back to top

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

After Patek Philippe’s Geneva celebration to commemorate their 175th anniversary, the storied Swiss watch maker took many of their new limited edition “175th Anniversary” watches on a road show around the world. This included what Patek Philippe hoped would symbolize the pinnacle of the brand’s achievements and value – a limited edition of six pieces “mega watch” called the Patek Philippe 5175 Grandmaster Chime.

aBlogtoWatch first covered the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 watch here when it was first debuted in October 2014. aBlogtoWatch’s David Bredan discussed at length how Patek Philippe bested itself by releasing their most complicated watch ever with 20 different complications and information displayed on both the front and rear of the watches. Watch lovers and collectors around the world eagerly awaited what Patek Philippe would announce for the momentous occasion that no watch brand would give up as an opportunity to produce some interesting timepieces.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

I am rather happy that Patek Philippe decided to recognize the hunger in their collectors by producing more that just one limited edition watch. A visit to Patek Philippe’s website will give you a useful survey of the new 175th Anniversary watches. While some are interesting and nice, the real talking point is the 2,500,000 Swiss Franc ref. 5175.

Collectors are divided on how to accept the aesthetic direction taken with the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 – though most are equally amused with the name which has been frequently uttered as “Patek Philippe Grandmaster Flash,” no doubt in part due to the flashiness of the highly filigreed decoration on the case. Love it or hate it, the hand-engraving all over the case of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is extremely noticeable and statement-worthy.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

In addition to the artistically dense filigree engraving on the case, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is large for a Patek Philippe – some even claim totally unwearable, at 47.4mm wide. Now that size isn’t inherently too large for many other watches, but the very large lug structures make the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175’s case very long. Nevertheless, given all the complications inside, it is impressively thin at just 16.1mm. I think the right people (hopefully a few of them will be among the six owners) will be able to strap this baby on and appropriately wear it – with proper regal attire. While nothing about the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 says “elegant” or “contemporary and tasteful,” it does look like a timepiece European royalty in the middle ages might have worn. Assuming characters in medieval fantasy universes such as Middle Earth (from Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) or Westeros (from Game of Thrones) wore watches, their kings and high lords would probably all wear something that resembles the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175.

Recommending or not recommending the aesthetic virtues or “wearability proposition” of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is a futile discussion. Anyone who put down two and a half million dollars for a Patek Philippe watch isn’t buying their first Patek Philippe. Most of them are regular collectors who will more than likely worry about the long term value of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 and will not subject it to too much wear or use. That is the destiny of many “collectible” Patek Philippe timepieces purchased: to remain in plastic wrap in their brown Patek Philippe boxes. So put aside what notions you have of some billionaire playboy strutting around with a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 showing off his “sexy sonnerie” to the ladies. Chances are that isn’t going to happen much.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

Patek Philippe didn’t produce the Grandmaster Chime to make a lot of money either. Doing the math, it is clear that Patek Philippe enjoyed about $15,600,000 in gross revenue (before retailer commissions if applicable), but in the scheme of things, that is small dollars compared to their higher-volume production of more standard watches that make up the majority of their business. The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is another halo product that is meant to evoke a sense of character and status to the brand. The notion Patek Philippe wants people to feel after learning about the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is that “maybe a little bit of the technology and effort that went into the Grandmaster Chime went into my new Patek Philippe watch.” This is basic marketing and has worked very well for car and watch makers alike for generations.

What makes the car world different from the watch world is a lot of regulations. Most car makers cannot release their innovative concept cars as production models due to tons and tons of regulations designed to make them safe and street legal. The watch industry is not bound by such regulations and can more-or-less release whatever they want. While I am not suggesting that the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is anything less than Patek Philippe says it is, similar “wildly complicated” timepieces are frequently released in the watch industry that simply don’t work – ever.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

This happens because sometimes a watch company simply doesn’t have the resources or time to make a complicated, tiny machine work. Don’t forget that these are machines with a lot of working pieces, and sometimes they can take years to get right. In an environment with few regulations and only a small group of people to “make happy,” there are instances when the world’s most impressive watches don’t ever work really impressively. Like I said, I am not pointing fingers to Patek Philippe, as they are not the type of brand to have this reputation, but this conduct occurs in the industry because most brands see the mere existence of these mega-complicated watches as being of paramount importance to the eyes of watch lovers, compared to the weight given to durability experienced by the actual owners.

