Patek Philippe has been a powerhouse of luxury watchmaking ever since it was founded in 1839. The family-owned watch manufacturer is renowned for producing timepieces of exceptional quality and reliability, all of which are perfect for passing down from one generation to the next.
Its researchers, designers and engineers ensure perfection in every single element of its watches – from the first sketches to the assembling of the movement. The brand also proudly declares that it can restore and maintain any Patek Philippe watch created since the company was founded.
In this guide, we have hand-picked a selection of the finest Patek Philippe timepieces.
Patek Philippe Calatrava
The battlefields of the First World War, the Great Depression and a revolutionary design movement have all played a key part in the history of the Calatrava, Patek Philippe’s flagship collection. In fact, the Calatrava’s origins can be traced back as far as 1905, when the brand created its first watch made specifically to be worn on the wrist.
Originally more popular with women, the wristwatch began finding favour with men during the Great War, as they were more convenient than a pendant or pocket watch while on the battlefield. And, while essentially still pocket watches on leather straps, they became known as ‘officers’ watches’.
In the late 1920s, a decade after the end of the War, a black cloud descended over the economy in the form of the Great Depression – and Patek Philippe, like so many other companies, began to run into difficulties. In 1932, the brand was rescued by brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern, the owners of a company that supplied dials for Patek Philippe. The family still owns the business today, four generations later.
Immediately on taking over, the brothers knew what was needed: a high-quality watch that was simple to produce and would have widespread appeal. The result was the 1932 Calatrava Ref. 96, a beautifully uncomplicated creation that harked back to the officers’ watches of the First World War, but which also drew inspiration from Germany’s post-war Bauhaus design movement. Based on the principle of ‘form follows function’, Bauhaus style favoured simplicity over ornamentation, and its influence is still clear in everything from German cars to Swedish furniture.
The Calatrava Ref. 96 remains the epitome of elegant simplicity, and, almost 90 years later, that original aesthetic still informs the modern-day Calatrava collection. It’s like they say, if it ain’t broke…
With its pure lines, the Calatrava is recognized as the very essence of the round wristwatch and one of the finest symbols of the Patek Philippe style. Supremely elegant, it charms each new generation of watch lovers by its timeless understated perfection. The 18ct yellow gold Calatrava (5227J-001) pictured above, would make a beautiful addition to any watch collection, or indeed the beautiful start to one. The self-winding mechanical movement timepiece features a 39mm yellow gold casing, beautiful ivory lacquered dial, and a chocolate brown alligator strap. It is powered by the calibre 324 S C and is water resistant to 30m.
Patek Philippe Twenty~4
Created in 1999, the Twenty~4 epitomizes timeless feminine elegance. Dedicated to the young, active and modern woman, this prestige ladies watch was conceived to fit in with every moment of her life. Proposed in diamond-set rose gold or stainless steel versions, it is the perfect complement to fashionable business or casual wear and the most elegant dress watch for any eveningwear. With 2018 marking the launch of the Twenty~4 Automatic, brand new models now complete the existing range.
This new series of self-winding mechanical ladies watches are the first models of the Twenty~4 collection with a round case and the calibre 324 S C self-winding movement with date aperture and sweep seconds.
The medium-format Twenty~4 manchette quartz watch is infused with fresh momentum and comes in two new versions: the former Roman numerals are replaced with applied Arabic numerals in gold and trapeze-shaped gold markers take the place of the diamond markers. With its timeless and yet contemporary face, this watch is a companion for all of the hours of an active life. This steel model is available with a blue sunburst dial (4910/1200A-001). The crown is decorated with the Calatrava cross, Patek Philippe’s trademark emblem.
The rose gold version (7300/1200R-001) with diamond-set bezel is available with a brown sunburst or silvery dial enriched with a shimmering vertical and horizontal satin finish that is reminiscent of wild shantung silk. The beating heart of the timepiece is the calibre 324 S C self-winding movement, which is visible through the sapphire-crystal case back, displaying hours, minutes and sweep seconds, and the date in a small aperture at 6 o’clock.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar
The patented Annual Calendar complication was launched in 1996 and has been a great success story for the Manufacture for almost 25 years. Designed to appeal to a new generation of watch-lovers, the patented Annual Calendar mechanism offered a more accessible, innovative and user-friendly complication.
This ingenious mechanism has emerged as one of the Manufacture’s flagship models. The complication indicates the date for months of 30 and 31 days and needs only one correction per year – from February 28 or 29 to March 1.
The Manufacture’s patented Annual Calendar belongs to the family of ‘useful complications’. It sits between the classic calendar, which needs adjusting five times a year for months of less than 31 days, and the perpetual calendar, which requires no adjustment whatsoever. This mechanism needs re-setting just once a year, at the end of February.
The calibre 315 S QA mechanism was first presented within Ref. 5035 in yellow gold. The collection has evolved with the addition of new models and the combination of the Annual Calendar function with other complications.
From 2005 to 2008, the Annual Calendar mechanism was featured in three Patek Philippe Advanced Research timepieces, featuring some ground-breaking new technological innovations.
The dedicated Advanced Research department was created to focus exclusively on exploring and developing new technologies and materials; it underlines the company’s continued commitment to technological advances in horology.
Indicating the day of the week, the date and the month, and requiring correction only once a year, this ingenious mechanism has emerged as one of Patek Philippe’s flagship models. It offers a choice of different displays and nuances of style, always combining elegant lines, noble materials and lavish attention to finish. This stunning piece features a 38mm rose gold casing set with 141 diamonds, exquisite silvery sunburst dial, and a rich burgundy alligator strap. It also features gold applied numerals, and the crown is also set with 14 diamonds. This is a show-stopping piece that would make the perfect gift for this season.