Top Tier: Patek Philippe Grand Complications
Patek Philippe puts their watchmaking prowess on full display with the Grand Complications collection. This series contains the world's most intricate and exclusive wristwatches, which are both status symbols and good investments.
Watchmaking of the Highest Order
Patek Philippe is world-renowned for their complicated pocket watches and wristwatches. Acoustic complications such as minute repeaters or chimes—grande and petite sonnerie—are this Genevan manufacturer's specialty. Patek Philippe is also well known for their use of perpetual calendars and split-seconds (double) chronographs.
All of these complications appear in the Grand Complications collection. In fact, most of the watches in this series feature several of these functions. Patek Philippe equipped the Sky Moon Tourbillon with 12 complications and the Grandmaster Chime with 20. They are among the most complicated wristwatches ever made.
However, Patek's expert craftsmanship stretches far beyond impressive technology. Their materials and finishes are also unrivaled. The impeccable platinum or white, yellow, or rose gold cases are often guillochéed by hand, intricately engraved, or adorned with flawless diamonds. The designs are timelessly elegant, making these watches both status symbols and worthy investments.
5 Reasons to Buy a Grand Complications
- Grandmaster Chime: Patek Philippe's most complicated watch
- Sky Moon Tourbillon: Patek Philippe's first double-faced watch
- Perpetual calendar and double chronograph complications
- Celestial models with depictions of the night sky and astronomical complications
- Patek Philippe's specialty: watches with minute repeaters
Prices at a Glance: Patek Philippe Grand Complications
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, complications|
|Grandmaster Chime, 6300G-001||3.62 million USD||White gold, 20 complications (incl. chimes, two time zones, and a perpetual calendar)|
|Sky Moon Tourbillon, 6002G-001||2.71 million USD||White gold, 12 complications (incl. a perpetual calendar, tourbillon, and astronomical displays)|
|Sky Moon Tourbillon, 5002P||1.21 million USD||Platinum, 12 complications (incl. a perpetual calendar, tourbillon, and astronomical displays)|
|Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater Chronograph, 5208R-001||935,000 USD||Rose gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, chronograph, moon phase display|
|Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater, 5304R-001||669,000 USD||Rose gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater|
|Celestial, 6102R-001||303,000 USD||Rose gold, star track, displays for the Moon's phases and orbit|
|Rattrapante, 5370P-001||234,000 USD||Platinum, split-seconds chronograph|
|Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, 5270J-001||155,000 USD||Yellow gold, perpetual calendar, chronograph, moon phase|
|Perpetual Calendar, 5320G-001||77,000 USD||White gold, perpetual calendar, moon phase|
|Perpetual Calendar, 3945||35,000 USD||Yellow gold, perpetual calendar, moon phase|
How much does a Grand Complications cost?
The entry point into the Patek Philippe Grand Complications collection is probably much lower than you think. The refs. 3945 and 5040 from the early 1990s combine a perpetual calendar with a moon phase display and cost between 34,500 and 43,500 USD. A similar watch from the current collection will set you back anywhere from 71,000 to 78,500 USD.
Prices quickly rise once you pair a perpetual calendar with a chronograph. Those with a conventional chronograph demand between 125,000 and 173,000 USD, while prices for models with a split-seconds chronograph range from 233,000 to 266,000 USD.
If you're looking for a model with a minute repeater, the Grand Complications collection has plenty of watches to choose from. Be sure to set aside between 325,000 and 936,000 USD for one of these timepieces. Celestial models with astronomical displays, including for the stars and the Moon's orbit, also cost upwards of 300,000 USD.
Highly complicated timepieces like the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon and Grandmaster Chime would be the crowing jewel of any watch collection. Prices for these masterpieces fall between 1.49 and 3.62 million USD.
Grand Complications With a Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe has a long history of producing watches with perpetual calendars. In fact, this Swiss brand became one of the first watchmakers to equip a wristwatch with the complication in the 1920s. This technology is so advanced that you only ever have to set the date displays once – as long as it never runs out of energy and stops running, that is. Perpetual calendars know which months have 30 and which have 31 days. Furthermore, they can account for February and leap years. Theoretically, you could set this watch today and never have to adjust it again until March 1, 2100.
The most affordable Grand Complications models with this complication belong to the Perpetual Calendar series. Here, you can choose from calendars with subdials and hands or windows for the day and month.
