We Buy The Fake Rivalry That Created the World’s Most Expensive Timepiece Replica Buyers Guide

Another change (like we mentioned, every aspect has been altered or improved) is in the scenario, which has a diameter of 41 mm rather than 39 mm. It is a bit bigger, but stays in the reasonable category (think about the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Chronograph, that is 42 mm, and the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down, that is 41 mm). It’s made from 18k white gold and includes an interesting, typically Patek form — convex bezel, complex lugs, and rectangular chronograph pushers. The case stays quite narrow at 12.4 mm, and positions itself really nicely on the wrist. The overall look of this Patek Philippe Watches Cheap Replica 5270 is refined, complicated and elegant. The minor adjustments to the layout give us a cleaner and more contemporary watch.The last of those changes, and also brand new for 2014, is that blue colour combination (both for the dial and the strap). Even if blue is a cold color (especially when paired with a white-gold case), this new edition is, yet, more attractive. The dial isn’t plain but slightly guillochéd, using a sunburst pattern, and consequently gives off very pleasant reflections (which were sadly difficult to capture during our photo shoot). The contrast with the white gold hands and applied indexes and also the snowy inscriptions is excellent and allows for really good legibility.

The story of two American magnates in the early 20th century, locked in a desperate contest to acquire the most complicated — and expensive — watch will be familiar to those acquainted with the brand mythology of the Geneva watchmakers, Patek Philippe.

The spending contest, the clash of egos, the subterfuge are the inevitable ingredients in a story of rival collectors. To add to the clichés, the ultimate prize, the most complicated portable timepiece in the world, has brought misfortune to its owners and is assuredly as cursed as the jewel stolen from a vindictive idol.

The tale of the arms race between staggeringly rich Henry Graves Jr and James Ward Packard, creator of America’s first luxury car, soon bore fruit. Told to a reporter ahead of the Sotheby’s auction of the Graves watch, it persuaded Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani to pay a record-breaking US$11 million at Sotheby’s in 1999 for the victorious supercomplication completed for Graves in 1932.

The sheikh, a member of Qatar’s ruling family, is fondly remembered by dealers and auctioneers for his prolific spending on art and gadgets before forfeiting his wealth fighting corruption charges. The sheik died unexpectedly in 2014, two days before Sotheby’s again sold his Graves watch for US$24 million, making it the most expensive timepiece and earning it the title of the Mona Lisa of watchmaking.

The much-embellished Graves-Packard duel even became the subject of a book, A Grand Complication — The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch, by Stacy Perman, published in 2013.

The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication that sold for US$24m

Yet this alleged rivalry between two rich men to possess the ultimate timepiece is a complete fabrication. Asked to comment on the book, Mr Alan Banbery, a former director of Patek Philippe, and architect of the company’s post-quartz resurgence, admitted to being the source of the Packard-Graves rivalry story. He floated it in the early 1990s to promote his company’s lucrative competence in highly expensive complications, recently incarnated by the Calibre 89. In 1999 he raised it in a newspaper interview ahead of the sale of the Graves watch.

There is no evidence or even indication that Packard and Graves ever met; they acquired different types of watches independently and moved in distinct social circles. Graves was five years younger than Packard and outlived him by 25 years.

James Ward Packard was a hands-on engineer. He made a fortune in light bulbs and another in automobiles, for which he invented the steering wheel.

James Ward Packard, pictured in one of his early automobiles, c. 1900. Credit Lehigh University Photograph Collection

Henry Graves Jr was a scion of America’s old-money aristocracy. He inherited a banking fortune and made another in real estate, railways and by cornering cement. He pursued a life of active leisure in a style suited to a man of cultivated tastes.

His Fifth Avenue apartment and the country mansions in Irvington and Saranac NY, where he raced his motorboat, were lavishly decorated with furnishings, works of art and silver, bearing the Graves crest and motto Esse quam videre — reality rather than illusion. In winter, the family migrated to Charleston, where Graves, a keen horseman, frequented the Yeamans Hall country club. The few published photographs of him show a gentleman who evidently employed a first-class valet.

Henry Graves Jr. Credit Sotheby’s

Graves would have regarded Packard, if he were indeed aware of him, as a mere mechanic.

