swiss watches aren’t the cheapest, they remain a great investment for the future. That’s just one of the many reasons why you should buy a Patek watch. As the brand’s slogan says: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation”. 

1. Patek Philippe boasts a well-known clientele such as politicians, actors, and even athletes.

2. Its men’s watches prove great investments — from dress watches like the Calatrava to sports watches like the Nautilus.

3. One of the reasons why Patek Philippe Swiss watches are good investments is its primary case material such as gold or platinum.

4. Patek Philippe boasts a robust line of modern in-house movements proven with great accuracy and precision.

5. To this day, Patek remains one of the most important names in the industry for inventing complications like a split-seconds chronograph as well as the perpetual calendar.

History of Patek Philippe 

The year was 1839 when Antoni Patek began crafting pocket watches in Geneva. The Polish watchmaker and immigrant started his operation small until 1845. By that year, he worked alongside his French colleague Adrien Philippe in the business. Philippe’s father, a watchmaker, taught him how to craft a timepiece himself. Philippe wasn’t a novice in the industry when he collaborated with Patek. In fact, he invented the crown of a watch in 1844. 

The Crown and the Royals

The crown, as we all know, is a significant part of a watch. It winds the movement, adjusts the time and date, and today now ensures the water-resistance of a watch. Before its invention, movements wound through a key. However, through this invention, only large clocks need a key to be wound. 

In 1851, the company adopted the name Patek Philippe to honor its founders. The same year, Patek and Philippe joined the Great Exhibition in London. There, they found a clientele in the form of Queen Victoria herself. She bought a watch for her and another for Prince Albert. From there, the company found a clientele among the royals. Among those, Danish and Italian royalties.

The brand grew exponentially in the west when Tiffany & Co., a New York-based jewelry company ordered 130 watches from the brand. This partnership began when the pair traveled to the United States. This is only the beginning of the later world domination of the brand. 

A Leader in Luxury Watches

Years later, in 1932, the Stern family started leading the business. Since then, the Stern family has been running the company. Thierry Stern has been the company’s President since 2009. 

Today, they’re a renowned brand that even non-enthusiasts know about. The brand completely took over the luxury watch industry alongside other Swiss watch giants. Nowadays, owning a Patek Philippe is synonymous with high social status. With only 50,000 annual watch production, Patek watches prove truly rare. 

Patek Philippe: A House of Innovations 

Aside from inventing the vital crown, Patek Philippe has other inventions under its name. In 1902, the company was the first to patent a double chronograph. Then more than two decades later in 1925, Patek Philippe launched the very first wristwatch that had a perpetual calendar complication. 

Patek Philippe also continues to innovate its own. Case in point, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740. This model is the first Nautilus to have a grand complication. It’s also the thinnest perpetual calendar the brand has ever made. The company also launched the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5270P. It came with a manual-winding chronograph movement ch29-535. This is the first-ever in-house chronograph movement by Patek with six patents. 

That said, the brand holds various patents that forever changed watchmaking. One of those is the Gyromax. This Patek Philippe’s trade name for the adjustable mass on a balance wheel. Instead of using screws to manage weight on the wheel, the Gyromax does the job. It has turnable weights recessed into the top of the rim. With this design, the diameter of the balance can be increased for bigger inertia and less air resistance. 

Patek Philippe is also responsible for the creation of the Silinvar. It’s a silicon-based material used on escape wheels. Based on mono-crystalline silicon, the Silinvar allows resistance to temperature changes from -10 to +60 degrees Celsius. The name comes from the words “silicon” and “invariable.”

Moreover, Patek Philippe also became one of the very few brands that carried the Geneva Seal on its watches. Swiss watches manufactured in the Canton of Geneva get the Geneva Seal for exceptional quality. From 1925 to 2009, Patek Philippe voluntarily sent their movements for inspection to earn the Geneva Seal. It was almost unique for the brand given that not a lot of companies submit their movements for testing. 

The Henry Graves Supercomplication Watch

The story of how the Henry Graves Supercomplication came to be was rooted from a rivalry between two watch collectors. Henry Graves Jr., a prominent watch collector as well as a banker, commissioned Patek Philippe to outshine James Ward Packard and his collection of commissioned pocket watches. At the time, Packard boasted a dozen Patek Philippe watches with complications. He collected these watches over the span of 25 years. 