The reliable in-house caliber 240 Q has been powering timepieces with subdial displays for decades. This movement boasts a moon phase display in addition to its perpetual calendar. One example of a watch with this technology is the ref. 3940 from the early 1990s. At 36 mm in diameter, this model looks fantastic on smaller wrists. You can purchase a mint-condition gold version for about 42,000 USD, while the platinum edition demands roughly 66,500 USD. The same movement also powers current models like the ref. 5327. This watch is slightly larger at 39 mm and sells for around 71,000 USD.
Patek also produces several options for those who prefer window displays. For example, the ref. 5320G has a more modern design and resembles classic pilot's watches thanks to its luminous Arabic numerals and syringe-shaped hands. This model gets its power from the in-house caliber 324 S Q, which places the day and month in a double window display at 12 o'clock. A dual pointer date and moon phase display subdial sits across the dial at 6 o'clock. The leap year and day/night indicators appear in small round windows at 4:30 and 7:30, respectively. You can call this 40-mm white gold watch your own for about 78,500 USD.
If you prefer classic designs, you should take a closer look at the ref. 5159. This 38-mm timepiece features Roman numerals and a white opaline dial with a hand-guillochéed center. Inside the case, you'll find the caliber 324 S QR. This movement comes with an additional central hand for the retrograde date display. There are also windows for the month and day at 3 and 9 o'clock. The leap year indicator appears at 12 o'clock and sits directly opposite the moon phase display at 6. This model is available in white, yellow, or rose gold and demands around 76,000 USD. The white gold edition with an intricately engraved case (ref. 5160/500G) can be yours for approximately 178,000 USD.
Prices for Chronographs
Patek Philippe often pairs perpetual calendars with other complications, such as minute repeaters or chronographs. One example is the ref. 5270 with a chronograph and perpetual calendar. Patek introduced this 41-mm timepiece in 2018 and offers versions in rose gold, yellow gold, or platinum. Its power comes from the manual caliber CH 29-535 PS Q, which features a moon phase display, leap year indicator, and day/night display in addition to its calendar and stopwatch functions. Prices for a gold edition begin around 155,000 USD. The platinum variant will set you back roughly 181,000 USD. The ref. 5271P is also a platinum watch and has the same technology; however, its case is adorned with 80 baguette-cut diamonds. This exquisite timepiece costs about 265,000 USD.
The ref. 5204 combines two of Patek Philippe's specialties in one watch: a perpetual calendar and a split-seconds chronograph. Its 40-mm rose gold case houses the caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q. This movement features a minute counter at 3, a dual pointer date and moon phase display at 6, a small seconds at 9, and double windows for the day and month at 12 o'clock. You can purchase a ref. 5204 for as little as 265,000 USD.
Grand Complications With Chimes
Patek Philippe is also a leader in the realm of watches with minute repeaters. The most affordable model with this complication is the 38-mm ref. 5078G in white gold. This watch gets its power from the caliber R 27 PS with a small seconds at 6 o'clock and a chiming mechanism. A slide on the left side of the case activates the chimes, acoustically relaying the time broken down into hours, quarter hours, and minutes. The 5078G's classic design resembles that of a traditional pocket watch. You can choose from a cream-colored or black dial. Prices vary depending on the exact edition and range from 348,000 to 421,000 USD.
You should expect to pay significantly more for a combined perpetual calendar and minute repeater. The ref. 5304R is one such timepiece and a true feast for the eyes. Its skeletonized dial provides a view of the ornate automatic caliber R 27 PS QR LU within. This 43-mm rose gold watch sells for around 669,000 USD. Instead of a skeletonized dial, the ref. 5207G features a tourbillon, which you can view through the sapphire crystal case back. This particular model requires an investment of roughly 912,000 USD.
There are also watches that combine a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, and chronograph. One example is the ref. 5208R with the caliber R CH 27 PS QI. These timepieces are worth around 935,000 USD.
Watches With Astronomical Displays
The Celestial models and their astronomical displays are a highlight within the Patek Philippe Grand Complications collection. Each dial features an accurate star chart of the sky as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. There's also a display for the mean solar time, a pointer date, and an indicator with the phases and orbit of the Moon. You can even use the watch to tell the time of meridian passage of Sirius and the Moon. All this functionality comes from the automatic caliber 240 LU CL C. Thanks to its micro-rotor, this movement is astonishingly thin at only 6.81 mm. A rose gold Celestial ref. 6102R demands about 303,000 USD in mint condition. Prices for the platinum edition sit around 315,000 USD. You'll need an additional 24,000 USD on hand if you prefer the model with a diamond-studded bezel.
