In 1839, a Polish watchmaker named Antoni Patek created one of the first crown wound pocket watches in the world. Before that, pocket watches were always wounded with a key. Patek was then already based in Geneva and he had as his partner another Polish immigrant named Franciszek Czapek. Their partnership ended five years later. The following year, he started partnering with the Frenchman Adrien Philippe, the man credited with the invention of the keyless winding mechanism. Six years later in 1851, the two formalized their partnership and established the Patek Philippe & Co.
The company is one of the major timepiece maker in the world. It created the first ever wristwatch in 1868. It also created the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar in 1925 and released it 16 years later in 1941.
Patek Philippe is known for its reliability and quality as each single automatic movement made by the company is placed through 600 hours of quality control. Once assembled, the watches are tested and observed for up to one month to ensure they are ready for customers. The meticulous testing means that the company gets to produce only around 30.000 to 40,000 each year.
This is why the company became the first Geneva-based watchmaker to receive the Geneva Seal, a distinction for the highest quality watches. As a matter of fact, 95 percent of movements bearing the Geneva Seal come from Patek Philippe. Of the 100 most expensive watches sold at auction, around 80 percent come from this company.
Here now is a list of the top 10 most expensive Patek Philippe wristwatches in the world.
10. Patek Philippe 1936 Pilot Watch – $1.7 million
The Patek Philippe 1936 Pilot Watch was considered to be a revolutionary watch at the time was released because of the size of its case. The case measures 55 millimeters in diameter and is made of nickel and chrome. The dial is of black lacquer with Arabic numerals and the scales are carved with off-white varnish.
9. Patek Philippe 1923 Officier – $1.918 million
The Patek Philippe 1923 Officier is a one of a kind watch. It has a case made of yellow gold that weighs 18 karats. The watch has a chronograph and a 60-minute repeater.
8. Patek Philippe 1925 Grogan – $1.95 million
The Patek Philippe 1925 Grogan is a one of a kind watch as it is the only Patek Philippe wristwatch especially designed for a left-hander. That is right, all the keys and controls are on the left part of the watch to make it easy for a southpaw to use. The wristwatch features a chronograph. It is made of gold and has a shape like a cushion. The watch was sold at Christie’s in 2006.
7. Patek Philippe 1951 Model 2499 First Series – $2.129 million
The Patek Philippe 1951 Model 2499 First Series has a case made of rose gold that weighs 18 karats. The watch features a perpetual calendar and a moon phase dial. It is also stamped with the Patek Philippe signature.
6. Patek Philippe 1944 Model 1591 – $2.26 million
The Patek Philippe 1944 Model 1591 is made of stainless steel. Experts believe only two pieces of this model were ever made. One of them was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2007 and became the most expensive stainless steel watch ever sold at an auction. The watch only came to the public’s consciousness in 1996, the first time it was offered in an auction. It was originally owned by the Maharajah who loved to wear the watch whenever he played polo. During his wedding, he decided to give it to his wedding organizer as a gift.
5. Patek Philippe 1957 Model 2499 First Series – $2.28 million
The Patek Philippe 1957 Model 2499 First Series has a case made of rose gold that weighs 18 karats. Experts believe only around six pieces were ever made. One of them became the most expensive watch ever sold at a Christie’s auction in 2007. The watch is stamped with the Patek Philippe signature.
4. Patek Philippe 1953 Heures Universelles Model 2523 – $2.9 million
The Patek Philippe 1953 Heures Unverselles Model 2523 has a case made of yellow gold that weighs 18 karats. The meticulously designed wristwatch has a polychrome and an enamel dial that represents the map of the North American continent.
3. Patek Philippe 1895/1927 Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch – $2.994 million
The Patek Philippe 1895/1927 Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch is the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at a Sotheby’s auction. The watch had an original reserve price of only $600,000, meaning the winning bid was five times over the expected price. The watch is shaped like a tonneau. It has movement from 1895 and case from 1927. The watch comes from the collection of Henry Graves, Jr., which is why it bears the coat of arms of the Graves family. Graves is also the man who used to own the Patek Philippe Super Complication clock watch. The Super Complication is not a wristwatch, but is worth $11 million.
2. Patek Philippe 1939 Platinum World Time – $4.03 million
The Patek Philippe 1939 Platinum World Time is a one of a kind watch as no other piece of this model was ever made. It was sold at the Antiquorum in 2002.
1. Patek Philippe 1943 Watch Ref. 1527 – $5.50 million
The Patek Philippe 1943 Watch Ref. 1527 is the most expensive Patek Philippe wristwatch ever made. It was sold at a Christie’s auction in Geneva in 2010. A museum in Switzerland won the bidding for this classic watch that features a chronograph, perpetual calendar and moon phase display. The case is made of yellow gold that weighs 18 karats. It also has 23 gemstone encrustments, bi-metallic compensation balance, applied gold Arabic numerals, date indicator and minute markings designed like a rail track. The dial is of silver matte and measures 37 millimeters, bigger than most other watches from that era.