Patek Philippe Grand Complications: Prime Time
Patek Philippe puts their watchmaking prowess on full display with the Grand Complications collection. The line contains the world's most complicated and exclusive wristwatches, known to be both status symbols and good investments.
Watchmaking of the Highest Order
Patek Philippe is world-renowned for their highly complicated pocket watches and wristwatches. Acoustic complications like minute repeaters and chiming mechanisms, i.e., grande and petite sonnerie, are this Genevan manufacturer's specialty. Patek Philippe is also well known for their use of perpetual calendars and split-second (or “double”) chronographs.
All of these complications can be found in the Grand Complications collection. In fact, most of the watches in this line offer several of these functions simultaneously. Patek Philippe equips the Sky Moon Tourbillon with 12 complications and the Grandmaster Chime with 20. These timepieces are among the most complicated wristwatches ever made.
However, Patek's expert craftsmanship reaches far beyond impressive technology; their materials and finishes are equally 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, which makes these watches both status symbols and reliable 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 star charts 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||3.4 million USD||White gold, 20 complications (incl. chimes, two time zones, perpetual calendar)|
|Sky Moon Tourbillon, 6002G-001||2.4 million USD||White gold, 12 complications (incl. perpetual calendar, tourbillon, astronomical displays)|
|Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater Chronograph, 5208R-001||1.5 million USD||Rose gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, chronograph, moon phase display|
|Sky Moon Tourbillon, 5002P||1.33 million USD||Platinum, 12 complications (incl. perpetual calendar, tourbillon, astronomical displays)|
|Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater, 5304R-001||591,000 USD||Rose gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater|
|Celestial, 6102R-001||412,000 USD||Rose gold, star chart, moon phase, moon orbit|
|Rattrapante, 5370P-001||251,000 USD||Platinum, split-seconds chronograph|
|Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, 5270J-001||164,000 USD||Yellow gold, perpetual calendar, chronograph, moon phase|
|Perpetual Calendar, 5320G-001||86,200 USD||White gold, perpetual calendar, moon phase|
|Perpetual Calendar, 3945||from 49,000 USD||Yellow gold, perpetual calendar, moon phase|
How much does a Grand Complications cost?
The entry point into the Grand Complications collection is lower than you might think. Older models from the 1990s, like the references 5040 or 3945 with perpetual calendars and moon phase displays, change hands on Chrono24 for between 41,000 and 49,000 USD.
Prices climb quickly once you pair a perpetual calendar with a chronograph. Watches with a conventional chronograph demand an investment of between 144,000 and 386,000 USD, while a split-seconds chronograph will set you back about 251,000 USD.
If you'd prefer a watch with a minute repeater, Patek Philippe offers a large selection, but be prepared to shell out between 590,000 and 985,000 USD.
Highly complicated timepieces like the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon and Grandmaster Chime would be the crowning jewel of any watch collection. Prices for these masterpieces fall between 2.7 and 3.4 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 back in the late 1920s. This technology is so advanced that you only ever have to set the date display once – as long as the watch never runs out of energy or stops running for some other reason, that is. Perpetual calendars can differentiate between months with 30 and 31 days. Furthermore, they can account for February and leap years as well. Theoretically, you could set this watch today and never have to adjust it again until March 1, 2100.
The most affordable Grand Complications models featuring this function belong to the Perpetual Calendar series. Here, you can choose between two types of calendars: with subdials and hands or with windows for the day and month.
The former variant is powered by the in-house caliber 240 Q, which features both a perpetual calendar and moon phase display. One such watch is the reference 3940. This timepiece was part of the collection up until a few years ago, and also appealed to women, thanks to its 36-mm diameter. Prices for the watch in gold start at around 47,000 USD in mint condition, while the platinum version costs about 68,000 USD. In the current collection, the same caliber powers watches like the reference 5327. This 39-mm watch is available in white or rose gold and changes hands for approximately 85,000 USD.
