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The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

The name Patek Philippe is among the most powerful in the entire watch industry. It is synonymous with class, conservatism, high auction values, price legitimacy, and some of the best looking traditional watches now, or ever. Patek Philippe remains an independent company whose secrets and plans are tightly guarded, and its most exclusive watches often go directly from the factory to the hands of the world’s most prestigious collectors — never to be displayed in a store counter or window. When it comes to high-end timepiece auction prices, Patek Philippe leads the pack. easily dominating all other watchmakers in regard to achieving regular, record-setting prices.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Most Patek Philippe watches that yield not-so-small fortunes during auctions as extremely rare, often unique pieces made for special collectors. Most of these bespoke Patek Philippe watches were produced in the first half of the 20th century, during a time when Patek Philippe was much more open to design and product experimentation. Though some of its most valuable timepieces (which includes both pocket and wristwatches) have been produced in the modern era. aBlogtoWatch has compiled an assortment of the world’s rarest and most valuable Patek Philippe watches in terms of price, starting with a collection of 15 pieces. The list may grow over time as auction results or new watches of extremely high worth over $1,500,000 become available to share.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G

18. Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G $1,500,000

The Sky Moon Tourbillon is, without a doubt, one of the most widely recognized watches that Patek Philippe has ever made. Earlier last year, in 2013, the manufacture introduced its follow-up model, now referred to as 6002G. With its astonishingly intricate (and perhaps slightly excessive) engravings adorning its 18k white gold case, the 6002G managed to elevate the already striking appearance of its predecessor to another level. Beyond its stunning aesthetics, this reference hides the most complicated wristwatch movement that Patek makes. The front of the watch displays the time, perpetual calendar with retrograde date, and the phase of the moon, while the dial on the back is reserved to address more unearthly issues. It features a stellar illustration of the northern sky as well as indications for sidereal time on a 24-hour scale, time of meridian passage of Sirius and of the moon, along with the angular progression and the phase of the moon.

Although not revealed by a sapphire window on the white gold case (because it has a double-side dial), the movement’s regulating organ is a one-minute tourbillon. Consisting of 69 parts and weighing a total of just 0.3 grams, it is one of the few tourbillons that are actually submitted to rigorous chronometry tests, with its rate fluctuations set not to exceed -2 and +1 seconds per day. Finally, the Sky Moon Tourbillon’s 686-component caliber also features a minute repeater, chiming the time – the one that is displayed on the front dial – with its two cathedral gongs. With only two being made by Patek, the price for all this engraved haute horologerie goodness is around $1,500,000. It isn’t all that much more than a standard ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon, either.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Patek Philippe Reference 1563,  Credit: Christie’s

17. Reference 1563 Split-Second Chronograph in 18k Gold – $1,572,789

Manufactured in 1947 and sold in 1950, this piece (auctioned by Christie’s in November 2013) is one of three Reference 1563 that are known to exist. Based on the 1436, it is a bi-compax chronograph and it also has the waterproof screw-in case back of the 1436. The difference is to be found in the added feature and complication of the split-seconds chronograph mechanism. Such a complication is known as one of the most difficult to assemble and produce.

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This particular piece is unique among the three iterations of the 1563 in that it has luminous Breguet numerals and also luminous sword hands – all original to the watch. Noted in Patek’s documents concerning this watch is the fact that it actually has 1436 stamped on the inside of its caseback, though it is not written whether this is for the lack of correctly stamped components, or just because someone had a rough night the day prior to assembling this beautiful piece. What we feel certain about is that owing to its bold numerals, beautifully balanced dial layout and its sublime complication, this watch sports a timeless and, dare we say, a more sportier look, something that makes this piece hugely desirable for the collectors of today and tomorrow.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Possibly Unique Pilot’s Prototype Watch, Credit: Christie’s

16. Possibly Unique Aviator Prototype Wristwatch – $1,710,690

The world’s rarest and hence most expensive Patek Philippe watches are all unique creations which carry one or more unique accomplishments that set them apart from the rest. Having said that, this Prototype Pilot’s watch from 1936 is just something else. To begin with, its movement was actually made in 1912, and it was only some 24 years later that it was set in its nickel-chromed case that is seen above. Equipped with what is referred to as a “splittable center seconds and hour angle dial,” this unique prototype has only one counterpart out there, as Patek is known to have only made two of such watches.

