Since launching in 1839, Patek Philippe has grown into one of the best-respected and well-known names in the industry. Although its prices put it way beyond the means of the casual collector, for the serious devotee, a Patek Philippe watch is essential. Regardless of where you stand on accessories that carry the same price tag as an apartment, no one can deny that Patek Philippe watches are among the best in the world. Creative, ingenious, and created with a level of craftsmanship that goes way beyond the imagination of most watchmakers, its watches are about as close to perfection as it’s possible to get. At the heart of its vast collection are the Grand Complications. To the uninitiated, a Grand Complication gathers several complications within a single piece. How many complications a watch needs to graduate from a Complication to a Grand Complication is a matter of some debate. That said, most people agree that it takes at least three complications to warrant the title. Grand Complications are, to put it bluntly, where Patek Philippe likes to show off. Because take it from me, these are no garden variety, workaday watches. These are the aristocrats of the watch world; beautiful, complex, stunningly designed, and about as affordable as a luxury liner. See for yourself as we run through the 10 finest Patek Philippe Grand Complications of all-time.
1. Patek Philippe Ref. 5159
From its opaline-white dial with its hand-guilloched center to its chocolate brown alligator leather strap and its yellow gold case, the 5159 leaves no stone unturned when it comes to style. The fine etchings, onion crown, and stylized roman numerals add to what’s already a very sophisticated looking piece. But this is no case of style over substance. Buried beneath its striking exterior is a functionality every bit as noteworthy as the aesthetic. Complications include a moon phase, annual calendar, and retrograde date hand. Priced at around $96,170, this is an extraordinary watch designed for the true connoisseur.
2. Patek Philippe Ref. 5320
Marrying a vintage aesthetic with cutting-edge technology is no easy task, but Patek Philippe has managed it to masterful effect with our next entry, the 5320 Perpetual Calendar. Featuring a retro design inspired by exhibits in the Patek Philippe Museum from the 1940s and 1950s, its lacquered parchment-colored dial and three-tier lugs will appeal to those with a taste for the old-school classics. But if its look is vintage, its functionality is most decidedly not. At its heart is the newly developed caliber 324, a powerful movement that offers precision timekeeping and, in this case at least, double apertures for the day/month and an analog date.
3. Patek Philippe Ref. 5204
The 5204 is a thing of beauty. The ebony-black opaline dial with gold applied hour markers and 18K gold dial plate is perfectly complemented by the 40.2mm rose gold case with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal coating. A supremely comfortable gold bracelet completes the sophisticated look. It’s not slacking in the function department either, boasting a manually wound mechanical movement for precision timekeeping, and day, month, leap year and day/night indications.
4. Patek Philippe Ref. 5270
This year marks the first time the 5270 has become available in a platinum version. But regardless of which version you choose, you’re unlikely to be left disappointed in either the style or the design of this masterful piece of engineering. Inspired by the classic watches of the 1940s, the 5270 features a golden-hued opaline dial with extremely stylish blackened gold applied numerals, a platinum case with interchangeable full back and sapphire-crystal case back, and a very elegant, chocolate brown alligator strap with square scales and hand-stitched detailing. Functionality is accounted for by a chronograph movement that boasts six patented innovations, along with a moon phase, annual calendar, AM.PM indicator, and leap year indicator. With an average retail value of $192,780, the 5270 might be beyond most of our means, but it never hurts to dream.
5. Patek Philippe Ref. 5160
As gearpatrol.com notes, to appreciate the full beauty of the 5160, you’d need to see it in action. But unless you know someone who’s got the $176,910 it takes to bring one of these beauties home, you’ll have to make do with a description for now. Featuring a case diameter of 38mm, a relatively unadorned dial with blue accents, an intricately engraved case, and complications that extend to a moon phase, annual calendar, and retrograde date hand, this is a classic piece designed for the kind of collector with a taste for the finer things.
6. Patek Philippe Ref. 5370P
The 5370 Split-Seconds Chronograph puts a new spin on the Patek Philippe love-affair with grand feu enamel dials. Featuring a concave grand feu blue enamel dial accented with gold applied Breguet numerals and flanked with satin-finished recesses, a unidirectional bezel with a tachymeter scale, a redesigned rattrapante chronograph, and a shiny dusk blue Alligator leather strap with square scales, there’s no question this is one very stylish piece.
7. Patek Philippe Ref. 5078
A key feature of the 5078-minute repeater is its “cathedral” gongs: measuring twice the length of most ordinary ones, they deliver a full, sonorous tone that instantly makes you sit up and pay attention. As indeed you should. Because the 5078 is no ordinary watch: with its white-gold case, cream-colored enamel dial, and applied Breguet numerals in gold, it’s a standout piece that could take pride of place in even the best of collections. Unfortunately, the price is ‘by request’ only… and we all know what that means.
8. Patek Philippe Ref. 7140
As thehourglass.com notes, the 7140 forms part of Patek Philippe’s Ladies’ First collection. An elegant perpetual calendar available in both white and rose gold variations, it’s a gorgeously made piece that delivers just the right amount of glam thanks to its lustrous silver sunburst dial and a bezel and pin-type buckle featuring 68 and 27 diamond respectively. Housed in a delicate 35-millimeter case, it’s a graceful, sophisticated reminder of what makes Patek Philippe such a world-class brand.
9. Patek Philippe Ref. 6300G
Featuring two equally gorgeous dials, a positive plethora of complications (including a strikework isolator indicator, leap-year cycle aperture, day, date, month, a second-time zone with AM/PM indicator, four-digit year display, and a 24-hour and minute subdial), the 6300G is, as gearpatrol.com quite rightly puts it, a ‘mechanical marvel’. With an embellished white gold case and a blue opaline dial with gold applied Breguet numerals and a hand-guilloched hobnail center, it’s not exactly hard on the eyes, either.
10. Patek Philippe Ref. 6002G
The Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G isn’t only one of the finest Patek Philippe Grand Complications ever made, it’s also one of the most expensive. At $1,500,000 per piece, it’s managed to claim a place on Business Insider’s list of the most expensive Patek Philippe watches of all time. But there’s a reason for that eye-watering price. Its exquisite exterior (expect an 18k white gold case featuring some astonishingly intricate engravings, a glossy dial with cloisonné and champlevé enamel motifs, and a handstitched alligator bracelet) hides one of the most complicated movements Patek Philippe has ever made. Complications extend to a perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand, hours and minutes of mean solar time, day, month, leap year in apertures, and moon phases on the front, and on the reverse, sidereal time, sky chart, phases and orbit of the moon.