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Patek Philippe Vintage

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Patek Philippe 3440 Vintage Automatic 18K / Champagne TIFFANY... Patek Philippe 3440 Vintage Automatic 18K / Champagne TIFFANY...

Patek Philippe Vintage: Improving with Age

A luxury watch from Patek Philippe is considered a very good investment. Therefore, vintage Patek Philippe timepieces are a good starting point for collectors of historical watches. The vintage watches also range in price, from affordable to costly.


  • Solid investments
  • Gold frequently used
  • Affordable entry-level Patek Philippe watches
  • Rare models
  • Large selection of tonneau watches

Timeless or Nostalgic

Since 1851, Patek Philippe has been producing top quality timepieces. Very few manufacturers have managed to create such a good reputation over time.
A number of Patek watches are still in excellent condition after several decades. The Swiss company promises their timepieces have longevity and remain an asset. These qualities play a central role in their presentation, too: Patek Philippe emphasizes that their watches can be passed down across generations in their marketing.
Therefore, watches that are no longer produced by Patek Philippe are still in demand. The Geneva-based manufacturer prefers to use solid gold for their timepieces. The precious metal ensures a stable - and sometimes increasing - watch price, solely due to its material worth. In short, Patek Philippe has the ideal prerequisites for a strong vintage market.
The Calatrava has an excellent reputation; it's considered a symbol of the company. As Patek Philippe has been producing it since 1932, many vintage models are also available. The Calatrava's design was strongly influenced by the Bauhaus art movement, which focused on stripping down design just to the essentials. The Calatrava has remained true to its design over the years: A decades old, pre-owned Calatrava is clearly closely related to most models in the current collection.
There are a large number of uniquely shaped watches in the Patek Philippe vintage market, ranging from tonneau to square and rectangular to elliptical. Many of these watches reveal the brand's continuity; certain designs remain the same over decades with only minute changes.
However, Patek Philippe has also remained open to new design trends. Just by looking at them, you can tell that many watches are obviously from the 1960s or 1970s; their aesthetic is connected to a certain era. Patek also produces a pocket watch, which has the nostalgic flair of the days prior to wristwatches.

Buying Advice

If you're searching for a vintage watch that will maintain its value, then Patek Philippe is one of the best brands to look at. Watches from this manufacturer aren't just timepieces or status symbols; they're relatively stable investments.
Patek watches are such stable investments in part due to their classic designs. Older watches are highly sought after if they have subtle design features not influenced by fashion trends. The thought behind it is: If a watch from 50 or 60 years ago was considered classy and attractive, and it still is today, then it will probably remain that way over the coming decades.
The simple Calatrava is a good example of this. A model in very good condition from the 1950s with an 18-karat gold case and reference number 2455 can be purchased for around 10,000 euros. The watch barely differs in its design from the new Calatrava with reference number 5196, which costs 16,000 euros new. Even though 60 years separate the two watches, both have dauphine hands, stick indices, and a small seconds at six o'clock. With such a timeless style, the Calatrava from the 1950s is expected to retain its value.
On the other hand, pocket watches from Patek Philippe are exclusively associated with the past; they possess charm from times gone by. Since the design of the current pocket watches hasn't changed much in over 100 years, the line between vintage and retro watches is blurred. A yellow gold pocket watch in good to very good condition can be purchased for around 5,000 euros.
The vintage market allows you to purchase a relatively affordable entry-level Patek Philippe watch. There are many, many watches available for less than 10,000 euros. If you're on the search for especially old wristwatches, then look for the Top Hat series. The rectangular watch dates back to before 1950.
The majority of vintage Patek Philippe watches have manual calibers. Automatic watches are rarely found in the vintage market and range in price between 9,000 and 20,000 euros.
Quartz watches are also only a small component of the vintage market. These battery-powered watches are mostly from the 1970s or 80s and cost around 5,000 euros.
The prices aren't very transparent at the very top end of the Patek Philippe vintage watch market. Dealers often only share the asking price for rare timepieces upon request.

Founders & Their Patents

Patek Philippe was founded in 1851. Antoni Patek (1811 - 1877), a Polish exile, began working with his colleague, Frenchman Adrien Philippe (1815 - 1894), in Geneva in 1845. The year prior, Philippe had revolutionized the watch world: He had invented the crown, with which one could wind and set a pocket watch. Before that, a key was always required in order to give the movement power.
Patek and Philippe traveled to the Great Exposition in London in 1851 and gained a prominent client: Queen Victoria, who bought two watches, an important sale for the fledgling business. Other members of European nobility quickly became regular customers. There were even overseas orders: Tiffany & Co. ordered 130 watches to sell in the United States. Patek Philippe acquired many patents in the following years, such as a patent for the first double chronograph in 1902. In 1925, the company introduced the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar.
Brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern already had a business relationship as dial suppliers with Patek Philippe before they bought the company in 1932. Since then, Patek has belonged to the Stern family. Thierry Stern has been running the company since 2009. Every year, Patek Philippe produces around 50,000 watches. Aside from Rolex, it's one of the few independent luxury watch manufacturers left.