Patek Philippe Watches Guide for Beginners

There are dozens of luxury watch brands to choose from today; and the list grows every year. While it’s clear that the likes of Rolex, Omega, Breitling, and Audemars Piguet lead the pack, Patek Philippe is really on a league of its own.

Universally regarded as a paragon of watchmaking, Patek Philippe has a 180-year history of creating horological firsts; and producing complicated timepieces. It also helps that the company remains family-owned; meaning it’s free from pressures of shareholders and can preserve the tradition of the brand.


Planning to get your next Patek Philippe? Or are you simply curious about the brand, as any true watch lover would be? We’ve created a stripped down guide of their collections for you.




Patek Philippe currently offers 160 models and 40 movements. While that’s a small collection compared to other brands, it’s still a lot to wade through.

One easy way to understand the portfolio is to look at the collections or “families” of watches available, namely: Nautilus, Calatrava, Aquanaut, Complications, Gondolo, and Twenty~4.


Patek Philippe Nautilus Power Reserve Steel Mens Watch 3710

Known as: the brand’s luxury sports watch line. It’s also currently its most popular model, with around 8 years average waiting time at retailers.

Created by renowned watch designer Gerald Genta in 1974, the Nautilus was Patek Philippe’s first foray into luxury sports watches.

Defining characteristics: Knowing the Stern family’s passion for yachting, Genta designed the Nautilus’ bezel to resemble a porthole. It also has an integrated bracelet that Genta is known for.

Complications available: time and date, chronograph, moonphase, power reserve, annual calendar, perpetual calendar



Patek Philippe Calatrava 18K White Gold Hobnail Bezel Mens Watch 5119

Known as: the Bauhaus-inspired classic dress watch.

Launched in 1932, the Calatrava is named after the emblematic cross that defines Patek Philippe. There have been different variations in bezel, dial, and lug designs but it has remained a simple time-and-date watch.

Defining characteristics: round case and classic watchmaking traits; its most popular style is the hobnail bezel.

Features available: time and date



Patek Philippe World Time Complications White Gold Watch 5130

Known as: the line that sits a tier above others with its multiple complications. Complications usually have two to three complications, and those that have more fall under the Grand Complications line.

This collection is where Patek Philippe truly shows off its mastery of horological complications. In this decade alone, they have twice created the world’s most complicated portable timepiece. There are 41 models in their Complications line and 34 in their Grand Complications category.

Defining characteristics: haute horlogerie. Multiple complications that are useful in everyday situations (such as dual time and annual calendars) in beautifully designed dials.

Features available: chronograph, dual time, world timer, annual and perpetual calendar with moonphase, retrograde date, minute repeater



Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time, Aquanaut Extra Large and Aquanaut Ladies Watch

Known as: the water resistant sports watch. Inspired by the Nautilus, the Aquanaut is more affordable and geared towards younger audiences.

Launched in 1997, the Aquanaut caused a sensation by being the first Patek Philippe watch to have a rubber strap.

Defining characteristics: Aside from the rubber strap, it reinterprets a number of design elements from the Nautilus, most notably the octagonal rounded bezel, but with a sportier edge.

Features available: time and date, chronograph, dual time



Patek Philippe Gondolo 18K Rose Gold Mens Watch

Known as: “form” dress watches or dress watches that are not round. The designs of the Gondolo line are in Art Deco style, inspired by Patek Philippe’s golden age.

Gondolo watches range from rectangular to cushion- and tonneau-shaped styles.

Features available: time and date, power reserve



Golden Ellipse
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Yellow Gold Blue Dial Watch

Known as: ultra thin watches shaped between a circle and a rectangle.

The thin, elliptical watches are built on the Golden Ratio, the divine proportion that makes objects pleasing to the eye. Launched in 1968, these were re-introduced in “jumbo” sizes in 2008.

Features available: time only



Twenty 4
Patek Philippe Twenty~4 Diamond Dial Bezel Ladies Watches

Known as: the exclusive ladies’ watch of Patek Philippe. Available in 36 mm or smaller cases, round or rectangular, they are usually embellished with diamonds to channel feminine elegance.

Introduced in 1998, the Twenty~4 line was created for women, and remain so until today.

Features available: time and date


For more about the Patek Philippe brand, here’s Patek Philippe: Why Collectors Love It.




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