For more than a century now, renowned Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe & Co. has produced luxury timepieces that have been hailed for their fine craftsmanship. Known for their outstanding horological feats and complicated movements that make Rolex watches look cheap, Patek Philippe currently holds the world record for the most expensive timepiece sold for a whooping $24.4 million.
Owning a Patek Philippe watch has become more than just a status symbol — it represents a lifestyle that is characterized by elegance and excellence. It goes without saying that the Patek Philippe can be classified as one of the finer things in life. It has been consistently on that list for generations.
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175.
Various models of Patek Philippe timepieces have been worn by celebrities like larger-than-life artist Pablo Picasso, Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt, as well as musicians Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Mayer.
It's a status symbol of the highest order.
World and industry leaders like General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy have also been spotted wearing Patek Philippe on their wrists.
This limited edition watch is stunning.
To mark its 175th anniversary, Patek Philippe & Co. created their most elaborate wristwatch to date — the Grandmaster Chime 5175.
The Grandmaster Chime's two faces: the time face and the calendar face.
As the company itself pointed out, the Grandmaster Chime 5175 is “a wrist-format timekeeping instrument of absolutely unprecedented complexity and ingenuity that establishes new benchmarks in terms of technical and aesthetic elegance.”
It is hand-engraved on nearly every surface.
“Just looking at the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175, there is no doubt that you’re staring at something special. The 18K rose gold case is absolutely massive at 47.4mm across and 16.1mm thick, and it is hand-engraved on nearly every surface. The case actually spins between the massive lugs, allowing you to see the two dials,” writes Stephen Pulvirent in Bloomberg’s Loot Blog.
Craftsmen spent 100,000 hours on this watch.
To top it all off, as the company indicated, the Grandmaster Chime is their very first double-face wristwatch. It can be worn with either dial facing up: the one that focuses on the time and the sonnerie, the other dedicated to the full instantaneous perpetual calendar.
It has a laurel-wreathed gold case.
The company explained, “Changing the face is very simple thanks to the ingenious reversing mechanism in the lugs. It is amazingly easy to operate and firmly secures the case in the selected position.”
It contains 214 individual parts.
In the review site Hodinkee, Evald Muraj wrote, “Over 100,000 hours in development and assembly were logged for this piece, and each one of them is evident at first glance. The Grandmaster Chime’s baroque, statuesque stature is nothing short of majestic.”
The watch is definitely a showstopper.
Apart from its posh look, the Grandmaster Chime 5175 boasts of four spring barrels powering 20 complications. This was part of the reason why company president Thierry Stern tagged the watch as “the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch ever produced.”
It's the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch ever produced.
In the case of watches, “complication” is the term used to refers to any feature that is beyond the simple display of hours and minutes. The Grandmaster Chime’s complications include the Grande and Petite Sonnerie, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with four-digit year display, a second time zone, and a minute repeater.
It boasts of 20 complications…and that's a good thing.
Below is the complete list of the watch’s fabulous complications:
- Grande Sonnerie
- Petite Sonnerie
- Minute repeater
- Strikework mode display (Silence/Grand Sonnerie/Petite Sonnerie)
- Alarm with time strike
- Date repeater
- Movement power-reserve indicator
- Strikework power-reserve indicator
- Strikework isolator display
- Second time zone
- Second time zone day/night indicator
- Instantaneous perpetual calendar
- Day-of-week display
- Month display
- Date display (on both dials)
- Leap year cycle
- Four-digit year display
- 24-hour and minute subdial
- Moon phase
- Crown position indicator
Only seven Grandmaster Chimes were produced.
Take note that — true to its name — the watch has two patents pertaining to the chiming mechanism alone. It has an acoustic alarm that strikes at the alarm time. It also has a date repeater that sounds the date on demand.
Such attention to detail!
Patek Philippe produced only seven Grandmaster Chimes. Six of them are for sale at $2.6 million each, while the seventh one will be kept in the company’s museum in Geneva.
You’ll be mesmerized by the watchmaking process.
Why people buy expensive watches?
Some people have unusual fascination with mechanical watches. For them, it’s a piece of art. Most people don’t understand what an incredible feat of mechanical engineering they are. According to a watch expert who goes by the name of Watch Snob:
No self-respecting man above the age of 25 should be wearing anything less than a $5,000 watch with an in-house movement. It is true that your Timex tells you the time as accurately as someone’s Rolex or Brietling, but a watch isn’t just about telling time, it is about your relationship with time. A watch is about style, a story and the history of both your watch and your own life.
On a more practical level, there are countless hours of research and development put into high-grade watch movements, employing the finest mechanical engineers in the world to compile hundreds of tiny parts into a durable and accurate machine, all in the size of something slightly larger than a quarter. High-grade watches are about craftsmanship and style, not just about telling time.
If life was as simple as some would make it seem, none of us would own anything of quality because, after all, a shirt is a shirt as long as you’re not naked; a bus can get you someplace as fast as a car; and a cardboard box can keep the rain off your head as well as a home.
The presumptions are clear: a man should devote a sizeable amount of disposable income to purchase a good-quality timepiece; and he should come upon his fortune through hard work, because that is the only time he will understand that buying a luxury item such as a watch is about tradition, precision, and milestones.
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