What this weird term “hour-angle dial” actually means is that the hour hand rotates once in 24 hours, indicating the degrees of arc against the center circle divided into 360. The “minute” hand rotates once every 4 hours and is read against the scale of 60. The two second hands revolve every 4 minutes, showing the angular minutes. Consequently, the time shown on the watch as pictured reads 332 8.5′, translating into 22 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds, the very time that all watches show in books and catalogs. Measuring in at an immense 56mm in diameter, this piece was designed to be worn by pilots who would wear it on the outside of their flight suit. A truly unique and very interesting piece that was sold by Christie’s on the 11th of May, 2009, for $1,710,690.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Patek Philippe Extra-Large Monopusher Chronograph, Credit: Sotheby’s

15. Unique Extra Large Single Button Chronograph – $2,240,000

Sometimes things need not be so complicated to be desirable and, for some, to be exceedingly valuable. Big watches are in nowadays, and that makes important watches of the past which were extraordinarily large for the time in high demand. In the special world of auctions, high demand equals no limit bidding. A stellar example is this monopusher chronograph from 1932: cased in an 18k gold case measuring 46 millimeters in diameter, not only was it considered to be an extremely large watch at the time, but it still remains uncharted territory as Patek Philippe generally makes much more conservatively sized pieces.

Produced as a special order and sold for Count Carlo Felice Trossi, the president of Scuderia Ferrari, not only is this watch rare, but also has the important added value of a prominent owner. It is also a rarity to have a photograph from such early times of not only the first owner but of him actually wearing the watch. Seen in the background on the image above is the president of Ferrari, proudly wearing his custom made, 46mm Patek single button chronograph on his sleeve, where he presumably wore it for the benefit of easier access as he was timing laps. Sold by Sotheby’s in May 2008 for $2.24 million, this watch is yet another proof of the massive interest in important and unusually large watches of the past.

The Rarest And Most Expensive Patek Philippe Watches ABTW Editors' Lists Sales & Auctions

Patek Philippe Rare 1591 as featured by Christie’s on their Catalog from November 12, 2007

14. Reference 1591 Perpetual Calendar- $2,240,714

Over the years (well, centuries), Patek has created a fantastic array of different references, most of which you will discover in our selection. While the 1591 may just be one you have not heard about before, it’s clear it has something special going for it once you learn that it was featured on the cover of Christie’s Geneva Important Pocket Watches and Wrist Watches Catalog in 2007. Its special blend of exceptionally refined aesthetics and stunningly complex inner workings make the 1591 an extremely desirable piece even among other historically important watches. As if that was not enough, let’s add that only two, that’s right, two pieces were ever made. The one sold by Christie’s is, well, one of a kind, being the only one housed in stainless steel, while the other piece is in 18k yellow gold. And despite the fact that it was manufactured in 1944 — at an extremely early and war-stricken time, and also set in a material that Patek has duly avoided — this piece has a lot to offer.

According to Christie’s notes, this watch was unknown to literature and the market until 1996. This is when it was first offered at auction and also when it broke the world record for a stainless steel wristwatch ever sold at auction. According to Patek’s notes, this piece was sold by its retailer in India and, as Christie’s remarks, it actually was “the pride of a Maharaja who enjoyed wearing the robust timepiece occasionally when playing polo. It was then given as a present to the man in charge of organizing the Maharaja’s wedding.” After fetching a striking $2,240,714, all we know is that the piece can now be found at the Patek Philippe Museum… and that I never before wanted so much to be a wedding organizer in India.

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Comments

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  • Zeitblom

    “price legitimacy” ? That’s a new concept to me, particularly with regard to these glorified Rolexes. Somehow the word “bastard”, sorry I mean “illegitimate” seems more apposite.

    And that sky moon tourbillon is *still* one of the most hideous watches ever made. Die, foul beast, die.

