Recommended Watching: Patek Grails with Collectability

A video featuring $700k worth of Patek grails with John Reardon

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By: Charlie Dunne

Over the past two weeks, Chrono24 has released 54 minutes worth of Patek Philippe content featuring none other than John Reardon of Collectability. Reardon is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on the Genevan watchmaker. His extensive resume includes selling some of the most important timepieces throughout the brand's history at auction, overseeing Patek’s sales and training in the US, writing the trilogy Patek Philippe in America, and being a long-time contributor to the brand’s magazine. In December of 2019, he started the next chapter in his saga founding Collectability, a platform centered around scholarship and providing collectors with the resources to informed decisions in their Patek Philippe collecting journey. The first Chrono24 video came out of left field when I spotted the title “Inside an Impressive Watch Collection and Career | Part 1” on my YouTube homepage.

The video starts off with Reardon flexing an electric blue leather briefcase that quite frankly appeared to be an accessory suited for a member of Pimp Legion of Doom. As for the content within it, “We’re gonna have to get into that later” he would tell Thomas Hendricks (Private Client Advisor at Chrono24). 

In the first video, the two discuss how Reardon caught the watch bug in his teenage years from his brother-in-law, whom he described as being “the nerdiest guy on earth” due to his obsession with American-made pocket watches. Something tells me his brother-in-law got the last laugh all these years later. Hendricks and Reardon would go on to cover a variety of subjects from his experience in the auction world, collector archetypes, his own personal collecting, and more.

“Buy watches that don’t chase trends, but [rather] that engage with your own story.”

As the video wrapped up, I became flustered at the tease of the Collectability briefcase. I couldn’t help myself and DM’d John Reardon what could only be described as the most appropriate GIF from David Fincher’s 1995 psychological thriller Seven.

As luck would have it, part 2 was released soon after. The sequel is 20 minutes of Patek Philippe content that will leave many a Patek enthusiast grinning ear to ear. With the enticing title “Inside a $700,000 Patek Philippe Watch Collection | Part 2,” I couldn’t help myself. While Hendricks was able to choose a favorite amongst the dozen or so timepieces shown, I couldn’t narrow it down to only one. Below are three of my favorites.

Patek Philippe Reference 1485 circa 1945

Kicking things off, Reardon channels Vincent Vega by opening his briefcase pulling out the seldom-seen reference 1458 made by the casemaker Taubert & Fils (formerly Francios Borgel). According to Collectability, of the 200 examples that were made, only 20 have been discovered publicly. 

Taubert is one of the most interesting early watch casemakers, delivering a number of innovations to further the waterproofing of wristwatches. The patent for this particular square case was applied for by Taubert in 1939 and is described as a design for improvements in hermetically sealed non-circular case shapes.

Patek Philippe Reference 1473

I really love a simple time-only watch. When there is a subtle touch of flair, in this instance via the tear-drop lugs, it can be a total game-changer. Patek would go on to do much more fanciful designs into the 1950s, but I personally love the harmony of this more traditional 1940s case with eccentric lugs. The dial is to die for, imperfections and all. 

Upon seeing this watch a few weeks back, I quickly thought it was the same reference that was sold to Charles Woehrle during his time imprisoned in a German POW camp in the Second World War. After referring back to Jason Heaton’s 2011 article, it turns out that Woehrle’s original watch was in fact a reference 1461. Regardless, I’d venture to say this is the perfect balance between understated elegance and daring design. At 31mm, I’d imagine by today’s size standards it is a bit alienating to some, and I hope that things don’t change because this is a model I would love to own one day. According to Collectability, this is one of only three examples in steel that have surfaced. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that a fourth one comes my way in the future!

40th Ellipse Anniversary Set, Reference 5738P and 3738/100P

A Collectability video wouldn’t be complete without discussion of an Ellipse. The model holds a special place in Reardon’s heart as it was the watch he was pushing back in his days working for Patek. “Forget about what social media is telling you” he stated before going into detail about how the golden ratio is found in everything from art, nature, and most importantly, watchmaking. The video captured the stunning shape and aesthetic of the ref. 5738, which was sold alongside a ref. 3738/100P, cufflinks, and an impressive white gold necklace adorned with 69 internally flawless Top Wesselton diamonds and 29 sapphires. I won’t lie, I’d probably opt for the necklace over the cufflinks.

Parting on Patek

Over the past year, Reardon has really upped the ante with Patek Philippe content. When it comes to video content, he’s created hands down the best Patek Philippe-centered YouTube channel and some of the most interesting articles alongside his colleague Tania Edwards on his website. Collectability has also in recent months entered the world of podcasting. Hosted by Carlos Torres, notable episodes of Collectability Podcast feature the likes of Ben Clymer, Dr. Helmut Crott and Roni Madhvani. Whether you are a lifelong enthusiast, or simply looking to learn a thing or two beyond the Nautilus, by visiting the site you’re bound to walk away with more appreciation for Patek Philippe.


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