In honor of Patek Philippe‘s 175th anniversary in 2014, we at Fratello Watches offered up this list — not an overview of the most expensive Patek Philippe watches, nor the most sought-after Patek Philippe watches, or the rarest Patek Philippe watches. Just my personal top five among vintage Patek Philippe watches, selected for a variety of reasons and re-presented here. What are your own favorite vintage Pateks?
1. Patek Philippe World Time Reference 2523
The world time watch of all world time watches, in my humble opinion, the Patek Philippe Reference 2523 is, admittedly, very rare, but also very beautiful, and that’s why it is on this list. There are two modern versions of the Patek Philippe World Time watch, References 5130 and 5131.
2. Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 3700/1A
After Gérald Genta created the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, he more or less replicated its design for Patek Philippe and IWC. This Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 3700/1A was the equivalent of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Reference 5402ST. The Nautilus Reference 3700/1A used the same movement as the Royal Oak, until the late 1970s, when Patek Philippe exchanged it for an in-house movement. The modern version of this Nautilus is Patek’s Reference 5711/1A model.
3. Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 96
One of the most beautiful, classical dress watches, in my opinion, is the Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 96. Very clean design: a beautiful dial with small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It is a very small watch, but you could get away with wearing it even today, simply because of its attractiveness. Its modern equivalent is the Patek Philippe Ref. 5196, an elegant, 37-mm version of the Calatrava with small seconds.
4. Patek Philippe Chronograph Reference 1579
I am a sucker for chronographs, and this 1940s Patek Philippe Reference 1579 is a beautiful example that represents that specific era of chronograph watches. Beautiful, elegant shaped lugs and a wonderful dial with two registers. The chronograph seconds hand is blued, while the rest of the hands are gold, just like the case, crown and pushers.
5. Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Reference 3940
Perhaps I’m stretching the definition of “vintage” a bit with this one, but I can’t complete my own Top 5 vintage Patek Philippe list without mentioning the discontinued Patek Philippe Reference 3940 perpetual calendar watch. It was introduced in 1985, which is old enough for me to consider it vintage. Succeeded by the Reference 5140 in 2006, the 3940 is a very elegant 36-mm timepiece that has — at least in my eyes — nicer proportions than its successor.
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.
Besides the watches shown above, there are many other interesting Patek Philippe watches. A perfect overview for watch lovers is our article “Patek Philippe Milestones” – download it now from the WatchTime Shop!