Is it surprising that a movement called the caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM has 1,366 individual pieces? This is done because the movement is produced as a series of modules which are stacked atop one another. This way, Patek Philippe can produce a movement with so many functions. Like I said, more information about the movement of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 can be gathered by reading our initial article about it (linked to above).

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

As the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175’s name clearly implies, some of the most impressive functions in the watch are related to chiming complications, such as a minute repeater and a sonnerie. Minute repeaters are fun complications that when activated cause the sounding of various chimes which, when “interpreted,” indicate the current time. Sonneries are similar in that they also use chimes to indicate the time, but they occur at specific intervals (such as on the hour) automatically. The minute repeater is like a sonnerie, but on demand.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

In addition to the various flavors of sonneire (grand sonnerie and peitie sonnerie), the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 also has a neat alarm function which ends with strikes of the chimes. The other major series of complications revolves around the perpetual calendar functions. Patek Philippe designed the 5175 to have a complete calendar system with the day, date, month, leap year, moon phase, as well as the current year. While the back of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175, which displays most of the calendar data, isn’t particularly exciting to look at, the information is beautifully clear and easy to read. It actually would have been nice to have a bit of decoration on this side though, as it feels incomplete or out of place when compared to the other side of the watch which is clearly more decorative.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

If Patek Philippe deserves praise in any one major area it is clarity. While not universally true with all of their timepieces, Patek Philippe does have a wonderful track record when it comes to designing very easy to read dials. In fact, Patek Philippe makes it look almost easy, which is a further virtue given the diversity of the dials they produce. Patek Philippe is also a master at making very complicated or cluttered dials look balanced and attractive where everything is easy to see.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

A lesser company, if charged with producing something like the Grandmaster Chime, would have likely ended up with a dial extremely difficult to read. The main dial with the moon phase indicator on the 5175 actually has a lot of various windows, sub-dials, and indicators. Patek Philippe cleverly designed them to all work together while also preserving a lot of clarity and relative simplicity to the dial. Sadly, this talent is often overlooked by collectors because they really boil down to the whole “less is more” thing. Just be aware that making all the information readable and logical on the various dials of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 was due to great effort by Patek Philippe.

With that said, I don’t know how elegant it is to operate or adjust a watch like this. In fact, most people who own watches of this ilk probably don’t have them set properly. What I am really referring to is the calendar function, which is likely a huge pain to set. Watches like this will be “adjusted” by the dealer or sale’s person for the owner, and in most instances, should the watch stop, a visit back to the dealer is necessary to reset the correct time and calendar information. This is especially true with perpetual calendar watches that have the full year indicators. Even when simple to set, they can be excruciatingly frustrating as many delicate pushes and turns must be coordinated together.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

All this makes me hope people who own complicated watches like the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 invest in crown-turning winding machines to ensure there always is power in the movement – assuming they ever want to wear them or show them off. I have a feeling too many collectors feel that the watches should not be running in order to preserve them for much longer as though they are aging them like wine, waiting (and hoping) that their value increases (even if they don’t want to sell them during their lifetimes). It is a matter of pride and often ego for many serious watch collectors to know that something they chose is now “worth more.”

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the community of collectors who seek out and purchase Patek Philippe watches at this level represent a very small number of Patek Philippe consumers. Though, this “mega watch” world exists because Patek Philippe feels that it must, in order to create positive brand awareness and mystique. Even though Patek Philippe is a rather old company with an established business model, they must preserve their position and relationship with collectors by always making sure there are newer and greater items being released, as well as having a vested interest in the success of their timepieces sold at third-party auctions.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

With collectors enthused by new limited edition or limited production high-complication pieces as well as rare vintage Patek Philippe watches sold frequently at auction (which is ironic, because rare watches should show up rarely at auction, right?), Patek Philippe remains in a strong position to impress new buyers or regulars who purchase their sub-$100,000 timepieces. This isn’t easy work though, and Patek Philippe must work hard at this on a regular basis, while preserving the character and design ethos that they have developed in their modern era.

So let’s go back to the Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary Watches roadshow events where the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 was “unveiled” for what wasn’t the first time. Patek Philippe felt it necessary to enshrine the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 in a special case, behind closed curtains until the time was right for the “reveal.” The ceremony was preserved even though many of us had been aware of the watch for about six weeks. None of us were to see the watches until we viewed Patek Philippe’s new corporate film which seemed to suggest Patek Philippe may be an attractive new alternative religion. To some it already is, and they are always looking for new converts and to reinvigorate the pious.

