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Top 8 Patek Philippe Watch Collections We Absolutely Love!
Established in 1839 in the Canton of Geneva, Patek Phillipe has an uninterrupted history of making classic timepieces. The level of excellence associated with Patek Philippe has attracted a number of notable patrons. The defining historical moment came with the invention of the world’s first wristwatch. Created for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868, it was the first timekeeping device designed for use on the wrist, although was intended primarily as a piece of decorative jewellery. This monumental moment marked the beginning of the end for the pocket watch industry and the beginning of the wristwatch revolution.
Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein and Leo Tolstoy have all owned their own Patek Philippe timepiece.
Patek Philippe continues to lead in terms of technical innovation and is responsible for designing some of the most lauded watches in the world. The brand holds the record for a most expensive watch sold at auction and continues to manufacture the most complicated mechanical timepieces on the market.
Over the years, this iconic Swiss brand has become synonymous with understated style, exquisite design and supreme quality. Many limited edition or speciality watches by the label double – sometimes even treble – in value once production ceases. With all this in mind, a watch made by Patek Philippe is far more than an expensive fashion accessory. It is a serious investment that can prove to be extremely lucrative.
Every single component of a Patek Philippe timepiece is created with the utmost care, from the case to the dial to its beating heart. The brand stays true its heritage by ensuring that every watch is hand finished to the highest standards. This human touch ensures production numbers are strictly limited, elevating the prestige of Patek Philippe watches old and new.
Patek Philippe is synonymous with intricate and complex wristwatch designs, and so holds the record of the most expensive wristwatches produced worldwide. The astoundingly beautiful Patek Philippe 1518, for example, is one of the most desirable wristwatches in existence. The rare perpetual calendar chronograph sold for $11,000,000 at auction in Geneva in 2016. Crafted from steel, and the fact that this complicated watch was made from a simple metal made it an irresistible oddity in the eyes of connoisseurs.
Of course, some models are appreciated more than others. The Calatrava is eternally popular, and the post-1998 chronographs are highly sought after by collectors. Take the 5070 chronograph, for example. Released in 1998, this watch boasts the renowned Calibre CH 27-70 movement – regarded as one of the most beautifully designed chronograph movements on the market. The 2001 pink gold Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon was the brands most expensive and complex watch at launch.
Let us now review the top collections of Patek Phillipe timepieces our team absolutely loves!
1. Patek Philippe Calatrava
In many ways, the meticulously structured, perfectly circular Calatrava collection is recognised as Patek Philippe’s flagship design. Launched in 1932 after the Stern family took over the business, this perfect round dress watch takes its name from a twelfth-century Spanish order.
Designed to appeal to the masses rather than avid watch collectors, the Calatrava is a supremely elegant yet wearable timepiece. Other brands try to emulate its everlasting appeal, yet simply cannot match the Calatrava, which is celebrated as one of the finest examples of horology.
One of the signature Patek Philippe designs, the Calatrava collection is synonymous with elegant style. Influenced by the minimalist principles of Bauhaus art and architecture, the Calatrava favours pure, linear lines that give it an air of timeless simplicity. The original watch features an impeccably round 31mm bezel, a clean dial and a white face, which lies low on the wrist adding to its understated style. Beautifully sophisticated, it allures each new generation of watch enthusiasts by following the ‘less is more’ school of thought.
Since the first Calatrava was released in the early 1930s, the collection has evolved, yet retains the same sense of modest perfection. For those in the market for a dress watch, no product rivals the Calatrava, one of the most iconic watches of all time. Despite being simple, the collection boasts some immaculate detailing that it is possible to overlook on first glance. For example, the clean Calatrava dials sometimes feature subtle ornamental patterns and hand-applied solid gold numerals.
As with every watch produced by Patek Philippe, the Calatrava boasts astounding mechanics. The brand’s famous 215 PS movement powers more recent designs, but some vintage models are motorised by Patek Philippe’s trademark 12-400 calibre. Whether you own an old or new Calatrava watch, all are manually wound and share the same design fundamentals. With many new models available nowadays, with bezels of up to 37mm and varying designs on the faces, there is sure to be something to suit everyone’s taste. Each watch is handmade and can take up to nine months to produce.
