The 11 Best Patek Philippe Watches For Your Endgame Dreams
— Updated on 11 July 2024

The 11 Best Patek Philippe Watches For Your Endgame Dreams

— Updated on 11 July 2024
Nick Kenyon
WORDS BY
Nick Kenyon

In the world of watch collecting, there are levels to the game. Sure, Rolex might be the most famous watch brand in the world, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many watch lovers disagreeing with the premise that Patek Philippe is not only the most coveted watchmaker, but one of the most desirable brands on the planet.

From its historical pedigree and near-perfect archival records, to its technical innovation and unrivalled craftsmanship, simply owning a single Patek Philippe is the end goal for many collectors. If you’re on the hunt for your first Patek Philippe (or your 10th), we’ve put together a list of the best Patek Philippe watches currently produced by the famed Genevan watchmaker.

Let’s get into it.



BH Approved: Our Favourite Patek Philippe In 2024

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5811G

99

/100

SCORE

PROS

  • Iconic Gerald Genta design
  • Instantly recognisable sports watch
  • Comfortable integrated bracelet

CONS

  • White gold instead of steel is a departure from the original design ethos
  • Purists may consider it overhyped
$112,900 at patek.com

In the rarefied world of Patek Philippe, the stainless steel Nautilus was an unlikely story of success when it first debuted in 1976 (under the reference number 3700A), but today, anyone who has heard of Patek Philippe knows about the Gerald Genta-designed icon.

We’ve written many stories about the Nautilus over the last few years, as we watched pre-owned prices soar to record highs and when a Tiffany & Co. special edition was released. However, a combination of global economic uncertainty, and the discontinuation of the stainless steel ref. 5711 in favour of this white gold reference, has seen prices calm significantly of late.

Today, the ref. 5811 is the singular classic time-only Nautilus in the Patek Philippe catalogue, measuring 41mm in diameter and a svelte 8.2mm in thickness, with a deep blue dial that collectors have fallen in love with time and time again. It’s luxuriously finished, easy to wear in a range of contexts, and comfortable on the wrist, making it one of the most sought-after watches on the planet right now.

Yes, it’s arguably still overhyped in the current market. However, we simply can’t ignore how culturally significant and hugely desirable the Nautilus has become in the last half-decade. If you only own one Patek Philippe, you’re unlikely to regret a Nautilus.


The Best Patek Philippe Watches To Add Chase In 2024

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119G

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
  • Case Thickness: 8.08mm
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Bezel Material: White gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Charcoal grey
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 30‑255 PS
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours

In the unlikely event humanity needed to explain to aliens what a mechanical watch was, you could show them Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119G.

The current generation of Calatrava comes complete with a vertically brushed dark grey dial, a guilloched hobnail pattern bezel, and wonderfully finished manually wound movement. It’s pure, it’s simple, it’s perfect.


Patek Philippe In-Line Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 41.3mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.07mm
  • Case Material: Platinum
  • Bezel Material: Platinum
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Salmon
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 31‑260 PS QL
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

Among Patek Philippe’s line-up of so-called Grand Complication watches, the In-Line Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P is a brilliant fusion of vintage design cues and modern watchmaking.

Drawing inspiration from the 1972 No. P-1450 pocket watch (held in the Patek Philippe Museum collection), this ref. 5236P communicates the day, date, and month in a single easy-to-read window at 12 o’clock, while the leap year and day/night indicators flank the seconds and moonphase subdial at 6 o’clock. Pure Patek Philippe, from every angle.


Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 34.5 x 39.5 mm
  • Case Thickness: 5.9 mm
  • Case Material: Rose gold
  • Bezel Material: Rose gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Rose gold
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 240
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

The Golden Ellipse is a collection that hasn’t enjoyed much love from the collecting community in recent decades (except for Patek Philippe dealer and scholar John Reardon), however, this ref. 5738R has turned heads thanks to its masterfully crafted rose gold link bracelet and inky black dial.

Comprising 363 components assembled by Patek Philippe watchmaker’s hands, it helps to celebrate the Ellipse as the design masterwork, with a case that follows the ancient Golden Ratio (1:1.6181) and a remarkably slim profile of just 5.9mm (despite housing an automatic movement inside). It’s not likely to be an everyday watch, but if the dress code is black tie, the ref. 5738R is up there with the best dress watches in the game.


Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5316P

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 40.2mm
  • Case Thickness: 13.23mm
  • Case Material: Platinum
  • Bezel Material: Platinum
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin embossed with fabric pattern
  • Dial Colour: Sapphire crystal with blue metallisation and black-gradient rim
  • Water Resistance: Not water resistant
  • Movement: Caliber R TO 27 PS QR
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

Here we arrive at a pinnacle of weapons-grade haute horlogerie. Part work of art, part mechanical masterpiece, this Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5316P is cased in platinum and houses a technical tour de force of a movement.

It’s got a perpetual calendar display (day, date, month, leap year, phases of the moon), a minute repeater (chiming mechanism with twin gongs), and a tourbillon escapement (to negate the effects of gravity on the accuracy of the movement). It also tells the time.

