Patek Philippe Investment Watches
Patek Philippe Investment Watches

Brand Spotlight: Everything to Know About Patek Philippe


It takes a lot for a timepiece to truly stand out and even more so for a brand to cut through the noise and myriad of metallic straps and shiny dials. Of all the designer watch brands out there, Patek Philippe is one of the few that has managed to carve its way through the market and offer an enticing selection of luxury watches that are built to last for generations.


From intricate dials with silvery stars and moons to women’s watches embedded with a rainbow of precious gemstones, Patek Philippe is a company that’s not afraid to herald the complex and step away from the more minimalist timepieces out there. If you’re considering one of these investment watches for yourself, we’ve put together a little profile on the brand, discussing what makes it stand out from rest and the watch designs that collectors adore.


What to Know About Patek Philippe

Like many of the best watches, Patek Philippe is headquartered in Switzerland and run by CEO Claude Peny and president Thierry Stern. Philippe Stern, the father of Theirry, still serves as honorary president, keeping the company within the family that’s owned the business since the early 1930s. 


There are four philosophies the company stands by that are inherent in its work and how the company is run. First is the focus on human craft and the abilities that people have to create a timepiece that no machine could replicate. The second is the team’s belief in all of their collections, never praising one piece or series as better than another. 


The third hones in on the importance of longevity. Each timepiece should be built to last for decades of wear through many generations. As one of its most iconic taglines states, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” And it’s clear that the company and its watches carry this air of knowing it’s a multigenerational investment. 


The last pillar is an emphasis on taking the time that’s needed to build a piece. Quick and dirty isn’t the name of the game at Patek Philippe. It’s evident in the timeline — the company released a new line of watches last year, which was the first time it’s done so in 24 years.


But before these philosophies that guide the 1,600-people-strong company ever came to be, Patek Philippe had a rockier start. 


The History of Patek Philippe

Founded in 1839, the company was originally known as Patek, Czapek & Cie. Only six years later, the company had to shut down and liquidate — a surprising but very realistic scenario in business. That, of course, wasn’t the end for the renowned watch brand. The name shifted again and then once more to Patek & Cie. Many years later in 1932, it was acquired by the current owners, the Stern family.


This wasn’t the end of troublesome times though. Despite Patek Philippe having numerous patents and popularity and attention from royals, during the Great Depression difficulties arose. The company pushed on, toeing the line between a breakdown and a brand that could continue thriving. Fortunately, the launch of its Calatrava watch assisted in keeping them afloat.


These difficulties didn’t last and Patek Philippe has cemented itself as one of the most well-known luxury watch brands. Nowadays, its watches are still beloved by celebrities and everyday collectors alike. Drake, Victoria Beckham, Brad Pitt, Jay-Z, and Gisele Bündchen are just a few famous faces who have been seen wearing one of the brand’s watches. 


What Patek Philippe is Known For

Patek Philippe is a company of innovation and over time released a long list of unique mechanisms and patents. It created the first electronic clock and the first fully electronic timekeeper. The brand has over 100 different patents on everything including timezone watches, perpetual calendar mechanisms, precision regulators, and more. The company was awarded numerous prizes over time, too. 


While the Twenty~4 and Golden Ellipse are two examples of more stylistically modest watches, the brand contrasts itself with Complications and Gondolo — two styles that are extremely detailed and flashy. But whether it errs on the side of minimal or maximal aesthetically, this doesn’t point to just how technical each piece is. Its Calibre 89 pocket watch has the most complications of any “portable timepiece,” and this is one example that shows just how varied and detailed the brand’s designs can be internally and externally. 


Patek Philippe’s Most Popular and Valuable Watches

Patek Philippe has a lengthy list of models that are high-worth and popular with collectors. Many of the brand’s watches retain their value as time passes — and some even become more valuable. The company is also responsible for some of the most expensive watches ever sold. 

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Watches

The Aquanaut is a sports watch with a modern and fresh take. Coming 20 years after the Nautaulis — the model which the brand’s designers drew inspiration from — it’s a smart choice for fitness and nature enthusiasts or anyone who spends time sweating or relaxing outside. Its most popular strap is the “tropical,” which is a rubberized style, so wearers don’t have to worry about the elements messing with their investment. It has multiple models and some are now rarer, leading to a major increase in resell value.

Shop Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches


Patek Philippe Grand Complications Watches

The watches that come from the Grand Complications lineage (like the Grandmaster Chime) are the most complex accessories hailing from the brand. These watches have a split-seconds mechanism, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and more all delicately placed inside the small circle that sits on your wrist. With self and manual winding options, there are a variety of date-time interfaces, colorful faces and straps, and a sprinkling of moon and stars on the dials. The inner array of intricate and minuscule gears and hammers make the watch run effortlessly.

Shop Patek Philippe Grand Complications watches


Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches

The Patek Philippe Nautilus made its entrance into the world in 1976. It has since become one of the most popular lines from the brand and has a variety of rarer models in its collection. It’s another luxury sports watch and its rounded dial influenced the octagonal Aquanaut that came at a later date. The company even teamed up with esteemed jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. to create a version with that eye-catching signature blue. Unsurprisingly, this is a celeb favorite, too.

Shop Patek Philippe Nautilus watches


Patek Philippe Calatrava Watches

When you think of a classic luxury wristwatch, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Calatrava instantly came to mind. With a circular case and minimal dial, it’s a smart call for collectors who prefer styles that stray far from maximalism. The Calatrava has been around since 1932 and although its design is more subdued, the 13 different models all stand out in their own way. Some feature rose gold cases whereas others have bright magenta straps and dials and some include patterns on their faces. 

Shop Patek Philippe Calatrava watches


The most expensive watches ever auctioned off or sold by the brand were the Grandmaster Chime and Grand Complications Sky Moon which went for a cool $31 million and $2.6 million respectively. This small snippet of such an iconic brand will make you feel more well-versed in and familiar with the world of Patek Philippe before you invest in a timepiece. 


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