Grand Complications

Patek Philippe Grand Complications Watches

Patek Philippe, one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world, is considered a pioneer in designing highly complicated mechanical watches. In horology – the art of making clocks and watches – a complication refers to any feature in a mechanical timepiece beyond simply displaying hours and minutes. Patek Philippe’s expertise lies in designing the watches having ‘Grand Complications’.

A typical Patek Philippe watch in the category of Grand Complication has features like day, date, month, leap year and 24-hour indication by hands. According to a popular belief, the very first Patek Philippe Grand Complication watch was ordered in 1910.

New Patek Philippe Grand Complications Watches

History of Patek Philippe Grand Complications

Since its inception in 1839, Patek Phillipe has remained an independent and family-owned watch manufacturer company. Until the appearance of the 18k pink gold Palmer watch, it was broadly accepted that Patek Philippe did not make its first Grand Complications watch until 1910 and that the second ever made was reserved before World War I for James W. Packard in 1916.

Patek Philippe currently offers about 200 models of watches, perfectly organized in several subcategories like Calatrava, Nautilus, Gondolo, Golden Ellipse, Aquanaut, Complicated, and Grand Complications.

Complicated watchmaking is the supreme test of a designer's expertise and watchmaking skills. Patek Philippe has time and again shown that their designers are the masters of all horological complications. Patek Phillipe’s expert designers have built the world's most complicated portable timepiece twice in this century. In each and every Grand Complications watch, many lifetimes of artistry and skill are captured. An object of such timeless worth is born after endless hours of toil.

A Grand Complications watch is the one which comprises of several complications. Although there is no 'official' definition of Grand Complications, one commonly accepted paradigm is that a watch that contains at least three complications is called a Grand Complications watch. Traditionally, these additional features include the tourbillon, grande and petite sonnerie striking mechanisms, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, moon phases, and split-second chronograph.

Patek Philippe's most complicated wristwatch, to date – the Grandmaster Chime Ref 6300G – a white gold edition released in 2018, houses a total of 20 complications and comprises a staggering 1,366 parts. The Grandmaster Chime is a less ornate variant of the hand-engraved 18k rose-gold Grandmaster Chime 5175, which was unveiled in 2014, to mark the 175th anniversary of the company. The caliber of the 6300G measures 10.7mm which is a clear winner when compared to a normal watch whose caliber generally ranges from 2.53 to 3.3 mm.

Another of Patek Philippe Grand Complications watch is the 5271P. This watch is prized for its chronograph which features a vast range of complications. It has an impressive black lacquered dial which is composed of gold hour markers and one baguette diamond at the 12 o'clock mark. The platinum case is embellished with a sapphire crystal which makes it scratch resistant. Furthermore, this Grand Complications watch comes with an alligator strap with square scales. The 5271P Patek Philippe watch is the contemporary choice of watch enthusiasts.

The iconic Stephen S Palmer Grand Complication No. 97912 is a pocket watch manufactured by Patek Philippe in 1898. It comprises a grande and petite sonnerie, minute repeating perpetual calendar, split-second chronograph and moon phases. It made headlines when it was sold for $2.25 million (£1.73 million) at Christie’s in New York in 2013. More significantly, there is the Henry Graves Supercomplication pocket watch, which raised a record $24 million (£18.4 million) at auction in 2014.

It's clear that the majority of Grand Complications enthusiasts are men because of the watch's strong association with maritime, airborne and automotive pursuits. But Patek Philippe has changed this notion in the last five years in particular. The company has expanded into Grand Complications for women. This is a clear sign that there is a growing female interest in the mechanics of highly complex movements. Where once the focus was solely on the beauty of the dial and precious jewelry settings, today the emphasis is on complications and features.

The previous year, Patek Philippe launched its Grand Complications watch having a minute repeater for ladies, encrusted with more than 6.25 ct of precious stones. There are five variants of the watch, one for each season. They are set with different colored gems, i.e., red rubies for autumn, blue sapphires for winter, green emeralds for spring, yellow sapphires for summer and the fifth style, the Four Seasons Symphony, with a diamond dial and bezel peppered with the rainbow sapphires.

Patek Phillipe holds more than 120 patents for its inventions and the fabrication of its Grand Complications. From crafting the caliber to the case, everything is done entirely in-house. It is important to mention here that Patek Philippe gave us the crowns with the first timepieces that did not require a key. Queen Victoria was highly impressed by the design and snapped one of them up.

With this engrossing history of the brand and the collection, many of the highest prices paid watches at auctions have been Patek Philippe's Grand Complication wrist and pocket watches. Some of them have been sold for as much as US$24 million. It's this trust and a high level of quality that sets Patek Philippe apart from the rest of the rival brands. Patek Philippe's Grand Complication watches are one of the safest luxury watch collection to spend your money on, without getting burnt when going to resell it or trade it in down the line.

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