The dial is made from a smokey disc of sapphire crystal that shows off the Caliber R TO 27 PS QR beneath, while the minute repeater is activated by the barb-like slide on the 9 o’clock side of the case. Yes, you could buy an apartment in New York for the same price, but when you consider exactly what this watch offers your sticker shock will slowly evaporate.


Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5168G

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 42.2mm
  • Case Thickness: 8.25mm
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Bezel Material: White gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Khaki green rubber
  • Dial Colour: Khaki green
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 26‑330 S C
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours

Patek Philippe might be suit-and-tie traditional, but it is the brand’s sports watches that have consumed the most hype of late. The once polarising Aquanaut has become virtually impossible to buy and this jumbo is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch. Featuring a solid white gold case that measures a touch over 42mm, it arrives paired with a khaki green strap that matches the dial (earning it comparisons to a grenade) and is powered by a rock-solid automatic movement.


Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5112A

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.79mm
  • Case Material: Steel
  • Bezel Material: Steel
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin
  • Dial Colour: White
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 26‑330 S C J SE
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours

One of the more unusual references in the Calatrava line-up is the Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5112A, which brings a touch of complication to the typically straightforward collection.

With five centrally stacked hands, it tells the time as well as the day, date, and week of the year, with printed text that faithfully reproduces the handwriting of a member of the brand’s design department. Despite how busy the dial might look at first glance, it communicates a lot of information very simply.


Patek Philippe World Timer Ref. 5231G

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 38.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.23mm
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Bezel Material: White gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Grand Feu cloisonné enamel
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 240 HU
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

While some watchmakers will pride themselves in their gem-setting or engraving expertise, at Patek Philippe the craft of enamel artworks is among the most prized, and this World Timer Ref. 5231G wonderfully showcases the brand’s dedication to the dying artform.

Featuring a dial made from Grand Feu cloisonné enamel (framed by a city ring allowing owners to tell the time anywhere on the planet), it depicts Southeast Asia and Australia with rich shades of blue, green, and brown, with each of the land masses defined by minuscule yellow gold borders. Cased in white gold, the watch measures a universally wearable 38.5mm in diameter and is paired with an alligator leather strap.


Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5271P

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.7mm
  • Case Material: Platinum
  • Bezel Material: Platinum set with 58 baguette-cut diamonds (including the lugs)
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber CH 29‑535 PS Q
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours

The purity of Patek Philippe’s design language might lead you to think the brand wouldn’t traffic in potentially garish diamonds or gemstones, however, the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5271P is a masterclass in the most tasteful use of precious stones.

Technically outstanding thanks to its combination of a perpetual calendar and chronograph (perhaps the complication set most fondly associated with Patek Philippe), it arrives set with 58 baguette-cut diamonds in the bezel and lugs for an unforgettable impression on the wrist. It’s not an easy watch to wear on a daily basis, but as far as the zeniths of Patek Philippe collecting, this is one of them.

Price is based on ruby and sapphire equivalents.


Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740G

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 8.42mm
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Bezel Material: White gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: White gold
  • Dial Colour: Blue
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 240 Q
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

Heavy hitters already know the Nautilus is basically a collecting category in itself, and while there are endless vintage treasures to chase, the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740G is just about as good as it gets in the current catalogue (even if it’s not Bernard Arnault’s piece unique).

Combining everyday wearability with complexity, it’s cased in 40mm of white gold and is impossibly thin at just 8.42mm, thanks to the Caliber 240 Q comprising 275 parts despite its ultra thin 3.88mm profile. The Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740G is a final destination for any serious watch collector.


Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5205R

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.36mm
  • Case Material: Rose gold
  • Bezel Material: Rose gold
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Olive green
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/206
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours

This Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5205R holds a special place in my heart as I was fortunate enough to spend a week with the very first example to land in Australia. After seven days on my wrist, I was left with the impression of a watch that celebrates the very best of Patek’s classicism, while offering enough contemporary design details to prevent it from feeling like a relic.

Its beautifully balanced case is executed in rose gold with a scalloped bezel and skeletonised lugs, while the dial feels intuitive and spacious despite the amount of information it communicates. If you spend more time in board rooms than at the beach, this could easily be your daily companion.


Bonus Vintage Pick: Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Lighter Ref. 9508

Yes, this is a list of the best Patek Philippe watches, but I couldn’t end without mentioning one of my favourite non-horological objects to ever receive the Patek Philippe stamp: the solid gold and enamelled lighter.

Whether you’re sparking a stogie or lighting a scented candle, its immaculate craftsmanship, perfect proportions, and everyday functionality are a wonderful encapsulation of everything Patek Philippe does. Produced in a range of different enamelled colours (and even without an enamel finish), auction results range from around $22,000 for this green example, all the way up to 110,000 for this special order made for the Sultanate of Oman.

For the consummate collector who has it all, a Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Lighter is a worthy acquisition target.


If you’ve enjoyed our shortlist of the best Patek Philippe watchesconsider a range of our other hand-picked horological buying guides:

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Nick Kenyon
WORDS by
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at) luxity.com.au

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