The fine quality of movement in Calatrava watches – and indeed all Patek Philippe products in general – mean that its lifespan is remarkable. As the old saying goes, you never really own a Patek Philippe watch, you merely look after it for the next generation.
2. Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
For those interested in mathematics, watches don’t come more fascinating than the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. But before we delve into the numbers that make this watch collection so fascinating, it is important to explore the history of its creation. Patek Philippe gifted the world the Golden Ellipse in 1968, a tumultuous year of historical events and social unrest. While the United States proudly launched the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, the country was deeply troubled by Operation Rolling Thunder of the Vietnam War and Martin Luther King’s assassination. Amidst the madness, Patek Philippe took the calculated decision to release a watch with a truly tranquil appeal.
The Golden Ellipse featured only hours and minutes – 12 tiny indexes around a no-frills dial. At launch, serene blue was the only colour available. The proportions of this preposterously beautiful asset were based on the principle of the Golden Ratio of ancient Greek mathematicians, also known as the ‘divine proportion’. Without getting too technical, this ancient formula symbolises total harmony and balance.
The Golden Ratio number is a unique number found by diving a line in two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part equals the whole length divided by the longer part. The result is a scientifically proven charisma of calm. The Golden Ratio is proven to have a soothing effect. It defines the proportions of some of history’s greatest works of art and architecture, including the ancient Egyptian pyramids, the Apple logo and the human body.
The Golden Ratio also defines the case shape of Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse (also known as Ellipse d’Or) which had a huge impact in the world of watchmaking when it was launched half a century ago. Neither circle nor square, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse introduced a bold and dramatically slender watch that is ever so easy on the eye. Thanks to its progressive shape, calm simplicity, and harmonious dial, this stunning timepiece quickly won the hearts of watch enthusiasts across the world.
The current Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse collection includes two men’s models. Today, much sought after Golden Ellipse watches for ladies can only be found on the vintage watch market, as they are no longer in production.
3. Patek Philippe Nautilus
Synonymous with sporting elegance, Patek Philippe Nautilus watches are celebrated for their timeless style. Indeed, the Nautilus has come to epitomise what every great sports watch should be since it was first released in 1976. Legendary watch designer Gerald Genta was the mastermind behind this iconic creation, taking inspiration from the ‘Nautilus’ submarine from Jules Verne’s epic collection of seafaring novels.
Frequently the subject of imitation, the Nautilus design borrows inspiration from the maritime porthole but boldly departs from the classic circular shape. The watch is characterised by its unique rounded octagonal-shaped bezel and horizontally embossed dial, which gives the impression of seamless, classic sports style. The original case features tiny auricles sticking out from beneath the bezel, which mimic hinges to enhance the overall impression of a porthole.
The imaginative design was solid and robust, constructed as a single piece, with an integrated chain-link bracelet. This revolutionary look would later become the highest standard of sports watch creation. Today’s plethora of sturdy and boldly masculine sports watches owe their image to the Nautilus.
When Genta created the watch, the decision to make the Nautilus from steel was a bold one. In the 1970s, this material was rarely used in luxury watchmaking. Now, it is standard. Forty years after initial release, the Patek Philippe Nautilus watch has remained eternally popular. It is now a fully-fledged collection and one of the brand’s most iconic lines, comprising of models for both men and women.
Today, the Nautilus line more or less retains the iconic design of the original, down to its horizontally embossed dial. Each watch in the line perfectly complements active lifestyles with inimitable class and elegance. Current models come in steel, rose gold, white gold and two-tone combinations, meaning there is a Nautilus watch for every taste. Particular models are especially sought after at auction, such as the rare and important Nautilus 2499.
