DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT

How Expensive Are Patek Philippe Watches?

Winter Jewelry trends

When a steel Grandmaster Chime went for $31 million at a charity auction a few months ago, Patek Philippe officially became the most expensive watch in the world. But Patek Philippes have long commanded seven-figure sums at auction, while watch connoisseurs seem willing to pay any price to get their hands on its brand-new versions. So just how expensive are Patek Philippe watches

How expensive are Patek Philippe watches?

With over 173 models available,  a brand new Patek Philippe watch is going to cost you anywhere from $12,500 to $2 million and up. However, you should be aware that not every dealer offers every model. You also can’t comparison shop, since stores that stock Patek Philippe rarely quote prices on their websites. (For example, Tiffany & Co., which has been selling Patek Philippe watches since 1851, requests that potential customers call or come into the store for pricing information.) On the other hand, if you’re shopping on the secondary market, you can buy a pre-owned Patek Philippe watch for as little as $7,500.

With most watch companies, the blinged-out version will be at the top of the price range. Likewise, you can almost always expect the platinum version to cost more than the steel. Not so with Patek Philippe. For them, it’s all about the mechanics

Ergo, price varies according to how many complications the watch has and what they are. Annual calendar and dual-time zone complications are among the most common. At the top of the range, Grand Complications usually include a minute repeater, a chronograph, and the kind of perpetual calendar that accounts for leap years. At the top of the top, the Grandmaster Chime that brought $31 million last year boasted no less than 20 complications, including grande and petite sonneries and a four-digit year display. 

But auctions aren’t the only way to access authenticated Patek Philippe watches on the secondary market: At Gemma by WP Diamonds, we sell a range of authenticated, pre-owned Patek Philippe watches at prices starting as low as $7,500. To make owning a Patek Philippe even more accessible, we also provide easy monthly payment plans through our partner Affirm.  

Why Patek Philippes are so expensive

The top five reasons that Patek Philippe continues to command such high prices:  

1. Each watch includes an absurd amount of handwork. The standard Patek Philippe watch takes two or three years to plan and about nine months to produce. Unless it’s a complex model, which takes longer to plan and often two years to produce. Every single component of every single watch is made by Patek Philippe and hand-finished by Patek Philippe. Every. Single. Component. So, before it leaves Switzerland, roughly 1,000 people will have contributed to the production of each timepiece.

2. This house reveres its heritage. As the last of the independent, family-owned horologers based in Geneva, this company loves nothing more than documenting its long and illustrious history, which includes the introduction of keyless winding in 1844, the first perpetual calendar for pocket watches in 1889, and the first perpetual calendar for wristwatches in 1925. Today, each new Patek Philippe comes with a Certificate of Origin that functions as the watch’s birth certificate and warranty. However, if you’ve acquired an older watch (or lost the Certificate), you can apply for an “extract” from the company archives, a document that will detail the design and mechanics of your watch and tell you where and when it was originally sold. (Although, sadly, it will not function as a warranty or guarantee of authenticity.)

3. The watches maintain their value. Patek Philippes have never come cheap. But sometimes the original cost can seem like a bargain in comparison with what they bring today. For example: A Calatrava that cost $300 in the 1950s would bring five figures today. And if you were smart enough to buy a Nautilus, designed by the legendary Gérald Genta, for $3,000 back in 1976, your watch is probably worth at least ten times that amount today. 

4. Patek Philippe doesn’t believe in promotion. Patek Philippe’s popularity illustrates the power of good, old-fashioned snobbery. It has no brand ambassadors. No watches loaned out to influencers. No Facebook pages. Yes, they advertise, but not much (and nobody would ever call those ads trend-setting or flashy). Its sole sop to social media: On the 18th of each month at precisely 18:39 Greenwich Mean Time, it posts a new video to its Instagram account. To find out what’s coming next, your best bets are logging onto the website a lot and reading up on all the watch enthusiasts’ blogs. And still some models go viral—or what passes for it in the world of haute horlogerie. Case in point: the current craze for a Nautilus 5711 with a blue-black face, which inspired the article “It Could Take 8 Years to Get This Patek Philippe. If You Can Get on the List.” in last year’s New York Times. 

5. Celebrities will—happily—pay to wear Patek Philippe. Patek Philippe has been a celebrity favorite from the start. At the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition of 1851, Queen Victoria bought one of their keyless watches for herself and another for Prince Albert, creating a precedent for other royals to patronize Patek Philippe: including her descendant Queen Elizabeth. Pablo Picasso wore a Patek Philippe. So did General George Patton. Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli strapped his over his shirt cuff—setting a new style for menswear. Not long after the two met on the set of Cleopatra, Richard Burton bought a Patek Philippe for Elizabeth Taylor. Musicians John Mayer, Jay-Z, and Ed Sheeran are all famously devoted to their Patek Philippes. As are talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor, and Skinny Girl mogul Bethenny Frankel. People who could wear other watches for free—or earn money as a brand ambassador—happily pay for the privilege of wearing a Patek Philippe. 

Where to buy authentic Patek Philippe watches for the best price

At Gemma by WP Diamonds, you can shop our selection of pre-owned Patek Philippe watches at up to 55 percent off retail: there you’ll find everything from a ladies’ white gold and diamond Twenty-4 to a steel Nautilus 5726A-001—all authenticated by our team of luxury experts. 

Our commitment to selling authentic and affordable Patek Philippe watches is backed by our fantastic customer reviews. With our outstanding savings, easy monthly payment plans, free U.S. shipping and 14-day return policy, your opportunity to own one—or more—Patek Philippe watches is only a click away.

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