Patek Philippe SA is perhaps the world’s most famous creator of luxury watches with the most intricate mechanisms. The Swiss company has produced some of the most famous and valuable watches and clocks in the world. In fact, the company’s motto since 1996 is “You never really own a Patek Philippe. Just take care of it for the next generation. In 1981, Patek Philippe introduced its first Skeleton watch, allowing its owners to see the intricate mechanisms at work. Not only can the intricate handcrafted mechanisms be seen through the transparent casing, but owners can delight in the gold and jewels carefully placed on the mechanisms, as well as hand-made engravings unique to each watch.
Patek Philippe SA was founded by the Swiss Antonie Patek and the Polish Franciszek Czapek in 1839 to create watches and pocket watches. Six years later, the friends parted ways and Patek partnered with Adrien Philippe. The couple established Patek Philippe in Geneva, Switzerland. The company would remain within the families for decades before passing to the Stern family in the 20th century. Known for its intricate precise mechanisms and intricately jeweled, handcrafted watches, Patek Philippe quickly became popular with European royalty. Queen Victoria of England purchased her beloved keyless pendant watch at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. The watch featured hand-cut pink diamonds set in a bouquet pattern and was suspended from an enamel brooch adorned with diamonds. . In 1868 Patek Philippe created a special watch for Countess Koscaowicz of Hungary that rested on a beautiful bracelet, one of the first wristwatches.
Patek Philippe SA would continue to be owned by the Philippe family commissioning some of the best artists with the best craftsmanship, while maintaining the complexity of their beautiful pocket and wrist watches. The company would continue to attract the attention of royalty and celebrities, including heads of state, authors, artists, and scientists. In 1915, Albert Einstein commissioned a gold pocket watch from Patek Philppe. In 1935, the Swiss Stern family, a major supplier of Patek Philippe watches, brought the brand to American markets. The Stern family would eventually acquire Patek Philippe, and the company remains in the Stern family today.
Throughout the 20th and 21st century, Patek Philippe SA would continue to create intricate luxury watches and eventually add more modern and youthful sports versions to its Nautilus and Aquanaut collections. In 1981, watchmakers introduced the first self-winding skeleton model, the # 3878, in Basel. Several popular Patek Philippe watches were skeletonized. The skeletonized models feature clear cases so that the intricate detailed mechanisms can be seen. The craftsmanship is impeccable. The handmade movements feature gold, jewels and unique engravings from the artisans. Because each watch is handmade, they are rare and valuable. There are believed to be only 60 Patek Philippe skeletons created during the 1980s and 1990s.
1. Ref. 5180 / 1R Calatrova Rose Gold Ladies Skeleton Watch Complications
The reference. The 5180 / 1R Calatrova Rose Gold Ladies Skeleton watch is worth over $ 95,000. The watch was created in 2017, the 40th anniversary of another rose gold model from Patek Philippe. The fine automatic movement features a transparent rose gold case with a sapphire caseback. This was the first Patek Philippe skeleton model to feature the winding rotor engraved with the Patek Philippe logo and seal. The off-center mini rotor is made with 22 karat gold. This model has 6 bridges and 27 jewels in its case. The case is water resistant up to 30 meters. Its diameter is 39 mm and its height is 6.7 mm. The bracelet is complimentary rose gold with the standard Patek Philippe folding clasp. This unique watch is robust, elegant and luxurious.
2. Ref. 7180 / 1G Ultra-thin skeleton watch
The Patek Philippe Ref. 7180 / 1G is valued at $ 97,500. The transparent skeletonized wristwatch has standard Patek Philippe features including water resistance to 30 meters, shock absorption, a 43-hour power reserve, and a sapphire crystal case back. This caliber 117 SQ model features an ultra-slim movement, handcrafted with gold and jewel embellishments. There are 18 hand-set jewels in the 110 components of the mechanism that features a hand-engraved pearl. This model is unique for its dark blue steel hands on a striking dark black shade.