Their different approaches to collecting make any personal rivalry even more unlikely. Packard was one of those kids who take apart the family clocks and fix their friends’ watches. As a mechanical engineer, he had a professional appreciation of watch mechanics and sought out its possibilities in an eclectic variety of chiming and astronomical timepieces, a ring watch, one for the top of his cane and another that played his favourite lullaby. He mainly bought chiming watches with astronomical complications from Patek Philippe, and precision watches from English makers.

Graves simply hoarded the best of anything: the rarest coins, the most priceless Chinese porcelain, the prettiest paperweights, artworks of royal European provenance. For him the best watches were the most accurate, so he snapped up the winners of the Swiss observatory competitions, many of them from Patek Philippe and some from Vacheron Constantin.

The “race to build the most legendary watch” between the two men is furthermore contradicted by their collecting history. It must be remembered that the dates of their custom-made watches (the Packard 1916, the Graves 1926, the Packard 1927 and the Graves 1932) are those of their completion, not their order. They took several years to build.

Packard ordered his most complicated watch from Patek Philippe in around 1910 and it was delivered in 1916. Graves only got interested in complicated watches in 1919, when he was 51 years old, but none of those he ordered from Patek Philippe were specified to outrank the 15 complications of the Packard 1916 watch.

By the time his watches were delivered from the mid 1920s, Packard, in hospital with a brain tumour, was no longer ordering watches. His last and most elegant watch, with 10 complications and a star chart was delivered to his hospital bed in 1927.

The Packard astronomical pocket watch by Patek Philippe delivered in 1927

The Graves grand complication pocket watch delivered in 1926, with the his family’s crest on the back

It was only after Packard’s death in 1928 that Graves arrived in Geneva to give Patek Philippe the go-ahead to produce the 24-complication watch that had been under development for three years. If Graves were competing in the complication stakes, it would not be against any of Packard’s watches. The watch to beat was the 20-complication Leroy 01, completed in 1904 for the stupendously rich Portuguese mystic, Dr Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.

Furthermore, Graves was not the kind who would stoop to compete. If you acquire the best, you don’t need to.

The Leroy 01 grand complication pocket watch. Credit Musée du Temps Besançon

It’s always a pity to let facts get in the way of a good story, but the clever marketing myth has served its purpose of supporting Patek Philippe’s strategy, not to sell more watches, but to increase their price. In the global competition for status, the message of the Graves-Packard rivalry is embedded: the money spent on a Patek Philippe buys a guarantee that you outclass your rivals. In the top price range, the company is secure in its reputation as the maker of the most expensive complicated watches.

However, collectors’ motivations change. Today they can be compelled to buy Patek Philippe’s minute-repeaters on the grounds they have been individually listened to, personally, by the owner of the company.

Stories ain’t what they used to be.


Alan Downing worked as a news journalist in Africa and in Europe before being drawn into the world of luxury watchmaking at the start of the post-quartz revival. Since then he has written for and about the Swiss watch industry, gaining a privileged insight into a fascinating artistic, economic and industrial culture. Some readers might remember the Watchbore character he created on the Timezone watch forum.

Cheap Wholesale Introducing the Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Refs. 5711/1P and 5976/1G Replica Clearance

Another change (like we said, each aspect has been changed or enhanced) is in the scenario, which has a diameter of 41 mm instead of 39 mm. It is a bit bigger, but remains in the classical and reasonable category (consider the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Chronograph, that is 42 mm, and the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down, that is 41 mm). It is made from 18k white gold and comes with an intriguing, typically Patek shape — convex bezel, complex lugs, and rectangular chronograph pushers. The situation stays quite narrow at 12.4 mm, and places itself quite nicely on the wrist. The general look of the Patek Philippe Watches 5960p Replica 5270 is elegant, complicated and tasteful. The minor adjustments to the design give us a cleaner and more contemporary watch.The last of those adjustments, and also brand new for 2014, is that blue color combination (both for the dial and the strap). Originally available in white gold with a white/silver dial, it’s now feasible to have the 5270 in blue, a somewhat less classical shade and perhaps, therefore, easier to utilize a casual outfit as well. Even if blue is a cold colour (especially when paired with a white-gold case), this new edition is, nonetheless, more appealing. The dial is not simple but marginally guillochéd, using a sunburst pattern, and thus gives off really pleasant reflections (that were sadly difficult to capture during our photo shoot). The comparison with the white gold hands and applied indexes and the white inscriptions is exceptional and allows for really good legibility. Rates are subject to change.

