The Beginner’s Guide to Buying your First Patek Philippe

Ari Pham
Ari Pham
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Welcome to the beginner’s guide to buying your first Patek Philippe. We’ll tell you how to buy your first timepiece as well as which watch collections are available and where to go next.

You’re here because you’ve decided to begin a Patek Philippe collection. We say ‘collection’ because you don’t have just one. You also can’t simply buy any of their timepieces of horology as your first Patek Philippe.

A Brief History into the Patek Philippe Luxury Watches

As one of the oldest and most recognised watchmakers in the world, the Swiss-made company began in 1839.

Since then, Patek Philippe has become a beacon of tradition as well as design and horology in the timepiece community. They even had watches admired by Queen Victoria in the Great Exhibition in 1851.

Blue-powder pedant Patek Philippe 1851 watch adored by Queen Victoria.
Credit: watchesbysjx

Yet, it is their exclusivity that has built their name as a luxury brand among elites. They don’t spend millions on advertising like their competitors such as IWC Schaffhausen or Omega.

Instead, they rely on communities of watch collectors, word-of-mouth and being known as the height of exclusivity.

Intro to Patek Philippe collections

The guide to buying your first Patek Philippe begins with the collections. Patek Philippe has 8 collections of watches for men.

These collections are available to men because women have their own collection. Each watch has its own history, design, complication and movement. The 3 movements include self-winding, manual-winding and quartz. But, here are the collections:

Legendary models from Patek Philippe Calatrava Collection. Photo @ Patek.com
Some models from Patek Philippe Nautilus Collection. Nautilus 5711 is the most in-demand in secondary market. Photo @ Patek.com
Sporty Patek Philippe Aquanaut Collection. Photo @ patek.com
Models from Patek Philippe Complications Collection. Photo @ patek.com
Some models from Patek Philippe Grand Complications Collection. @ Patek.com
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Collection. Not popular among watch collectors
Models from Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Collection. Photo: patek.com
Patek Philippe pocket watches. Not recommended to be your first Patek.

Where Can I Buy a Patek Philippe?

The Patek Philippe is an exclusive brand. Because of this, they only have three salons across the globe; Geneva, Paris and London.

Outside of this, people can buy Patek Philippe watches in authorized boutiques or authorized dealers (ADs). Here, inspections take place where a buyer shows interest in the Swiss-made watch. This way, the authorized dealers can be sure the buyers do not plan to sell the watch for a profit.

The final location where luxury watches are in the secondary/ pre-owned market or grey market. This is where you’ll find Patek Philippe priced high above retail value (MSRP) for certain models due to high demand. This is possible with the brand’s exclusivity and the market abusing supply and demand.

That said, it is not easy to purchase your first Patek Philippe. Even with money, the clients are hand-picked local buyers and you should expect a long waiting list.

How Do I Build on my Collection?

As your guide to buying your first Patek Philippe, we suggest never going to a dealer unprepared.

You’ll need to understand the luxury watch industry. This includes what the brand is looking for in their buyers and how to make friends with the authorised dealer. Research is key! Here are some tips;

  • Show your passion for the brand.
  • Be honest about the watch’s use
  • Go into the store knowing some reference numbers
  • Prove you’re not a flipper intending to make a profit
  • Let them know you will be a loyal customer
  • Build a relationship with your ADs
  • Request to be added to the waiting list of a specific watch

To prove your seriousness about your Patek Philippe collection, your first watch will be the Calatrava. This is because it’s the most common beginners watch and is in all their stockists.

Patek Philippe makes approximately 50,000 watches a year. With those numbers, it can be understood that their watches are rare to collectors.

What Can I Expect as Certification?

The final segment of your guide to buying your first Patek Philippe is about the aftermath. You will be given a ‘Certificate of Origin’ from Patek Philippe as well as an invite to their watch register.

The Swiss watch register is a record of every timepiece made by Patek Philippe. As well as this, it spans an archive over their 181 design period.

The last part of buying a Patek Philippe is the invitation to buy an ‘Extract from the Archives’. With this, a person can see every detail about any Patek Philippe watch ever made.


Read more:

Top 5 Tips For Buying Your First Luxury Watch

What are grey market watches?

Quartz vs. Mechanical Watches: What’s The Difference?

Watches for Investment: Everything You Need to Know

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