Patek Philippe Chronographs: Stylish Stopwatches
Patek Philippe has a long tradition of making chronographs. This watch manufacturer expertly combines the stopwatch function with complications like a world time display, annual calendar, and the flyback function to create technological masterpieces.
Stopwatches of the Highest Level
The stopwatch function, also known as a chronograph, is one of the most widespread complications. Patek Philippe is a leader in this field and has become a master of the trade. The Geneva-based manufacturer patented a split seconds chronograph (rattrapante) for a pocket watch way back in 1902. Some 20 years later, Patek managed to adapt this intricate complication for use in a wristwatch.
This storied company's catalog includes every conceivable version of the chronograph. For example, in the Complications collection, you can find models with a simple stopwatch function alongside flyback chronographs and even chronographs paired with complications such as an annual calendar, a world time function, or a multi-scale display. Multi-scale chronographs feature tachymeter, telemeter, and pulsometer scales on the dial. Timepieces with chronograph functions also appear in the Grand Complications, Nautilus, and Aquanaut. collections.
Amazingly, despite their extensive experience with chronographs, Patek has only been using in-house calibers in these watches since the early 2000s. Prior to that, they had sourced movements from manufacturers like Lemania. Some then went on to be heavily modified and refined in Patek's own workshops. The brand is constantly improving their chronograph complications, and some movements can now even measure times to one-tenth of a second.
Patek also doesn't shy away from decorating their dials with different colors, nor do they compromise on comfort; for example, the bracelet of the latest Nautilus has a new feature that allows you to easily adjust the length to perfectly fit your wrist.
5 Reasons to Buy a Patek Philippe Chronograph
- High-precision in-house calibers measuring times to 1/10th of a second
- Combined with an annual calendar, a world time display, or a flyback function
- Stainless steel, gold, and platinum cases
- Huge selection of models and dial colors; comfortable to wear
- Sound investment
How much does a Patek Philippe chronograph cost?
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Feature(s)|
|Nautilus Travel Time, 5990/1R-001||299,000 USD||Flyback chronograph, second time zone, date|
|Complications, 5961P||165,000 USD||Chronograph, annual calendar, power reserve display, diamonds|
|Aquanaut, 5968G-010||136,000 USD||Flyback chronograph, minute counter|
|Complications Annual Calendar, 5905P||105,000 USD||Chronograph, annual calendar, minute counter|
|Complications World Time Chronograph, 5930G||84,000 USD||Chronograph, world time|
|Complications, 5170G||85,000 USD||Chronograph, small seconds, minute counter|
|Complications Flyback, 5960/01G||60,000 USD||Flyback chronograph, annual calendar, power reserve display|
Detailed Price Information
Patek Philippe has a vast selection of chronographs that occupy an equally large price range. Entry-level watches include standard chronographs like the ref. 5170 and its predecessor, the ref. 5070. Both models have a minute counter at 3 and a small seconds dial at 9 o'clock. The wearer operates the stopwatch function using two push-pieces on the right side of the white or rose gold case.
The biggest difference between the two models is their movements. The Lemania 2310-based manual caliber CH 27-70 powers the ref. 5070, while the ref. 5170 features the manual in-house caliber CH 29-535 PS. In terms of price, you'll need to set aside around 82,500 USD for a well-maintained ref. 5070 and about 62,000 USD for a white gold 5170 in mint condition. The yellow gold version of the ref. 5170 demands about 67,500 USD. The platinum edition of the 5070 has a heftier price tag of approximately 150,000 USD.
The ref. 5172 is a real stunner. This white gold chronograph follows the design cues of pilot's watches and comes in two different dial colors: blue and salmon. You can find the blue dial version under the reference 5172G-001, and purchase it for around 77,000 USD. The salmon dial (ref. 5172G-010) was introduced in 2022 and changes hands for roughly 86,000 USD.
If you're looking for a no-frills vintage chronograph, you should take a closer look at the reference numbers 130 and 1465 with the Valjoux-based caliber PP13. The former dates back to the 1930s and 40s, while the latter comes from the 1950s and 60s. At 33 and 35 mm respectively, these timepieces are relatively small by modern standards; however, they still look great on both larger and smaller wrists. Prices for these gold or stainless steel chronographs range from 57,000 to 341,000 USD.
Complications: Annual Calendar & Flyback
Patek Philippe often combines the chronograph function with other complications. For example, the ref. 5905 pairs a chronograph with an annual calendar, which displays the day, date, and month in windows at 10, 12, and 2 o'clock. It also comes with a 60-minute counter and a day/night display. All of this is possible thanks to the in-house caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H inside the 42-mm case. Plan to spend around 104,000 USD on this timepiece.
While previous variants were available with brown, black, and blue dials, Patek launched a new version of the chronograph in 2021. This model is dressed in a new stainless steel case, comes on a metal bracelet, and sports an olive green dial. You can buy the rose gold ref. 5905R-001 with a brown dial for around 76,000 USD. The blue and black dial versions run between 87,000 and 105,000 USD. The new green ref. 5905/1A costs roughly 79,000 USD.
The ref. 5961P contains the same base automatic caliber, which the engineers at Patek Philippe then took and outfitted with an additional 12-hour counter and a power reserve display. A total of 96 diamonds ornament the dial, bezel, and clasp. Of course, such a wealth of luxury comes at a price, specifically 166,000 USD.