Thoughts On Seeing The $2.6 Million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 Watch In The Flesh Hands-On

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 watch is undeniably interesting and impressive. It is one of those times when you get the feeling that an important watch company produced what they wanted to produce without a lot of care whether or not it impresses YOU. The ornate double-sided flipping cased Grandmaster Chime is the watch they wanted to make, and they did. They even made one to keep in their museum. I respect that Patek Philippe produced something that they felt was important and did not do as a crowd pleaser, even though the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 has been a serious source of curiosity and fascination for even those who don’t consider themselves watch lovers. The question I have for myself and those who learn about the 5175 is what timepiece does it subsequently make them want to buy next?



Disqus Debug thread_id: 3991165426

  • X2Eliah

    Ah, wow. The microdetail seems rather… insane.  I can’t help but wonder, though – if this watch was actually worn, would it come across as elegant or somewhat flashy/excessive?

  • The cost divided by the number parts makes the average part cost (wait for it…): $1856 USD
    There entire watches with hundreds of parts that cost less than a single part of the Grandmaster Chime Rapper. I’m not saying it is ‘wrong’ or not worth the money all (especially since its investment value looks good). But my point is more than $2.5+ million is a lot of bucks any way you cut it.
    While the case is a bit baroque for my taste, I admire that they were able to put so many complications on the faces so cleanly. Even if I could afford to buy it, I’d be afraid to wear it in public. I’m sure my arm is worth less to a thief than this PP.

  • EranR

    X2Eliah  This is daily wear, goes well with jeans.. possibly just a tad flashy 😉

  • Borys Bozzor Pawliw

    So many contradictions am feeling. It looks hideously obscene yet with transcendent beauty. Over the top, but with so much immaculate craftsmanship and artistry that you cannot but stare in awe.

    It’s like an A380 private jet customized by a Saudi Royal prince, filled with Victoria Secrets models, Playboy Playmates and Miss Universe contestants…crashing right in front of you into an exploding fireball.

  • nickyb66

    As fantastic as PP are, I think this is too bling for me, almost chavy’

  • EranR Turns out you are so right (goes well with jeans).

  • I_G

    Looks like time has stopped at Patek Philippe somewhere in the 19th century.

  • thornwood36

    Now I don’t live in bad neighbourhood far from it. But wouldn’t just be afraid of getting it stolen, I would be afraid of losing my entire left arm ! . What can I say about this timepiece that hasn’t already been said ?, I am in the grotesque and exquisite camp.

  • Tommer45

    I think it’s pretty awesome.  The video on youtube of it being made is pretty great too.

  • Hello Earthling. I am Grandmaster Chime. I have arrived from the year 2104 to find John Connor.

  • JoelSchumann

    Only in high end watchmaking the baroque is evidently still in full swing. Buy this to match your Caravaggios and gilded furniture.

  • gadgety

    Baroque overload.

  • notech47

    This watch can only be worn at a kings coronation and nowhere else.

  • nickyb66

    thornwood36 Yes, it might be worth having a false arm/wrist just in case.

  • nickyb66

    Now I can see the design of the PP, I will see if I can make another on my 3D printer, casio internals of course 🙂

  • DanW94

    Honey, I’ll be flying to one of our 3 summer home in St. Tropez on our private jet. Make sure it’s stocked with caviar and a case of Moet and Chandon 1943..  Oh, and have you seen my Patek Grandmaster anywhere? I seem to have misplaced it at the fundraiser (which benefits me!) last evening. No matter, please have Jeeves check if I can order another….

  • Steve Crane

    Yikes! That’s just foul. Even the big boys continue to make their mistakes from time-to-time, it seems. Undeniably great workmanship and execution, just poor, tasteless, OTT, ‘just because we can’ design circa 1985, IMHO.

  • bnabod

    there is overdone and then there is this thing. you must be out of things to spend your millions on, to say yes I have to have the 175th anniversary PP, something no doubt Louis the XIV would have loved to wear along with his scepter while seating on his emerald crusted throne.
    It can be a masterpiece without being completely out of control bling wise.

  • Dan Baxter

    I wonder how long it will take a knock off to show up on FakeWatchBusta

  • Fraser Petrick

    DanW94  Check Jeeves’ cigar box in his bottom dresser drawer for the Patek.

  • DanW94

    Fraser Petrick DanW94

    Nice twist! Jeeves is to smart for that. He does however have a few polaroids of the “master of the house” with the kitchen staff he plans to use for his retirement fund!!