Patek also produces several models for people who prefer window displays. For example, the ref. 5320G has a more modern design and resembles a classic pilot's watch, thanks to its luminous Arabic numerals and syringe-shaped hands. This timepiece is powered by the in-house caliber 324 S Q, which places the day and month in a double window display at 12 o'clock. A dual-purpose subdial is located across the dial at 6 o'clock and offers a pointer date and moon phase display. 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 85,000 USD.
If you prefer classic designs, take a look at the ref. 5159. This 38-mm timepiece features Roman numerals and a partially hand-guillochéed dial. The watch is powered by the caliber 324 S QR, which features 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, directly opposite the moon phase display at 6. This model is available in white, yellow, or rose gold and demands an investment of around 68,100 USD, depending on the model. The elaborately designed white gold successor model, ref. 5160/500G, comes with an engraved case and costs roughly 266,000 USD.
Perpetual Calendar and Chronograph
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. The manufacturer offers this 41-mm watch in rose gold, yellow gold, or platinum; a white gold variant was recently discontinued. The timepiece is powered by the manual caliber CH 29-535 PS Q, which offers a moon phase display, leap year indicator, and day/night display in addition to its calendar and stopwatch functions. Prices for a gold model on a leather strap start around 146,000 USD. The platinum variant will set you back roughly 244,000 USD. The ref. 5271P is a platinum variant with the same technical specs as the ref. 5270, but it comes with a case encrusted with 80 baguette-cut diamonds and a price tag of approximately 390,000 USD.
The ref. 5204 combines two of Patek Philippe's specialties, a perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph. The 40-mm timepiece is available in rose or white gold and is powered by the caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q. The dial features a minute counter and small seconds at 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively. The weekday and month appear in a double window at 12, while pointer date and moon phase display share a subdial at 6 o'clock. You can call this watch your own for roughly 276,000 USD.
In 2022, Patek Philippe released a chronograph that can measure tenths of a second, the tenths of a second monopusher chronograph 5470P. In order to achieve this feat, the manufacturer developed a new hand-wound chronograph caliber that maintains its overall precision even while stopping and starting: the caliber CH 29-535 PS 1/10. This timepiece changes hands on Chrono24 for roughly 1.17 million 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 is powered by the caliber R 27 PS, which provides a small seconds at 6 o'clock and a chiming mechanism. A slide-piece 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. Depending on the exact model, this timepiece demands an investment of between 345,000 and 790,000 USD.
The reference 5520P looks like a pilot's watch and is equipped with the automatic caliber AL 30‑660 S C FUS. In addition to a second time zone, the “Travel Time” watch features a 24-hour alarm function with a chiming mechanism and traditional gong: Patek has applied for four patents for this feature alone. The alarm time, alarm on/off, and alarm day/night are displayed in various windows. The watch also shows you the local time and the time at home, whether it's day or night in those places, and the local date. The timepiece also features a central seconds hand. The various functions are controlled by crowns placed at 2, 4, 8, and 10 o'clock, which also give the watch a unique look.
The dial is ebony black with a sunburst finish and features applied white gold numerals with luminous coating. The platinum watch measures 42.2 mm in diameter and comes with a sapphire crystal case back. Patek also supplies buyers with an interchangeable solid case back. The watch comes on a black calfskin leather strap with a pin buckle and a double bar. You can purchase this masterpiece on Chrono24 for about 200,000 USD, significantly less than its MSRP.
Expect to pay significantly more for a combined perpetual calendar and minute repeater. The ref. 5304R with a skeletonized dial, for example, is a true feast for the eyes and provides a clear view of the ornate automatic caliber R 27 PS QR LU within. This 43-mm rose gold watch sells for around 589,000 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 983,000 USD.
The catalog also includes watches that combine a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, and chronograph. One such timepiece is the ref. 5208R with the caliber R CH 27 PS QI, which will set you back about 1.4 million USD.