The white gold ref. 5960/01G is much more affordable. While it lacks the diamonds of its sibling model, this sportier model makes up for it with a flyback function. This feature allows the stopwatch to be paused, reset, and restarted with the push of a button. Expect prices around 60,000 USD for a flyback chronograph.
If you travel a lot or often do business with people in different time zones, the World Time Chronograph is the perfect watch for you. In addition to a stopwatch function, this 39.5-mm white gold watch features Patek's patented world time display, which shows the time in 24 time zones at once. Prices for this practical timepiece with the reference number 5930G sit around 83,000 USD.
Grand Complications Chronographs
In 2018, Patek Philippe introduced a highly complicated chronograph to the Grand Complications collection. The ref. 5208R includes a perpetual calendar, moon phase indicator with a day/night display, small seconds dial, combined minute and hour counter, and a minute repeater. The automatic caliber RCH 27 PR QI is the power behind this 42-mm rose gold timepiece. However, you'll need around 1.35 million USD to call this treasure your own.
The ref. 5270/1R is another premium timepiece in the Grand Complications collection. This chronograph boasts a perpetual calendar, leap year indicator, day/night display, and tachymeter scale. You'll need to invest around 183,500 in the rose gold version and 160,000 USD in the popular yellow gold model, the ref. 5270J-001. If you're interested in the platinum ref. 5270P-014 with a green dial, you'll need to set aside close to 235,000 USD.
Split-seconds chronographs, also known as rattrapante or double chronographs, epitomize the fine art of stopwatch construction. When started, two perfectly overlapping chronograph hands begin their journey around the dial. One of these hands can then be used to take intervals while the other hand continues measuring the total time. The trick is to create a mechanism that allows both hands to run accurately without influencing each other. Patek Philippe has perfected this technology, as seen in the caliber CHR 27-525 PS – their first chronograph caliber to be developed and produced in-house.
This manual caliber premiered in 2005 inside the ref. 5959P. Its stop and start functions are operated via a pusher integrated into the crown. The hand for taking intervals has its own push-piece on the case at 2 o'clock. Subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock host the small seconds dial and minute counter, respectively. Depending on its condition, you can expect to pay around 290,000 USD for a copy of this timepiece.
The successor to the 5959P, the ref. 5950R, debuted in 2010. While technically identical to its predecessor, its case is pillow-shaped instead of round. Expect to see prices around 460,000 USD.
Patek showcased the rattrapante complication in its finest form in 2015 with the ref. 5370P-001. This watch changes hands for around 235,000 USD. A variant with a blue "grand feu" enamel dial followed in 2020. The platinum split-seconds chronograph ref. 5370P-011 with the manual caliber CHR 29-535 PS will cost you about 260,000 USD on Chrono24.
In the ref. 5204, Patek Philippe combines a double chronograph with a perpetual calendar, day/night display, and moon phase indicator. The in-house caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q also provides this watch with its minute counter and small seconds dial. Mint-condition timepieces, like the platinum version, typically cost about 333,000 USD.
In 2022, Patek unveiled the ref. 5470P, which uses the manual caliber CH 29-535 PS 1/10. This new chronograph movement can measure times to 1/10th of a second, all while providing an extremely high level of accuracy. The 41-mm case has a concave bezel, and although there are 396 components inside, the case is still only 13.68 mm thick.
To guarantee precise timekeeping, Patek increased the caliber frequency to 36,000 vph. Thus, the sweeping chronograph hand is actually making ten steps per second. The chronograph is operated by the push-piece at 2 o'clock; it ensures that the start, stop, and reset operations are performed in succession. The ref. 5470P is crafted from platinum and is produced in low numbers. The reference incorporates 31 inventions protected by patents from Patek Philippe. This model demands around 1.1 million USD on Chrono24.
The Nautilus and Aquanaut With a Stopwatch Function
The Nautilus has enjoyed icon status since its premiere in 1976. Unsurprisingly, this sports watch with its distinctive porthole bezel is also available with a stopwatch function. You can choose from two options: The Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980 is powered by the caliber CH 28-520 C and features a date at 3 and a combined minute and hour counter at 6 o'clock. Like a standard Nautilus, it is water-resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft). The rose gold edition comes on a matching rose gold bracelet for about 236,000 USD.
The caliber CH 28-520 C FUS ticks away inside the Nautilus Dual Time Chronograph ref. 5990. This watch also offers an array of complications, namely a stopwatch function, second time zone, pointer date at 12 o'clock, minute counter at 6, and day/night display. You can find the stainless steel version with a dark gray dial under the reference number 5990/1A-001. This timepiece demands around 212,000 USD. The model has also been available in rose gold since 2021. This edition bears the reference number 5990/1R and costs just south of 300,000 uSD.
Patek breathed fresh air into the Nautilus collection in 2022 with the release of the ref. 5990/1A-011. The stainless steel watch, still measuring 40.5 mm, features a stunning blue dial. The discrete fold-over clasp on the bracelet is outfitted with an adjustment system for optimal comfort. By pressing on the reverse side of the bracelet, you can gently pull out the last link on the left and right to suit your wrist. Prices for this Nautilus come in around 160,000 USD on Chrono24.
The Aquanaut collection has contained a chronograph since 2018. It bears the reference number 5968A and is an affordable alternative to the Nautilus 5980, which uses the same technology. At 141,000 USD, it is less than half the price of the Nautilus. Patek added more color to the Aquanaut line in 2021: You can choose between the ref. 5968G-001 with blue-black gradient dial for around 128,000 USD, or the ref. 5968G-010, which has a khaki dial, for roughly 135,000 USD.