4. Patek Philippe Aquanaut
The glorious Aquanaut collection is one of the most fascinating lines from this storied brand. When it launched in 1997, the Aquanaut created a real sensation among watch connoisseurs. The youthful, modern design was a complete surprise. Inspired by the rounded octagon case of its predecessor the Nautilus, this premier sports watch featured a completely unexpected tropical strap made from innovative composite material. This relaxed strap was ultra-resistant to wear, saltwater and UV radiation, giving an appearance of ultramodern sports chic.
The impetus for the Aquanaut design came from the era in which it was created. The 1990s were one of the most unperturbed, carefree decades in recent memory. As the excess of the 1980s gave way to more restrained taste in the 1990s, a more casual trend emerged. This was the decade when the concept of ‘business casual’ was coined in fashion and the passion for debonair took a backseat. As suits and ties became less of a requirement in the workplace, Patek Philippe was at a crossroads. As the watch industry’s most eminent creator, readily associated with formality and tradition, what would the customers of tomorrow desire in terms of watch design? Patek Philippe decided to dial up the casual aesthetic with the revolutionary Aquanaut watch, distinguished by its relaxed rubber strap and a dial with large numbers pitted against big markers.
Fast forward to today and it is common to see chunky, casual watches in the boardroom. By comparison, the Aquanaut is now a stone-cold classic, smart while still informal enough to pair with relaxed attire. Now, the Aquanaut’s fresh, modern simplicity is as much a part of Patek Philippe legacy as the Nautilus. Your Aquanaut is more than a way to keep track of time. Increasingly sought after, it could prove to be a profitable investment.
5. Patek Philippe Twenty~Four
When it comes to ladies watches, few compare to the timeless elegance of Patek Philippe’s iconic Twenty~Four collection. Comprised of both quartz and more recent automatic models, this exquisite group of ladies watches represents a departure from the brand’s traditional timepieces.
When Patek Philippe created this prestigious line in 1999, they were determined to capture the spirit of the young, modern, active woman. The original Twenty~Four watch promised to ‘fit in with every moment of her life’ in a way watches by competitor brands could not. This was the first Patek Philippe steel ladies bracelet watch by the Swiss watchmaker, known for its rectangular design and articulated bracelet.
The Twenty~Four collection of exquisite watches perfectly complement the latest fashions, as well as classic evening wear, business wear and casual attire. The versatility of Patek Philippe’s magnificent Twenty~Four collection is indeed a huge part of its appeal. Proposed in diamond-set rose gold or stainless steel, these watches have been a mainstay of the high-end watch market for twenty years.
In 2018, the brand launched a brand new series of Twenty~Four Automatic self-winding mechanical models, featuring a round case with date aperture and sweep seconds. In this launch, the best selling range of ladies watched from Patek Philippe got a makeover, with a new look and new mechanical movement. Collectively, the quartz and automatic models are prized for their luxurious, sophisticated silhouette and reliable timekeeping, making any one a must-have for a chic woman’s jewellery box.
6. Patek Philippe pocket watches
Pocket watches were created in the 16th century and were popular until World War I. The pocket watch holds a very special place in the world of Patek Philippe. Hand-finished pocket timepieces make up a big part of the brand’s history, which stretches back 180 years.
If you want to experience the savoir-faire of Patek Philippe’s artisans, look no further than their exquisite pocket watches, which are still in production today. They exemplify the seal of tradition that the brand has come to be associated with. While wristwatches have taken preference, pocket watches are now rarities that continue to delight connoisseurs. These items are not actually worn today as they would have been centuries ago.
Today, they are primarily works of art. Patek Philippe’s collection of pocket watches are stunning examples of the high skill of watch technicians, who use the pocket watch as a canvas to demonstrate enamelling, guilloche, engraving, and gem-setting. As the guardian of high-end watchmaking, Patek Philippe continues to create pocket watches in small numbers. Their beauty and grace remain a source of wonder. These timepieces, which boast manually wound movements, are produced with ultimate artisanship and timekeeping accuracy.