The venerable Geneva watchmaker has just announced two limited edition Nautilus wristwatches, the Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P, a time-only automatic in platinum, and the Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976/1G in white gold.

An iconic luxury sports watch by any measure, the Nautilus is 40 years old this year. Famously designed by Gerald Genta on a napkin, the Nautilus first came to market in 1976 as the “Jumbo” ref. 3700/1A. For the occasion Patek Philippe has created a pair of Nautilus wristwatches in precious metal that stick closely to the original style, but with some tweaks.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary

These adaptations, including an enlarged case for the chronograph and prominent commemorative lettering on the dial, may prove controversial with traditionalists. Here’s a quick rundown on the anniversary editions, including specs and prices.


The Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition is entirely platinum – case and bracelet – making it an extremely hefty wristwatch.

Size-wise it is identical to the ordinary ref. 5711 Nautilus: sans crown, from one corner of the bezel to another, the watch is 40mm in diameter. Like all other platinum Patek Philippe watches, the ref. 5711/1P has a small diamond set into the bezel at six o’clock.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 4

While the case material is unusual, the anniversary Nautilus is not  the only such watch in platinum. Until fairly recently, the ref. 5711 Nautilus was available in platinum as a special order, looking almost identical to the anniversary edition.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 7

A disc of solid 18k yellow gold, the dial is finished in dark blue with a striped, horizontal stamped guilloche that’s typical of the Nautilus. The baton hour markers are also 18k gold and set with baguette-cut diamonds; the total weight of all 12 diamonds is about 0.34 carats. At six o’clock two lines of embossed text announce the occasion with “40” followed by “1976-2016” below.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 6

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 5

The ref. 5711/1P is powered by the automatic calibre 324 SC that’s equipped with an adjustable mass Gyromax balance wheel and silicon Spiromax hairspring. Regulated to -3 to +2 seconds a day, the movement exceeds the usual COSC chronometer standards.

Limited to 700 pieces, the Nautilus ref. 5711/1P-001 is SFr100,000 or S$149,300.


The second commemorative model is the Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976/1G 40th Anniversary Limited Edition, a chronograph in white gold that’s the largest serially produced Patek Philippe wristwatch ever made, likely Patek Philippe’s response to the popularity of large sports watches from the likes of Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 1

Measuring 49.25mm in diameter including the crown, or 44mm from corner to corner of the bezel, the ref. 5976/1G is essentially an enlarged version of the original Nautilus chronograph ref. 5980. The ref. 5980 and its successor, the Nautilus Travel Time ref. 5990, are both only 40.5mm from one corner of the bezel to the other.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 4

To accompany the larger case, the chronograph register at six o’clock has been proportionately enlarged, making the three elapsed time tracks easier to read. The outermost track counts the hours, then the minutes in the inner two tracks.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 6

The Nautilus chronograph in white gold has a dial made of brass and coated dark blue, and finished with the model’s trademark horizontal stamping.

The hour marks and hands are 18k gold, while each hour index is set with baguette- or princess-cut diamonds totalling 0.29 carats. Just under the 12 o’clock marker is a single line of anniversary text reading “1976 – 40 – 2016”.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 7

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 3

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 5

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976-1G 40th Anniversary 2

Inside is the calibre CH 28-520 C, a self-winding chronograph movement with a vertical clutch and column wheel, as well as a silicon Spiromax hairspring, regulated to -3 and +2 seconds a day.

Limited to 1300 pieces, the Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5976/1G-001 is SFr85,000 or S$127,000.


Both the ref. 5711/1P and ref. 5976/1G are delivered in a special anniversary box made of natural cork with steel frames, the same material used for the box on the 1976 original. The historical reference continues with the steel plaque set on the front of each box, being a replica of the plaque on the original Nautilus box.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 3

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711-1P 40th Anniversary platinum 2