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Timepiece de Résistance

Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe clocks 175 years in the business of style

Only an elite few luxury brands endure long enough to celebrate a dodransbicentennial, but with 175 years of haute horlogerie under its watchband, Patek Philippe is marking the occasion by creating its most elaborate and complex timepiece in its hallowed history.

Ever since founders Antoine Norbert de Patek and Jean-Adrien Philippe partnered to launch the Swiss company in 1839, glorious arrays of complications have been the hallmark of their chronographs. Honoring that tradition, Patek Philippe invited an assembly of L.A. tastemakers to the Sunset Strip’s Sunset Tower Hotel to get a glimpse of the spectacular collection of exclusive watches commemorating its milestone, including its extraordinary masterwork, the Grandmaster Chime wristwatch.

Patek Philippe timepieces

Patek Philippe timepieces

With only seven Grandmaster Chime watches produced (crafted over seven painstaking years), the striking, dual-faced timepiece, accented with 18-karat gold and sapphires, was designed to be the world’s most complicated wristwatch, topping Patek Philippe’s record-holding 150th anniversary watch by incorporating an ingeniously designed grande sonnerie chime function into the caliber 300 movement powered by 1,366 individual elements—an “intricate cosmos of tiny parts,” as the brand calls it. “The idea,” says Larry Pettinelli, president of Patek Philippe U.S., “is really to celebrate the people over the years who had the passion to continue to push mechanical watchmaking into the next generation.”

As a result, the nonpareil timepiece is valued at $2.6 million. Collectors, you may want to start working your international connections right now, as the rarities may never make it to the United States: one Grandmaster Chime will reside in the company’s Geneva museum while the other six will eventually reside on private wrists.