The 12 Complications of the Sky Moon Tourbillon
Patek Philippe caused a stir with their Sky Moon Tourbillon in 2001. At the time, the watch was the most complicated wristwatch Patek Philippe had ever developed. The Sky Moon Tourbillon features twelve complications and is the manufacturer's first double-faced wristwatch. The front displays the time, day, date, month, leap year cycle, and age of the Moon. "Age of the Moon" refers to the number of days since the last new moon. When you flip the watch over, you'll find many different astronomical complications, such as a depiction of the night sky, the phases of the Moon, and sidereal time. A sidereal day is the amount of time it takes for the Earth to make one rotation relative to the vernal equinox and, on average, is about four minutes shorter than the typical 24-hour day.
Of course, all those complications come at a price. A never-worn Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R in rose gold typically sells for around 1.49 million USD. With any luck, you may find a well-maintained platinum edition (5002P) for "only" 1.21 million USD.
The new version of the Sky Moon Tourbillon debuted in 2013. It bears the reference number 6002 and is almost identical to the previous version in terms of functionality. However, the 6002 has an intricately engraved white gold case and an enamel dial. You can call this masterpiece your own for about 2.71 million USD.
Unrivaled Complexity: Grandmaster Chime
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 5175 is one of the world's most complicated wristwatches. The family-run manufacturer presented this watch in 2014 in celebration of the company's 175th anniversary. This model has both front and back dials and a total of 20 complications. The "chime" in its name refers to the watch's acoustic complications, which include a grande and petite sonnerie, minute repeater, alarm function, and date repeater. At release, the alarm and date repeater were new, revolutionary complications. Thanks to its perpetual calendar, the watch always knows which date to chime.
The alarm function is another special complication. Similar to a minute repeater, the alarm chimes first the hour, then the quarter hour, and then the minutes.
With a case diameter of 47.4 mm and a thickness of 16.1 mm, the Grandmaster Chime is certainly still wearable. Inside its hand-engraved rose gold case is the caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM, which is comprised of 1,366 pieces. Aside from the acoustic complications, this watch boasts power reserve indicators for the movement and chime, a second time zone, a perpetual calendar, a moon phase display, and a day/night indicator. Patek Philippe only produced seven copies of the Grandmaster Chime 5171, one of which resides in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
Patek Philippe has since added this model to their regular catalog under the reference number 6300G. While it has the same technology as the anniversary edition, the series model lacks its fine engraving. What's more, the current edition comes with a white gold case. You can call this technological masterpiece your own for about 3.62 million USD.
The Inspiration: Intricate Pocket Watches
With 24 complications, the Graves Supercomplication has been one of the world's most intricate watches for many decades. In fact, it even held the record for the most complicated pocket watch until 1989. It features a double chronograph, perpetual calendar, sidereal time display, displays for the sunrise and sunset time, and a depiction of the night sky over New York City. Patek Philippe made this watch, reference number 198385, for the American banker Henry Graves, Jr., who lived in the Big Apple.
Graves was a passionate watch collector and especially loved Patek Philippe watches. He was also embroiled in a competition with automobile manufacturer James Ward Packard. Both men commissioned multiple watches from Patek Philippe, each time seeking to outdo their rival in terms of complexity. In the end, Graves won with the Graves Supercomplication, which he ordered in 1925. Producing the pocket watch took seven years. Whether or not Patek Philippe could have built an even more complicated watch at the beginning of the 1930s is unclear. Packard passed away in 1928 and was unable to commission any more watches.
It took Patek Philippe until 1989 to create a watch more complicated than the Graves Supercomplication. That year, they released the Calibre 89, a pocket watch with 33 complications. On the front, the Calibre 89 features a perpetual calendar, a combined moon phase and moon age display, a split-seconds chronograph, and a second time zone. The back has various astronomical displays. The Calibre 89 also boasts acoustic complications, such as a minute repeater, a grande and petite sonnerie, and an alarm. The development and production of this watchmaking masterpiece took nine years. The Calibre 89 remains one of the most complicated pocket watches in the world today.
In 2015, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin presented a pocket watch with a total of 57 complications. The pocket watch, reference number 57260, was made especially for an anonymous wealthy client.