  • captaina16

    I guess they got tired and didn’t want to expend any energy on the back. Trying to defend the lack design on the back in the name of clarity is not in my opinion a valid argument. This is the company who in their own minds is the best in the world. I have a problem with producing a piece which is supposed to be the epitome of watchmaking and not carrying it through to completion. The case is beautiful.. The workmanship is outstanding but the design is in not in keeping with the intent of the piece. Which I assume is to show their horological chops. The mechanical genius is hidden by the beautiful inappropriate case.

  • shinytoys

    notech47 Long live the King 🙂

  • shinytoys

    MarkCarson EranR you are a sick man 🙂

  • shinytoys

    It’s simply magnificent.

  • bichondaddy

    Dan Baxter I was thinking the same thing!!!  LOL

  • bichondaddy

    DanW94 Fraser Petrick Hummmm….I see an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent coming from this conversation!!!  LOL

  • bichondaddy

    SuperStrapper Wow…not only an episode of a TV show…now a new Terminator movie!!!!  Man…why aren’t there more screen writers reading this Blog?????  LOL

  • bichondaddy

    Well…I’m just going to wait for the 62 mm Invicta version of this watch….because you’ll be able to buy it on air for $179.94 or 6 easy payments of $29.99!!!

  • X2Eliah

    thornwood36 To be fair, if you can afford this watch, you could also afford a replacement biomechanical cyberarm.

  • dahcd

    Mr. Bond we have a crucial assignment for you. It has been reported to our office
    that a PP Chimemaster has been stolen from the home of Sir Lord Flashy, quickly
    get to it.

  • Interesting to note that the QP is not actually correctly set. Bizarrely, the year is set to 2104, and:
    a) 2104 is not the 2nd year in the 4-year leap-year cycle (2014 is)
    b) 6 December 2014 is not a Friday (but a Saturday). And 6 December 2014 was not a Friday either (a Saturday as well), if you wonder.

    I would have though that Patek Philippe would have been more attentive to details like this.

    • Oahu Hawaii

      I spotted the same errors, too.
      a) State in leap year cycle:
      2104 % 4 = 0 (4)
      2014 % 4 = 2
      b) Day of week:
      2001/01/01 Mo + 14 (y:365%7=1) + 3 (ly) – 31 (Dec) + 5 = 2014/12/06 Sa
      2001/01/01 Mo + 104 (y) + 25 (ly) – 31 (Dec) + 5 = 2104/12/06 Sa

      Note that the second date for your point b) should be year 2104.

  • Fraser Petrick

    jcaron  picky, picky

  • Ulysses31

    This is too much.  I like ornate watches but this is overdone to the point of looking tacky.  It takes skilled craftsmanship and artistic sensibilities working in concert to produce a beautiful watch.  PP have bags of the former but seem to have lacked the latter when conceiving this piece.  This is something that isn’t even isolated to the watch industry.  That blockbuster Hollywood movie with peerless special effects but crappy plot?  Same thing.  PP are showing how clever they are and grinning inanely, hoping we don’t notice the lack of coherent design.  I’m sure Grandmaster Chime (I bet somewhere out there is a rapper with this exact name) will be rushing to get his order in so he can show it to his homies and hos – you know, people who really appreciate that sort of thing.  Honestly, this reminds me of the “Car Built for Homer”.

    • Galle

      LOL! I’m sure PP doesn’t care what anyone thinks. They wanted to make the most complicated watch and they did it. Period. You have to appreciate the machine tools and craftsmen who put this piece together, regardless of your value judgment. And this blog is most likely one of hundreds discussing this piece which, in and of itself, is an accomplishment and brings attention to this watch.

  • Fraser Petrick

    bichondaddy  Now ya tell me about the Invicta, just after I put in my order for the P-P. $179.94 + Canadian sales tax: gettin’ a bit pricey, eh.

  • Fraser Petrick

    DanW94 Fraser Petrick  So hard to find good help nowadays.

  • DanW94 (A day in the life of the Koch brothers as they plan to further erode American “democracy”…)

  • MarkCarson EranR Must be one of the many, many “residents” of lovely Honolulu near the Chinatown sewage canal.

  • JasonDunn

    I’m reminded of something Agent Cho once said on The Mentalist, something to the effect of “It must be expensive, that’s the ugliest watch I’ve ever seen.”

