Along with Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe forms part of the uppermost echelon of the watchmaking industry today. The company in its original form was set up in 1839 and, unlike many watch companies, it has been manufacturing consistently since its genesis with no hiatus due to the quartz crisis of the 1970s. It is no surprise that the watchmaking giant holds the title of having the highest price ever achieved at auction for both a wristwatch and pocket watch, at $31.19m and $24m respectively*.
Patek Philippe is admired for its beautiful and more complicated watches – those that allow the wearer to not only read the time but also the date, day, month and even the current place in the lunar cycle. These are refined-looking, and usually in white, rose or yellow gold. They stand out aesthetically but they are also held in very high regard by the watch-collecting community for their technical excellence. As such, there is a huge demand for these models at auction.
With these incredibly complex components being designed and manufactured in-house, Patek Philippe is exacting in their quality standards, no matter how "complicated" a watch may be. Timepieces span from the Ref. 5147G Annual Calendar with Moon Phases to the utterly beautiful complexity of Ref. The Grandmaster Chime. With twenty complications including a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, date repeater, alarm with time strike, moon phases and more, it remains the most technically advanced Patek Philippe watch of all time and only surpassed by the Vacheron Constantin 57260.
PATEK PHILIPPE | NAUTILUS, REF. 3800 | Sold for £23,125 incl buyer's premium
Perhaps the watch Patek Philippe is best known for is the Nautilus - a sporty wristwatch said to take inspiration from a ship's portal, first released in 1976. Along with the Rolex Daytona and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the most desired watches today and joined the Royal Oak in inhabiting a new category of watches that emerged that decade – the ‘luxury sports watch'. These timepieces were often just as, if not more, expensive than gold examples by the same companies. Today, they remain some of the most sought-after timepieces in the pre-owned marketplace.
Lyon & Turnbull were delighted to sell a Patek Philippe Nautilus in late December 2020. A Ref. 3800, it featured a stainless steel case and bracelet, along with their signature ridged dials in a gradient blue to black colour. It sold for £23,125 including buyers fees, against a pre-sale estimate of £9,000-12,000.
Do you own a Patek Philippe wristwatch or pocket watch? Prices for certain models, like the Nautilus, have risen steadily over the last five to ten years, with auction results for many far surpassing their guide prices. If you do have one in your collection, now is the time to contact Lyon & Turnbull and find out what your watch is worth; its 2023 insurance and re-sale values may surprise you. We offer no-obligation watch valuations online and in-person, across our UK locations. With regular dedicated specialist watch auctions, it couldn’t be easier to sell your watch, whether you’re based in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London or further afield. Contact us today and find out what your Patek Philippe watch could be worth.
*Figures accurate as of January 2023
Lyon & Turnbull’s Watch Auctions department is a dynamic one with significant expertise, hosting diverse watch auctions across the U.K. featuring fine, rare, modern and vintage timepieces. Highlights from recent auctions include a rare Rolex Daytona 6263 that sold for £62,500 in October 2021 and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that achieved £106,250 (incl premium).
SARAH FERGUSSON | HEAD OF WATCHES
0141 333 1992