Patek Philippe

Widely acknowledged as the most prestigious watchmaking brand in existence, Patek Philippe has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1839 by Antoine Nobert de Patek and François Czapek. Initially established as Patek, Czapek & Cie, the firm changed its name to Patek, Philippe & Cie when the gifted French watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe joined them following Czapek’s departure.

For over 180 years, this Geneva firm has produced highly complicated wristwatches for some of the world’s greatest collectors. This includes the 'Packard’ (No. 198 023), made for American automobile tycoon James Ward Packard in 1927, and the ‘Graves’ supercomplication pocket watch (No. 198 385) for American banker Henry Graves Jr. With a whopping 23 complications, the latter model was the most complicated timepiece ever made at the time. Patek Philippe is also credited with creating the first perpetual calendar wristwatch (Ref. 1526) and the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch produced in series (Ref. 1518).

Owned by the Stern family since 1932, Patek Philippe watches often combine technical innovation with rare metiers d’art such as engraving and enamelling, executed by artisans at the top of their game. Rare examples such as a Ref. 2523 with an enamel dial can fetch seven-figure sums at auction. The Ref. 2499, which replaced the Ref. 1518 in 1951 and was produced for nearly 35 years, is widely considered the greatest wristwatch ever made and set the template for modern perpetual calendar chronographs.

In 1976, in response to a demand for luxury steel sports watches, Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus Ref. 3700, which has since become a mainstay of the brand’s product line-up. The Nautilus Ref. 5711 introduced in 2006 to celebrate the model’s 30th anniversary would go on to become one of the most popular and desirable sports watches of the 21st century.

To mark its 150th anniversary in 1989, Patek Philippe created the Calibre 89, ‘the most complicated watch in the world’ at the time, with 33 complications. This was a record that stood until Vacheron Constantin released the Reference 57260 in 2015. In 2001, the brand introduced the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002, a wristwatch with two dials and 12 complications including tourbillon, minute repeater, sky chart, and moon phase and orbit. A horological heavyweight, this wristwatch was so exclusive that every purchase required an application from the buyer and had to be approved by Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern.

In 2019, Patek Philippe broke the record for the most expensive timepiece ever sold at a public auction when the Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 hammered for $31,194,370 at the Only Watch charity sale at Christie’s Geneva.