Take the Henry Graves Supercomplication, for example. This astounding one-off mechanical pocket watch is considered one of the most complicated achievements in horology, commissioned by the famous American banker Henry Graves Jr in 1925. He wanted to trump the Grande Pocketwatch commissioned from Vacheron Constantin by James Ward Packard. As such, Patek Philippe designed the Supercomplication with 24 different functions, including sunrise and sunset times and a celestial map of New York. Overall, this exquisite pocket watch took three years to design and five to manufacture. When it last sold at auction in 2014, the watch set a new record of $24 million USD. More information on the most expensive Patek Phillipe watches ever sold at auction.
7. Patek Philippe Dome Table
Beautifully delicate and ornamental, fine dome table clocks are a nostalgic rarity these days, and so they often fetch a very good price at auction. Anton Harder invented and patented the torsion pendulum clock in 1841. Also known as 400-day or anniversary clocks, dome table clocks can run for an entire year on a single winding, but some models run for far longer than this. Clocks of this style are objects of scarcity and curiosity among collectors. If you are looking for London pawnbrokers for Patek Philippe Dome Table Clocks, know that these items are a solid investment.
The generous rounded surface of a dome clock makes it the perfect canvas for artisan skills. As the leader in Geneva’s great tradition in watchmaking, Patek Philippe’s Dome Table Clocks are synonymous with the art of enamelling. Cloisonné enamel enables the decoration of exquisite multi-coloured paintings on dome table clocks, with images outlined using tiny gold wires. The alveoli are filled with layers of enamel, giving an enchanting impression.
Every year, the brand presents a handful of creations produced as one of a kind or limited editions in its rarities collection, reflecting tremendously varied sources of inspiration. The generous proportions of a dome clock make it the perfect for enamel colourwork. Designs for current models take inspiration from animals and flowers: the Frisian Islands, Japanese Cranes and Pink Flamingos.
8. Patek Philippe Gondolo
Established in 1993, the striking Patek Philippe Gondolo collection is extraordinary because it consists of form (shaped) watches that evoke the spirit of the art deco movement. Instead of a round face, these eye-catching watches favour square, rectangular, cushion or barrel-shaped faces that make a unique statement among a sea of circular counterparts.
Gondolo is one of the standout collections, boasting a rich and interesting history. Despite launching in the 1990s, this line of timepieces takes inspiration from the first wristwatches made by the brand for the Brazilian market in the early 1900s. Patek Philippe has always had a special business relationship with Brazil, after forming a pivotal partnership with jewellers Carlos Gondolo and Paulo Labouriau in 1872. Thanks to the 50-year collaboration, the brand became enormously popular in the southern hemisphere.
During World War I, Gondolo and Labouriau sold around a third of Philippe’s total annual production. The luxury watches were a household name among the Brazilian elite, with devoted Patek fans calling themselves the ‘Gondolo Gang’. The members of this exclusive club socialised regularly, often sporting specially designed Patek sombreros.
Attractive and spectacularly unique in equal measure, the Patek Philippe Gondolo watch collection is a bold departure from the minimalist philosophy that the brand is readily associated. Characterised by bold rectangular lines and geometric shapes reminiscent of art deco style, each piece in the spellbinding Gondolo collection nods to luxury and opulence.
Patek Philippe’s commitment to technological innovation ensures that each watch in this line benefits from the latest timekeeping expertise. By inventing the Gondolo, Patek Philippe has revived some of its most iconic historical watches, infusing an element of subtle modernity to bring the entire collection up to date.
Finally, let us conclude this article by mentioning one of the most famous examples of investment in Patek watches – Stephen S. Palmer’s famous Patek Philippe Grand Complication No. 97912.
Manufactured in 1898, this exceptionally rare watch was bought for 6,500 Swiss Francs and made history when it sold for more than $2.25 million – a world record in auction. This minute-repeating, perpetual calendar, split seconds chronograph watch with grand and petite sonnerie and moon phases is a very special timepiece that ended up being a global curiosity.
If you find yourself in the possession of a Patek Philippe timepiece, and consider to pawn it, do get in touch! New Bond Street Pawnbrokers offers very competitive interest rates on financing against fine watches like Patek Philippe, A Lange & Sohne, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Tiffany, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemars Piguet, Graff, Patek Philippe, and Rolex.
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