A Complete Guide To‍ Patek Philippe Watch Reference Numbers

A Complete Guide To
Patek Philippe
Watch Reference Numbers

Patek Philippe is one of the most prestigious timepiece brands, that can create an atmosphere of elegance and class at just the simple mention of the name. Patek Philippe is the embodiment of timeless luxury and sophistication, hence why it is one of the most sought after watch brands across the entirety of the current market. The advanced craftsmanship and innovative design have allowed Patek Philippe to design, develop and manufacture a range of premium quality watches for over 150 years.

Throughout the history of Patek Philippe and the brand’s incredible legacy, there have been such a vast collection of different Patek Philippe watch models, each with its own unique details and designs. As a result, the reference numbers of the watch collections are commonly used to accurately identify the watch model, style, materials used and more. By locating your timepiece’s reference number, you are able to immediately identify key aspects of your watch and help separate the specific model from the countless other variations that exist within the brand.

However, in order to correctly achieve this, you must first understand the inner workings of Patek Philippe reference numbers, and understand the meanings behind each combination, to allow you to fully evaluate the details of your own watch. Unlike other watch brands, the rules and standards of the Patek Philippe reference numbers can fluctuate, so understanding the fundamental guidelines is essential.

Patek Philippe Watch Models & Collections

Before exploring the intricacy of the reference numbers, it is beneficial to know the main model types and collections that Patek Philippe has to offer. Each reference number will indicate the specific model and collection that the watch belongs to, so having an initial knowledge of these models will help your understanding of the numbers.

Throughout the years, Patek Philippe has made an extensive range of watch collections, with each model offering something unique. From popular models such as the Nautilus, to even more unique models such as the pocket watch collection, each timepiece is crafted with stunning designs that have impacted the world of watches for decades.

The Patek Philippe model collections include the Nautilus, Aquanaut, Complications, Grand Complications, Calatrava, Golden Ellipse, Twenty 4, Gondolo, and the Pocket Watches collection. Within each of these stunning collections are a variety of reference numbers, which correlate to the specific style of the model, including material, features and more. Understanding the variety of model collections is simply the start of fully comprehending the meaning of Patek Philippe reference numbers.

Understanding Patek Philippe Reference Numbers

Understanding the reference numbers on Patek Philippe timepieces is essential for a range of different reasons. To be invested in owning one or several watches from top luxury watch brands such as Patek Philippe, you’re likely to have a passion for watches and a desire to familiarise yourself with the inner workings of your own timepiece. Many collectors are able to immediately identify the specific model, style and design of a Patek Philippe watch by simply hearing four digits of the reference number.

It is also important to know your reference number to help identify your watch, and this is useful for situations such as watch valuations. This will give you a more accurate idea of your watches' rarity and estimated value, making selling your watch a smoother process.

A Guide To The Features Of Patek Philippe Reference Numbers

Regardless of the watch, every Patek Philippe model will follow the standard format of reference numbers, although it is most common for people to only reference the first four digits to identify the watch. The reference number format is:


Firstly, every reference combination will begin with a single number. This number will either be a 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. This first number will tell you straight away whether the watch is from a men’s collection - 3, 5, 6 - or a women’s collection - 4, 7.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking this rule will keep you right most of the time.  The exceptions include references 5062,5067,5068,5069 and 5072, which are ladies' Aquanaut Luce watches.

Next, the number that follows the first digit will identify the collection that the watch is from. For instance, a 51xx will be a model from the Aquanaut collection, and a 57xx watch will be part of the Nautilus collection. So from the first two numbers, you can identify whether it is a men’s or women’s collection watch, and what exact collection it belongs to.

Moving on, the next important part is the three digits that come after the backslash in the combination. These three digits refer to the specific details and attributes of the watch, including the materials of the casing and bracelet, as well as the type of gem-setting or whether the watch has any engraving done. These three digits do not follow as many strict guidelines as the first two digits, but there are a few key rules that can be applied:

Digits ending in 96 - Calatrava with a flat bezel
Digits ending in 30 - Worldtimer
Digits ending in 500 - Engraved case
Digits ending in 1 - Metal bracelet
Digits ending in 600 - Lacquered or enamelled case
Digits ending in 400 - Gem-set case
Digits ending in 300 - Baguette-cut gems case
Digits ending in 50 - Decorated dial
Digits ending in 300 - Gem-set case with brilliant-cut
Digits ending in 700 - Gold or gemstone case
Digits ending in 900 - Combination of the above

After these three digits, there will be a letter included in the reference number. This letter is used to identify the material of the case. The letters and their meanings are as follows:

T – Titanium
J – Yellow gold
R – Rose gold
G – White gold
A – Stainless steel
P – Platinum

The last three digits after the dash in the reference number are not as important to know, however, they are used to identify the type of dial in the watch. According to Patek Philippe, the first iteration of the watch dial is -001, followed by -010, -011, and -012.

Luxury Patek Philippe Timepieces

Understanding the meanings of the Patek Philippe reference numbers is vital in not only identifying your watch accurately, but also in gaining the full experience of being a luxury timepiece owner. If you’re looking for the best selection of luxury Patek Philippe watches, then look no further than the stunning collections here at Watch Centre.

Copyright © 2021 Watch Centre. All rights reserved. VAT Registration No. GB912320374