Swap Watch Patek Philippe Watches

A brief history of Patek Philippe "the world's finest watches".


1851 Patek displays its smallest pocket watch calibre at the London Great Exhibition. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert both acquire Patek watches—Prince Albert’s is a chronometer with a quarter-hour repeater.

1877 Antoine Norbert de Patek dies, aged 65.1889 The brand receives a patent for a perpetual calendar function for pocket watches. In the same year, Patek Philippe is also awarded a patent for a movement with independent seconds, in which paired mainspring barrels are simultaneously wound using the keyless system.

1894 Jean Adrien Philippe dies, aged 79. Between 1895 and 1897, Patek Philippe will demonstrate its mastery of the “supercomplication” pocket watch—a style of timepiece featuring high numbers of difficult and delicate horological functions. Eventually, the brand will go on to create the most famous “supercomplication" watch in history, which is also destined to become the most expensive luxury watch sold at auction.

1923 The brand’s first split-seconds wrist chronograph is born.

1924 Patek Philippe’s first minute-repeating wristwatch is unveiled.

1925 Patek Philippe unveils its first perpetual calendar wristwatch. This achievement will form the basis of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, one of the most important luxury watches ever made. During the period between 1925 and 1933, Patek Philippe designs and completes the Henry Graves “Supercomplication". This legendary watch will become the high water mark for all complicated timepieces, with 900 separate parts and 24 complications.

1932 Patek Philippe unveils the first Calatrava model. The understated style of the piece will make it a Patek Philippe staple.

1941 Patek Philippe unveils reference 1518, the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Reference 1518 is the first serially-produced perpetual calendar with chronograph in the history of luxury watchmaking. No other luxury watch brand will attempt a serial perpetual calendar with chronograph for half a century. Patek Philippe ref 1518 thus becomes one of the most important wristwatches ever made.

1976 The legendary Nautilus is born. Gerald Genta, king of luxury watch designers (Genta is also responsible for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

1985 Two platinum Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronographs (ref 2499/100) are made on the commission of Henri Stern. One will remain in the Stern family museum in Geneva. The other is sold at auction. It will eventually end up in the collection of Eric Clapton.

1986 Patek Philippe unveils the successor to ref 2499/100: the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph reference 3970.

1989 The brand celebrates its 150th birthday with the launch of the Calibre 89, a limited edition “supercomplication" watch whose complexity will remain unrivalled to the present day.

1996 Reference 5004, a perpetual calendar with rattrapante (split seconds) chronograph, is released. only 12 models will be made per year, making the 5004 a scarce and valuable luxury watch.

1997 The first Patek Philippe Aquanaut is released. 2001 The Sky Moon Tourbillon—Patek Philippe’s first double-faced wristwatch—is created.

2004 Reference 5970, the latest in Patek Philippe’s long and respected line of perpetual calendar chronographs, is released. With a production run of just seven years, the 5970 will quickly become a prime collector’s target at auction.

2006 The Nautilus celebrates its 30th birthday.

2009 The Patek Philippe Seal is launched: a mark guaranteeing the quality of the entire Patek Philippe luxury watch experience, from finished item to after-sales services.

2011 The first Patek Philippe triple complication wristwatch is unveiled.

2012 Reference 5204, an in-house perpetual calendar with split-seconds chrono, is unveiled. Eric Clapton’s platinum Patek Philippe 2499/100 is sold at auction. It reaches well over three million dollars.

2014 The Grandmaster Chime becomes Patek Philippe’s most complicated and ornate wristwatch. This double-faced timepiece is designed to be worn with either side facing up: one focuses on time-telling complications, and the other on the perpetual calendar complications.

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