The Patek Philippe Chronograph: A Stylish Stopwatch
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.
5 Reasons to Buy a Patek Philippe Chronograph
- High-precision in-house calibers
- Combined with an annual calendar, world time display, or flyback function
- Gold, platinum, or stainless steel cases
- Especially exquisite: models with diamonds
- A sound investment
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 all the 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, flyback chronographs, and even chronographs paired with complications such as an annual calendar, world time function, or a multi-scale display. Multi-scale chronographs feature tachymeter, telemeter, and pulsometer scales on the dial.
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.
How much does a Patek Philippe chronograph cost?
|Complications ref. 5961P||121,000 USD||Chronograph, annual calendar, power reserve display, diamonds|
|Complications Annual Calendar ref. 5905P||67,900 USD||Chronograph, annual calendar, minute counter|
|Complications World Time Chronograph ref. 5930G||66,200 USD||Chronograph, world time|
|Complications ref. 5170G||60,400 USD||Chronograph, small seconds, minute counter|
|Complications Flyback ref. 5960/01G||55,700 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-based manual caliber CH 27-70 powered the ref. 5070. On the other hand, the ref. 5170 features the manual in-house caliber CH 29-535. In terms of price, set aside around 72,000 USD for a well-maintained ref. 5070 and about 58,100 USD for a 5170 in mint condition. The platinum edition of the 5070 has a price tag of approximately 81,300 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 139,000 to 174,000 USD.
The Annual Calendar, Flyback Chronograph, and Other Complications
Patek Philippe enjoys combining the chronograph function with other complications. For example, the ref. 5905P 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 CH28-520 QA 24H. Plan to spend between 65,000 and 68,500 USD for this platinum timepiece.
The ref. 5961P contains the same basic 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, namely 121,000 USD.
The ref. 5960/01G is much more affordable. While it lacks the diamonds of its sister 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 of between 47,600 and 55,700 USD for this 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 65,000 USD.
Grand Complications: Highly Complicated 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. You'll need around 1.16 million USD to call this treasure your own.
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 PA – 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, expect to pay between 278,000 and 308,000 USD for this timepiece.
The successor to the 5959P, the ref. 5950R, debuted in 2010. While technologically identical to its predecessor, its case is pillow-shaped instead of round. Plan on prices of around 578,000 USD.
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 typically cost about 232,000 USD.
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 CH28-520 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 with a matching bracelet sells for about 98,700 USD.
The caliber CH 28-520 C FUS ticks away inside the Nautilus Dual Time Chronograph ref. 5990 . It comes with a stopwatch function, a second time zone, a pointer date at 12 o'clock, a minute counter at 6, and a day/night display. This stainless steel watch demands around 67,400 USD.
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 45,900 USD, it is almost half the price of its sister model.