  • jcaron If you really need to know the date/time, then you can’t afford it 😉

  • Twinbarrel

    It’s obviously not set. A giveaway indeed is the year 2104. So trying to find other trivial off-sets is definitely a sure thing.

  • Twinbarrel

    Beautiful timepiece. I hope there will always be one available to view somewhere. I would go out of my way to see it up close, wherever it might be in the world.

    • Oahu Hawaii

      One will be in the museum of Philippe Patek timepieces.

  • Chaz_Hen MarkCarson You sure it’s not a Saudi prince? Could be casual friday.

  • Fraser Petrick DanW94 I take it your driver Vlad would never do such a thing Frasier?

  • SuperStrapper Yeah, they need a new Terminator ever since the T-1000 (from Terminator 2) got sold to Swatch who uses its Liquid Metal for bezels on Omega and Blancpain watches.

  • Hacker4748

    The question is – will it blend?

  • BillPadget

    Absolutely magnificent!

  • Borys Bozzor Pawliw

    I can’t help but feeling that Vacheron Constantin pulled off a similarly ambitious concept with much more success…

    Just wish they called it something else!

  • outremer

    The aesthetic of the watch has nothing to do with the Middle Ages, or with the fantasy world, this remark reveals a great deal of  ignorance to me.

  • Dario Hubner Di Dari

    Ma quanto pesa!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stephen Horwick

    Were I to have the $ to buy this, I would wear it. This is one beautiful watch that would be a pleasure to own and wear.

  • Robert Price

    The craftsmanship is undeniable but so is the lack of good taste. A shame.

    • Galle

      value judgment

  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 *shivers* gold =/= me. But this hydro-mechanical HYT H2 Titanium Black DLC 🙂 €110k

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui ah yeah I read about these – same guys that made the skull watch right? Again, amazed market for stuff like that at those prices!

  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 I like their personality but seriously why no bold designs for luxury ladies? Only so many tiny faces with diamonds I can handle

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui zenith have some nice stuff – slightly smaller versions of men’s – not exactly ‘top’ end though based on previous conversation

  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 me like men’s Zenith design but when I look into ladies, I get this 🙁

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui they have decent stuff too! All the major places have dreadful women’s watches…

  • IanBear1
  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 I mean it’s nice but it’s conservative, the type of watch one would buy if it’s the only luxury watch they can own…

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui one is enough for most people, although I am in trouble with Mrs B for getting a second…

  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 counteract that by buying one for her at the same as yours 😛

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui she doesn’t get it, thinks they are rip-off / waste of money etc.

  • gigitsui

    IanBear1 maybe a handbag purchase metaphor would help? It’s an investment which also brings joy!

  • IanBear1

    gigitsui not really, Mrs B is tight!

  • Ramin At

    shiiiiit…na babaaa,,,jediiii….? yadam bashe hamash uno dastam konam..!!:-)))))

  • Josefina Patiño Núñez

    Parece reloj de nuevo rico !!!

  • Michael Dumais

    While I GREATLY respect Patek Philippe watches, I have to say that this particular watch is just plain ugly. It looks as though it ought to adorn the wrist of a French whore. It’s hard to believe that Patek actually designed this watch, or that it got through the quality control folks at that esteemed company.

    • Shizu-chan

      Some watches aren’t just about how they look

      • Galle

        Thank you. Too deep a concept for most in this discussion to comprehend, however.

    • Galle

      Patek doesn’t care whether you like it or not. They challenged themselves to produce the most complicated watch and succeeded. What have you done lately?

  • Rob B

    I think the only type of person to by such a garish watch would be a flamboyant nancy boy like Liberace. Plus if they can afford 2.5 million for a watch they clearly are not paying enough taxes to the govt.

    • Galle

      Try to appreciate the watch for what it is and how remarkable that such a thing could be made and not make a stupid value judgments about who or why they would buy it.

      • Ted Franklin

        Galle although your quest is noble. I wouldn’t waste my keystrokes on the multitude of shitheads that post.

  • Chiranuj Bhirombhakdi

    The 1st 5175 is worn a lot

  • David Guerra

    This is something you wear for Carnival. So, I would welcome a 50-100$ copy to wear once a year as a joke.

    • David Guerra

      But I’m not sure it would sell. Maybe not even a really good copy would.

  • Bacchus Leto

    Who, aside from a 16th century pope, would ever actually wear this? I mean it’s technically impressive, but it seems like something useless outside of a museum.

  • david

    It looks like a Spanish galleon.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.