  • DG Cayse

    Magnificent time pieces such as these do tend to inspire strong opinions.
    There are a couple I like in this group.

  • Kris C

    So many of these prices are completely unjustified. In my opinion of course, and I certainly have no negative thoughts about Patek. Some of these examples are pretty silly though.

  • Amazing display of fine horology!  This felt like a virtual visit to a museum.

    Thanks.

  • spiceballs

    excellent – thank you

  • Gee Z

    Lovely (aside from #11)!

  • I like too much patek phillipe, it has many reasons to like as price legitimacy, top class and traditional watch. This is top of my favourite watches.

  • stefanv

    SuperStrapper These are basically made for collectors. The only justification needed for the price of such a piece is that someone is willing to pay it. They are all works of art, and like all art, different people will like (or hate) different pieces.

  • iamcalledryan

    What? I don’t see what they have to do with Rolex. To the extent that these watches inspire anger/apathy in you, they inspire equal amounts of admiration in others.

  • NaJo

    Mostly the word rare is followed by astoundingly uniquely beautiful and one in a million type but in this case I don’t think so. Got no objections with those who have the $$ and pay for it but practically it’s just “crazy”!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I’m sure we all at some point have had a dream of a win on the lottery. If it happened then my watch collection would explode but never in a month of Sundays would i shell out 23 million on a single watch. That is just ridiculous.

  • David Bredan

    You haven’t missed anything, you have seen it twice 🙂 It’s a 2014 article we updated because of the recent record sale (see #1 on page 3). It’s a cool selection that was quite a bit of work to put together, so we thought we’ll bring it to the surface again.

  • SuperStrapper

    Alrighty

    • Independent_George

      What did you write that caused stefanv to scold you?

      • SuperStrapper

        I don’t know, i saw that too. Too long ago to remember

        • Raymond Wilkie

          I wondered that myself.

  • egznyc

    “You never actually own a Patek Philippe …” You merely throw out your children’s inheritance for their own good, right?

    There are some real treasures here – and of course some that aren’t as much to my liking. The fact they they’re wildly expensive doesn’t diminish their horological interest, and I for one really enjoy the trip down this (collective) memory lane.

  • Randy ???? Ezekiel ?

    You missed out the Patek Ref 5016A, one of my holy grail watches!

  • Swiss_Cheese

    For $31 million I would have thought that they could spring for the dot in between the 31 and the 1, it’d probably push the auction price up by another $2 mil though.

    Also, my pick is #8 if we’re calling internet dibs.

  • SwissMatic

    Steel selling for more than gold…

  • Mikita

    Patek Philippe 3582 will definitely become legendary since it’s the first Apple Watch prototype.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I went to check out all the Only Watch offerings and some were stunning, others were not.

    I was not impressed with the PP Grand Chime. I did have a very good look but was not impressed, but to be fair I did not play around with any of the chiming functions which is the only thing that may make me fall for it.

    It is just to big and sterile and cold. There ie no flair or anything that makes you think wow or your heart race, other than the risk of dropping it.

    Plus it is just to big for my wrist so I did not bid for it. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e069be580f90c64b5ae0723260a34a11adb6a864844964edd63706678b5e86a8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/691bceabbf5d367d7fdc274b705eb23213b931f387fd0407b8c6d7650111a87f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56339dfe75e06f484c614fb334c8c36496567641ed0546f39188e8dd4eb8ea10.jpg

  • Tarentinou

    Where’s the 1518 in steel?

  • Gokart Mozart

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c474b3ce359539ee3cb74b9bc2e519b10c3f31537772fda8573c19b86f506d04.jpg David, Ariel,

    Where is all the Only Watch reporting? What was hot, what was not?

    Plus it gives me a chance to put up some pictures of the watches.

    Also for the record, for the people who are wondering the FP Journe was left ‘unfinished’ so to speak rather than the movement being finished as you would expect an FPJ to be.

  • Lingua Franca

    What advantages does the Magpie have over, say, Big Ben? Which I could also afford and fits in my house.

  • What fresh hell is this?

    The tense in this article is really weird, like it was written five years ago.

  • Joaquin

    I blinked and the Watch World became insane in the last 10 years….

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