Patek Philippe is the name that is associated with value, fine collectibles and prestige. The brand stands in a class of its own and any rare watch collector can attest to this. This independent watch company has issued some of the most unique examples of customized high end watches on the planet. With the proper care, Patek Philippe watches not only retain their value, but in some cases, go up with age and increasing rarity. The company is the leader in the watchmaking industry, dominating the arena, seemingly, without even trying as their bespoke creations were the result of elite who requested the very best in quality, craftsmanship, design and materials. Here are the top five special edition Patek Philippe watches ever made.
5. Unique Extra Large Single Button Chronograph
With a fetching price off $2.24 million at Sotheby’s in May of 2008, this watch is the property of a new owner who thought it a real deal. This watch was the special request of thepresident of Scuderia Ferrari, Count Carlo Felice Trossi. He wanted something rare, that nobody else at the time could get their hands on. The Unique Extra Large Single Button Chronograph was made specifically for this member of teh elite so he could accurately time the laps of race car drivers. He was after al, the president of Scueria Ferrari.
A 46 mm diameter wrist style watch is one of the largest made, particularly for its 1932 year of creation. This is a monopusher chronograph that features an 18 karat gold case that distinguished the wearer of this one of a kind Patek Philippe. It was obvious that the bespoke watch was special. Even for the highly respected watchmaker, this was an aberration from the traditional more conservatively sized examples. This piece is the only one of its kind in existence, making the $2.4 million watch a suitable inclusion for our top 5 Patek Philippe special edition watches.
4. First Ever Grand Complication Pocket Watch by Patek Philippe
The first piece of this limited special edition watch was made in 1898 and was sold to the historical figure and great American business leader Mr. Stephen S. Palmer. It is a pocket style watch that features the marvelous grand complications for which the watchmaker is known and regarded. This specific piece was created specifically for Mr. Palmer, and was most recently sold for $2.25 million in June of 2013 by Christies. The watch is in excellent condition and was placed in storage for a century in the original box, along with the receipt from Mr. Palmer’s purchase.
This pocket watch is cased in 18 karat pink gold which houses both grande and petite sonnerie and moon phases. It’s a minute repeating, split-seconds, perpetual calendar chronograph watch and the very first of its kind. The watch bears tremendous historical significance for the watchmaker.
3. Unique Minute Repeater in Yellow Gold
Henry Graves, Jr. commissioned the completion of this one of a kind Patek Philippe wrist style watch which includes special features which are hidden to give it an understated front appearance. The piece was officially purchased in 1927, but components made in 1895. This is one example of four that Graves, Jr. had ordered as custom creations from the watchmaker, but it was the first wrist style watch. It was most recently sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $2.99 million.
The 30.5 mm case is tonneau-shaped in 18 karat yellow gold. Although the outer appearance is simple, this piece features a minute repeater movement crafted in 1895 and cased in 1927. On the back of the case, the coat of arms for the Graves’ family is engraved along with the motto “Esse Quam Videri.” The elaborate movement was a technical wonder that is still a time consuming process to complete. A low number of similar watches were made, but this is the single example ever made in this special edition Patek Philippe.
2. Unique Cushion-shaped Single Button Chronograph in 18k White Gold
This one of a kind example was created in 1928 for one of the few but well-paying clients who continued ordering bespoke watches at phenomenal prices during the depression era. The world was undergoing economic crisis at the time of the manufacture of this example. What is known about this watch is that it was a specially consigned piece that was sold in 1931. It was the only example of a single button chronograph that was made in white gold by Patek Philippe which made it more rare. Although the exact number of the watches in this style that followed is not known, only a “handful” were created. This piece comes with a $3.64 million dollar price attached.
This piece features a cushion cased chronograph with a rare single button feature. It was produced in white gold with applied Breguet numerals and spade hands of white gold.
1. Reference 2499/100P “Eric Clapton” in Platinum
This example is from a limited edition collection for which ten pieces have been made annually for the past thirty five years. It has significance for collectors because only 349 of these watches are in existence today. Of these, ten were crafted in pink gold, only two in platinum and the remainder in yellow gold. This piece was sold at auction by Christies in 2012 for a winning bid of $3.64 million.
The watch features the three complications which include moon phase indication, a perpetual calendar and a chronograph. This is only one of two with a platinum case, which makes it among the rarest and most unique Patek Philippe pieces in the world today. This piece was in the care of Patek Philippe until it was released for sale and the only other example remains under the ownership of its namesake, Mr. Eric Clapton.