Patek Philippe ultimately ended this rivalry by creating the Henry Graves Supercomplication. For three years, the company researched and developed the Supercomplication. Then, it underwent five whole years of manufacturing. Its byproduct is an 18K gold watch with 24 complications and a whopping 920 individual components. 

The watch comes with the typical hours, minutes, and seconds function as well as a chronograph. With that, it has a split-seconds timer, a 30-minute recorder, and a 12-hour recorder. It also comes with a perpetual calendar with an indicator of the days of the month and week, months, a star chart, and even the age and phases of the moon. Moreover, it includes an indicator of sunset and sunrise and the equation of time. Furthermore, the astonishing watch has chime functions like a grande and petite sonnerie, a minute-repeater, and of course, an alarm. 

Breaking records, the pocket watch sold for $24 million USD in Geneva on November 11, 2014. The watch initially costs 60,000 CHF or $15,000 USD, which equates to $200,000 USD today. It’s also the most complicated watch built without the use of computer assistance. For a while, this watch is the brand’s most complicated watch. Then, in 1989, Patek Philippe launched the Caliber 89 pocket watch for its 150th anniversary. The watch had more complications and 1,728 components. 

Patek Philippe & Gerald Genta 

The company tapped renowned designer Gerald Genta to design a sports watch with a high-quality finish — the Patek Philippe Nautilus. To this day, the watch is a benchmark when it comes to luxury sports men’s watches. Much like the Royal Oak that Genta designed a few years prior, the Nautilus takes inspiration from the nautical world. It reflects the image of the portholes of transatlantic ships. The name came from Captain Nemo’s submarine in the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. According to the stories, Genta only took five minutes to sketch the watch on a paper napkin in a restaurant. 

The first model carried the reference 3700. It successfully attracted people to go back to patronizing luxury Swiss mechanical watches. To this day, it is the brand’s most popular collection. On the 30th anniversary of the collection, the most popular model 5711 was launched alongside the 5712 model. 

Famous People and Patek Philippe 

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr 

Many Beatles fans know that members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr love their Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches. The Beatles members seem to like to keep it lowkey with the simplicity of the Aquanaut. 

The Dalai Lama 

In 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gifted the Dalai Lama a Patek Philippe chronograph. The spiritual leader is often spotted with the timepiece that bears a heavy resemblance to the reference 658. 

Drake 

It’s not a list of prominent collectors without Drake in it. The rapper has been one of the most famous owners of a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch. His Nautilus is an exclusive watch with only 1,300 pieces ever made. It retails for about $96,300 USD. 

Robert Downey Jr. 

Undoubtedly so, Robert Downey Jr. has a vast watch collection of his own, which he once showed off in an interview with GQ Magazine. He owns a Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase Stainless Steel Watch ref. 5712/1A. According to the actor, the watch was a gift from his wife, Susan. It costs about $33,200 USD. 

Jesse Lingard 

Manchester United’s attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard owns a Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711. He wears a reference 5711R model in Rose Gold. The timepiece was launched in 2015 with a brown dial and 45 hours of power reserve. 

Vintage Patek Philippe Watches 

Patek Philippe, existing for almost 200 years, has a vast collection of vintage watches. Many of these watches date as far back as the 1910s. These watches come from various collections, such as the Calatrava and Nautilus. You can find a vintage Patek Philippe Calatrava watch for as low as $7,500 USD for the simpler designs. However, they can cost up to $50,000 USD or more. 

More expensive vintage Patek Philippe watches come in the form of chronographs or those with a perpetual calendar complication. They can cost anywhere north of $120,000 to $180,000 USD. You can also find other Patek Philippe men’s watches such as rectangular watches with art deco designs from 12,000 to 50,000 USD. 

Patek Philippe: Everybody’s Dream Watch

There’s no doubt why Patek Philippe is a top dog when it comes to Swiss luxury watches. From its heritage as a brand that survived the Quartz crisis as an independent, family-owned business to the quality of its watches — Patek Philippe displays excellence in all forms over the years. The brand also comes up with designs that cater to every style without sacrificing the quality of its timepieces. Truly, these Swiss watches will continue to transcend time with their designs and horological advancements that no other brand can beat. 

Editor's Choice

Lloyd Stevens
Editor
Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe is a big leader in the world of complicated watches. They got a patent in 1902 for the first double chronograph and in 1925 they made their first watch with a perpetual calendar. One of their most popular watches is one of their earliest releases, the Calatrava in 1932. Years later, they successfully launched the Nautilus. Another popular choice from Patek Philippe is the Aquanaut.
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