Patek Philippe is one of the most celebrated maisons in the watch industry. The brand’s nearly 200 year legacy is decorated with countless historic references, each more innovative, complicated, and elegant than the previous.
Patek timepieces from every era remain the fascination of global collectors who prize the simplicity and beauty of Patek’s timepieces. As an enthusiast, it is gratifying to witness the evolution of Patek’s design language as its pieces have developed over the years. Vintage Patek and modern Patek alike share a prioritization of finishing and excellence beyond immediate appearances. President Henri Stern of Patek Philippe once perfectly summarized the brand’s mission: “A friend of mine once compared his Patek Philippe wrist watch to an iceberg. ‘It is the submerged part’ he suggested, ‘the part hidden under the dial which really distinguishes a Patek Philippe from other wristwatches’ ”. With a rapidly expanding list of references, we will analyze a few of the most notable you should consider adding to your collection today.
Patek Philippe 5970R Tiffany Dial
Perhaps no watch better epitomizes Patek Philippe than the 5970. Introduced in 2004, the Patek Philippe 5970 features a perpetual calendar chronograph complication executed off of a heavily modified Lemania base caliber. Balancing traditional proportions and aesthetics with more contemporary 40mm sizing, the 5970 is well established as highly legible on the wrist. All 5970s are particularly sought after and collectible since Patek produced the reference for only a few years, yet this example is one of the rarest, featuring a Tiffany signature on the dial! The intersection of a legendary reference and a coveted Tiffany stamp elevate this watch into a league of its own.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 Olive Green
In the 21st century, the stainless steel sports watch has become a staple of the watch industry. At the helm of the sports watch revolution was the Patek 5711, which exploded in popularity as it became a cultural icon. Recently, Patek announced the discontinuation of the landmark reference, but presented one final variant with an olive green dial. The 5711/1A-014 with Olive green dial is one of the rarest Nautilus references created by the brand, and will hold a special place in the hearts of collectors for perpetuity as a result of its significance as the final 5711 reference. Scarce and significant, the 5711/1A-014 continues to rise at auction as the celebrated cornerstone of the modern Patek Philippe sports repertoire.
Patek Philippe 6119 Calatrava
In 2021, Patek undertook to recreate the brand’s time only dress watch- the Calatrava. Introduced most prominently with the 33mm reference 3919, the Calatrava with hobnail bezel became the blueprint for the dress timepiece, a watch of elegance, simplicity, and quality. Extending the classicism of the 3919 (and subsequent 5119) to a modern timepiece, Patek’s 6119 showcased a 39mm modern case with a completely new movement featuring double barrels. Preserving the heritage of the legendary Calatrava, the 6119 demonstrates Patek’s commitment to history and tradition, while illustrating the progression of design to suit the needs of modern enthusiasts and collectors.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Reference 5167/300G
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut has exploded in popularity in recent years as collectors have recognized its perfect balance of sport and luxury priorities. The 5167/300G is one of the rarest Aquanaut references ever made. Never serially produced, the piece is encrusted in over 100 baguette-cut diamonds. In spite of the diamonds, the piece is surprisingly subtle, and has proven one of the most collectable variations of the legendary Aquanaut design.
Patek Philippe 5207P Minute Repeater Tourbillon
Patek Philippe is undoubtedly best known for their complicated watches. The 5207P is another great representation of Patek’s adaptation of a classic high complication to a new package and presentation. A perpetual calendar tourbillon minute repeater, the 5207P replaced the 5016, presenting aperture displays for the perpetual calendar that yield a simplified and uncluttered dial aesthetic. A modern classic, the 5207 is a celebration of Patek’s legacy for, and focus on, grand complications and high horology.
Patek Philippe 6102R Celestial Sky Chart
One of the funkiest and most mechanically fascinating Patek Philippe references that few know of, the 6102R Celestial Sky Chart packs a considerable punch, incorporating a moving star display that shows the orientation of the stars in the sky based on the time of day, a moonphase, a pointer date, and of course, the time! Celestial complications are rare and very difficult to execute, yet Patek has packaged the complicated micro rotor caliber 240 LU CL C in a svelte 10.58mm case. If you are searching for a unique complication to add to your collection, the 6102R will certainly fit the bill, providing a watch that not only displays a considerable amount of interesting information, but also creates a beautiful star-speckled dial that you will find yourself gazing at for hours.
Patek Philippe 3940 Perpetual Calendar First Series
The Patek Philippe 3940 is one of the brand’s most famous references, and it is not difficult to understand why. At 36mm in diameter and a mere 8mm thick, the 3940 allows the wearer to enjoy the prominence of a Patek Grand Complication without sacrificing the wearability and timelessness of a mid-sized watch. 36mm perfectly balances vintage sizing of old and the supersized proportions of new. Most collectable of all the 3940 variants is the first series (the platinum and white gold versions are also highly sought after), which is characteristically recognized by its sunken subsidiary dials at 3 and 6 o’clock. In spite of this reference’s significance, the pieces are still available at a reasonable price point for the complication category. Increasing in popularity rapidly and ubiquitously recognizable for its understated yet definitive beauty, the 3940 has to be one of the most impressive watches in Patek’s history.
Patek Philippe 5160G-001 Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe watches showcase the hand work of a team of expert craftsmen trained in the ins and outs of high end watchmaking. Usually, the most conspicuous expressions of this craftsmanship are on the movement side. With the 5160G-001 Perpetual Calendar, in rare form, the expert engraving has been extended to the case, dial, caseback, and clasp. The 5160 serves as the intersection of the watchmaking expertise of Patek Philippe and pure art.
Patek Philippe 5172G
Vintage inspired watches have increased in popularity recently, prized for their nostalgic commemoration of the designs and styles of the past. At the same time, these pieces allow the wearer to enjoy the aesthetics of old while exploiting the luxuries of modern manufacturing and finishing. The 5172 is one of Patek’s recent tributes to vintage two register chronographs, featuring a trendy salmon dial. To harbor back to the early years of Patek, the brand has used a stepped case, syringe hands, and bold Arabic numbers and based the design off of historic references.
Patek Philippe 5370P
Yet another vintage inspired timepiece, the 5370 showcases many of Patek Philippe’s signature attributes. A gorgeous blue enamel dial, exceptionally complex rattrapante split-seconds chronograph movement meticulously hand finished, and modern proportions befitting a modern audience of young collectors. This watch is firmly planted in Patek’s history, yet it unabashedly extends the classicism of its design to a more youthful and casual package.