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In Depth

The Icons of Patek Philippe

By Amanda Evans | 5 minute read

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Founded by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe, Patek Philippe has a history of traditional Genevan watchmaking craftsmanship that dates back to 1839. As the last independent and family-owned Genevan manufacture, the luxury Swiss watchmaking brand has benefitted from the freedom of creativity and innovation since its founding and has harnessed over one hundred patents. With timepieces designed and crafted in-house by exceptionally skilled artisans, Patek Philippe has built a reputation amongst watch connoisseurs as one of the world’s finest watchmaking brands to grace the horological landscape.

Patek Philippe’s incredible reputation is built upon its ten corporate values of independence; tradition; innovation; quality and fine workmanship; rarity, value, aesthetics, service, emotion, and heritage. With such an admirable foundation, it comes as no surprise that Patek Philippe enjoys such a mark of respect to this day. Proud of its independence, Patek Philippe also created its own selection of quality criteria known as the Patek Philippe Seal. Recognised throughout the watchmaking community for its strict directives, with flawless design, manufacture, and service of the watch in its entirety, it leaves no room for compromise.

The exquisite collections of Patek Philippe are a testament to this. A plethora of models within several key collections are an illustration of the Company’s spirit of innovation and authenticity. With many models considered as cult objects, the following represent just a handful of Patek Philippe’s icons

The Twenty-4 Collection

Timeless Elegance for the Modern Woman

The Twenty-4 collection was created in 1999 as a timepiece to fit in with the everyday life of the vibrant and active modern woman. A perfect complement to business or casualwear, yet with the sophisticated finesse that presents it as a fine accompaniment for an elegant evening out. In 2018 the quartz collection was expanded to include the Twenty-4 Automatic, a series of self-winding mechanical ladies watches that defied the manchette cuff style, with their round dials and the calibre 324 S C self-winding movement with date aperture and sweep seconds. Consistent with Patek Philippe’s desire to innovate, the manchette model was reimagined in 2020 with a new face that adopted applied Arabic numerals. The Twenty-4 collection now includes 12 references, with a round or manchette design, quartz or automatic movement and a superb selection of dials that display innovative colour palettes and diamond-set versions that sparkle with brilliance.

Launched 22 years ago, this exclusively women’s collection received a refresh last year that keeps it as contemporary and beautiful as it was in 1999.Mark Toulson, Head of Watch Buying

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The Calatrava Collection

Quintessentially Patek Philippe

From its launch back in 1932, the Calatrava collection represents the essence of the wristwatch with the round dial. Elegant and pure, it has a striking appearance due to its simplicity which grants it a timeless sophistication. Refraining from chronograph displays and perpetual calendars it has anchored an authentic style favoured by watch enthusiasts worldwide. The Calatrava collection has evolved over time, staying true to its emblematic round case and structured lines to remain flawless in its presentation yet harnessing new in-house movements and embracing the trend of coloured dials to appeal to the new generation of watch lovers.

A classic in every sense, from its Breguet inspired numerals and two-tone silvery coloured dial. This Calatrava model is the epitome of understated charm and elegance, and is considered the ultimate dress watch.

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The Complications Collection

Extravagant everyday timekeeping

The Complications collection take timekeeping to a new level whilst keeping it appropriate for everyday situations. Launched in 1996, Patek Philippe has upheld the tradition of keeping the Complications collection both useful and easy to operate despite the ingenious craftsmanship and unrivalled expertise of this incredible art of horology. With timepieces that include Annual Calendars, dual time zones and World Time displays, the Complications collection avoids being ‘complicated’ in favour of supporting the additional requirements of everyday life. This noble and iconic collection has become one of Patek Philippe’s flagship collections, with exceptional attention to aesthetic detail and performance at its core.

Central to the 5205R is its calendar function showing day, date and month and it’s remarkable Annual Calendar mechanism. Patented by Patek in 1996 it requires the wearer to make a date correction only once a year. It’s the perfect combination of practicality and elegance.

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The Grand Complications Collection

Capturing a lifetime of skill

The Grand Complications collection is exactly as it states, complicated! But it is its complexity that reigns it supreme in the world of horological masterpieces. A test of skill and expertise, the Grand complications collection goes beyond the needs of time in hours, minutes and seconds with a consummate artistry that produces an object of timeless worth. Patek Philippe is renowned for the design and build of the world’s most complicated portable timepiece, which this ingenious brand has mastered twice during this century. The Grand Complications collection is a vision to behold and captures the most superlative craftsmanship known within horology, making each piece something really rather special.

Patek are masters of the perpetual calendar wristwatch, manufacturing their first in 1925. The sunburst blue dial of the 5327G is the perfect tableau to present the complexity of the date function with both clarity and style.

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The Gondolo Collection

The Spirit of Art Deco

The Gondolo collection brings together Patek Philippe’s ‘form’ watches, those which are not identified by a round face and instead harness the spirit of art deco with their rectangular and cushion-shaped cases. The art deco movement coincided with one of Patek Philippe’s golden eras and some of its historical pieces that are part of this heritage can be appreciated in the Patek Philippe museum. Whilst the collection boasts a streamlined geometric simplicity, it also embraces the luxury and glamour that was apparent of this era with exquisite diamond embellishment and hand-guilloched dials amongst the collection.

An Art Deco inspired, tonneau or barrel shaped case is a real thing of beauty and provides a refreshing alternative to more traditional round watches. Patek’s Gondolo, set with 873 diamonds is perhaps the ultimate expression of form and dazzling luxury.

Explore more from Patek Philippe here at Watches of Switzerland

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