The ref. 5531 combines two complications for which Patek Philippe is famous: a world time display and a minute repeater. The watch is the first of its kind to always strike the local time. This 40.2-mm rose gold mechanical masterpiece is powered by the caliber R 27 HU and boasts a hand-guillochéed “Clous de Paris” pattern on the dial. The center of the cloisonné enamel dial depicts the Lavaux vineyard on the shores of Lake Geneva. The strap is made of alligator leather and has a folding clasp. In new condition, this watch changes hands for approximately 2 million USD.
Watches With Astronomical Displays
The Celestial models and their astronomical displays are a real 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 is made possible by the automatic caliber 240 LU CL C, which, thanks to its micro-rotor, is astonishingly thin at only 6.81 mm. The rose gold Celestial ref. 6102R demands an investment of about 410,000 USD in mint condition. The platinum variant will set you back 529,000 USD.
The 12 Complications of the Sky Moon Tourbillon
Patek Philippe caused a stir back in 2001 with their Sky Moon Tourbillon. 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. The “age of the Moon” refers to the number of days since the last new moon. When you flip the watch over, you'll find various other astronomical complications, such as a star chart, the phases of the Moon, and sidereal time. A sidereal day is the length 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 Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R in rose gold typically sells for around 1.31 million USD. With a bit of luck, you might find a well-maintained platinum model (ref. 5002P) for “only” 1 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 2.45 million USD.
Unrivaled Complexity: Grandmaster Chime
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime is one of the most complicated wristwatches in the world. The family-run manufacturer presented this watch with the reference number 5175 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 timepiece always knows which date to chime.
The alarm function is another special complication. Similar to a minute repeater, the alarm chimes the hour followed by the quarter hour and 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 consists of 1,366 individual pieces. Along with acoustic complications, this watch boasts power reserve indicators for the movement and chime, a second time zone, perpetual calendar, moon phase display, and day/night indicator. Patek Philippe only produced seven copies of the Grandmaster Chime 5175, one of which resides in the Patek Philippe Museum.
Patek Philippe has since added this model to their regular catalog under the reference number 6300G. While it features the same technology as the anniversary edition, the series model lacks the latter's fine engraving. What's more, the current edition comes in white gold. This technological masterpiece will set you back about 3.2 million USD.
The reference 6301P offers the so-called “grail of timekeeping,” a grande sonnerie. The hand-wound watch is powered by the caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM, which consists of 703 individual parts. It is Patek's first wristwatch to combine a grande sonnerie with a petite sonnerie and minute repeater. The movement has three classic alarm springs and two patents to show for the striking mechanism and small jump seconds. The elegant gold dial features a black Grand Feu enamel finish and applied white gold Breguet numerals. The 44.8-mm case is made of platinum and comes on an alligator leather strap with a folding clasp. Plan to spend at least 4.2 million USD on this model.
The Inspiration: Intricate Pocket Watches
With 24 complications, the Graves Supercomplication has long been considered one of the most intricate pocket watches of all time, and it held the world record until 1989. The timepiece features a double chronograph, perpetual calendar, sidereal time display, and displays the time of sunrise and sunset, as well as the night sky over New York City. Patek Philippe made the watch, reference number 198385, for American banker Henry Graves, Jr., who lived in NYC at the time.
Graves was a passionate watch collector who loved Patek Philippe watches. He was embroiled in a competition with the automobile manufacturer James Ward Packard. Both men commissioned multiple watches from Patek Philippe in hopes of having a timepiece with more complications than their rival's. In the end, Graves won with the Graves Supercomplication, which he ordered in 1925. Producing the pocket watch took seven years. Whether Patek Philippe could have built an even more complicated watch at the beginning of the 1930s is unclear. Packard died 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 with the reference number 57260 was made for an anonymous client.
Three years later, Franck Muller attracted even more attention with the Aeternitas Mega 4. This platinum wristwatch boasts 36 complications and a total of 1,483 individual components, not to mention of price tag of approximately 2.8 million USD.