Uncovering Patek Phillipe’s Complications Collection

In watchmaking, a complication is considered to be any extra feature other than something which tells the time or shows a simple date. 

Within their tradition of using complications, Patek Philippe has focused on additions which will be of most use to the wearer, while keeping these in line with the refined, sophisticated appearance of the brand’s other collections. This is demonstrated with finesse and excellence in the brand’s Complications collection.

Find out more about this collection and what may feature in each of its watches below. You’ll also find out all the information you could need about their prices and valuation process. 


Patek Philippe’s Complications models come in a stylish selection of materials, each of which is bound to make a statement:

  • Yellow Gold
  • White Gold
  • Rose Gold
  • Platinum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Leather (for bracelets)
  • Silver Plate (for dials)
  • Anthracite (for dials)

Precious stones like diamonds and other materials like mother of pearl (nacre) might also be included in individual designs for both men’s and women’s watches.

Available Complications

Below, we’ve listed some of the potential watch features of the Complications collection. Patek Philippe’s professionalism and attention to detail help to make them fine art, not just tools:

Annual Calendar Models

Complications Annual Calendar models are designed with displays for the date, day, and month. The watches are crafted in a way which means the timepiece will “know” whether a month has 30 or 31 days. This means the date only has to be corrected once a year on the 1st of March.

Some specific models within this collection feature separate windows for the date, day, and month. Depending on the design, the location of these windows may vary. For instance, the 5396 series places its day and month windows beneath the company name at 12 o’clock on the dial, with the date display at 6. 

Perpetual Calendar Models

Perpetual calendar models are often thought of as “the next step up” in calendar timekeeping. Unlike annual calendars, they don’t have to be adjusted every 1st March. Instead, they will automatically adjust for February and can overcome the challenges other models face with leap years.

Chronographs and Flyback Chronographs

For a lot of the models in the Complications collection, the watch’s most distinctive feature will be its chronograph. A chronograph is, in essence, a stopwatch used to measure periods of time. Visually, they’re distinguished by their two or three sub-dials and the two pushers that start and stop the function. This is done without interfering with the rest of the watch.

An improvement on this particular complication is the flyback chronograph. This make of Complication allows the wearer to reset the function without the need to first stop the chronograph. This is unlike a standard chronograph, in which a user must stop, reset, and restart the chronograph in order to time an event after the chronograph has started.

GMT Functions

Frequent travellers, such as pilots and airline crew, or businesspeople who need to meet executives all over the world, favour watches with GMT function. The Complications collection offers multiple watch models with this feature. 

An example of one of these is the reference 5524. This make was inspired by pilots’ watches from the 1920s and 1930s, and elements of the design make this obvious. Large, easily-illuminated numerals are the stand-out feature of the dial. The hands, which are wide for easy visibility, also glow in the dark. These watches also feature separate day and night indicators for local time and time at home.

World Time Watches

A world time complication allows the wearer to monitor more than just two time zones. Instead, they’ll be allowed the chance to monitor all of them. References 5230, 5231, and 7130 in the Complications collection are all outfitted with world time. Each of these watch models is equipped with the automatic calibre 240 HU. This movement displays the time in 24 time zones using central hour and minute hands, a 24-hour disc, and a city disc. 

A push-piece fitted as part of the design (at the 10 o’clock mark) allows easy switching between time zones. 

Moon Phase Indicators

A moon phase indicator is a feature which allows the wearer to track the phases of the moon, as they are seen from Earth. For full accuracy, it travels from the new moon to the full moon and back. Models with these indicators make the perfect companion pieces for astronomers and those who enjoy space and tracking the heavenly bodies as a hobby.

Regulator Models

Regulator models, as is stated in the name, make use of regulator complications. This means the watch displays hours, minutes, and seconds on separate dials. The craftsmen achieved this by including two sub-dials in the design, which display the hours and seconds. Meanwhile, the main dial displays the minutes.

Multiple Complications

Complications watches are generally considered less complex than the improved-upon Grand Complications models. This is mostly because they use fewer complications and have fewer functions. However, that doesn’t mean that Complications models are limited to just one complication or function. Many models make use of more than one. 

For example, you may find Annual Calendar Moon Phase watches in this collection, which features both annual calendars and moon phase indicators. Similarly, you might also find Complications watches offering Annual Calendars and Chronographs, Travel Time functions and Day Indicators, or any other combination of complications.

Prices for These Models in the UK

Patek Philippe is one of the most prestigious luxury watch brands in the world, with a long heritage to account for it. As a result, prices reflect the brand’s unique position, as well as the unparalleled elegance and precision craftsmanship of the watches. Watches in the Complications collection alone cost around £30,000 on the lower end when first sold. 

These will also be the least complicated watches, with the fewest complications and functions, in the collection. The more features a watch has, the higher you can expect the price to be. Some may even achieve prices of £140,000 or more, and many will be asking price only when bought from trusted retailers.

When selling a used watch in this collection, finding a dedicated enthusiast is your best bet for increasing prices further. Many will be willing to pay prices that would otherwise be unachievable, especially at auction. Burlingtons Ltd. has a network of these buyers ready and waiting, and can buy your antique or modern watches for a fantastic upfront price.

Valuing a Patek Philippe Complication

Beyond a network of buyers offering high prices, we’re dedicated to helping you sell your watch for the price that reflects what it’s really worth. This begins with a specialist valuation carried out by an experienced professional. Our professional, Daniel, will work out the true selling price of your watch based on:

  • The age of the watch
  • The watch’s overall condition
  • The use of precious metals, like platinum
  • The use of precious stones, like diamonds
  • The watch’s complications
  • The watch’s functions

This selling price will be among the highest you’ll find from any service, as you’ll avoid the fees that come with a traditional auction sale.

Sell Your Patek Philippe Complications to Us

If you’re thinking of selling an exquisite, timeless example of watchmaking from the iconic Patek Philippe collection, get in touch with us today and our team will be waiting to book you in for a free, no-obligation valuation. This will happen in the comfort of your own home, and result in an instant payment at a fair price.

Daniel’s expertise means he can tell authentic pieces from replicas right away, and he’ll be happy to explain his reasoning behind any price quoted. Contact us to find out more about our process, or book your valuation to make selling a Complications watch less complicated.

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October 20, 2023

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