Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse: Their Most Underrated Watch?

by Barbara Wilson

In the world of haute horlogerie, Patek Philippe has long been synonymous with unrivaled excellence, timeless sophistication, and uncompromising craftsmanship. Among its extensive collection of horological masterpieces, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse often quietly graces the wrists of those who appreciate its understated elegance. Yet, it remains one of the brand’s most underrated creations, often overshadowed by more iconic models like the Nautilus or the Calatrava. However, beneath its subtle exterior lies a history, design philosophy, and undeniable charm that make it a true gem in Patek Philippe’s illustrious lineup. In this article, we will embark on a journey to uncover the hidden allure of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. We will explore its history, tracing its evolution from classic to contemporary, delve into the design inspiration behind this horological masterpiece, and even engage in a horological showdown by comparing it to the legendary Rolex Datejust. Is the Golden Ellipse Patek Philippe’s most underrated watch? Let’s embark on this horological adventure to find out.


I. The History of the “Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse”: How Did It Become an Icon?

A Legacy Unveiled:


The inception of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse dates back to the tumultuous year of 1968. This was a period marked by societal shifts and bold design choices. The Golden Ellipse made its debut during this era of change, introducing an unprecedented and daring design that defied the norms of horology. Its most distinctive feature, the elliptical case, was a departure from the predominantly round and rectangular watch cases of the time. This boldness helped it gain recognition and establish itself as a true design icon.


An Iconic Name:


The name “Golden Ellipse” itself carries a profound significance. It is derived from the mathematical concept of the “Golden Ratio” or “Golden Section,” a ratio that has been revered in the realms of art and architecture for centuries. This mathematical proportion is believed to represent aesthetic perfection and is embodied in the watch’s proportions. The Golden Ellipse, therefore, serves as both a timekeeping instrument and an artistic representation of harmony.

Evolving Aesthetics:

Over the years, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse has undergone a subtle evolution while remaining faithful to its core design principles. The early models featured minimalist dials and cases primarily crafted in yellow gold. These classic iterations continue to be highly sought after by collectors who appreciate the simplicity and sophistication of vintage timepieces. However, in more recent times, Patek Philippe has introduced contemporary versions of the Golden Ellipse. These models incorporate updated features and materials, such as white gold cases and innovative movements, while retaining the essence of the original design. This evolution is a testament to the watch’s enduring appeal, as it effortlessly bridges the gap between classic elegance and modern refinement.

II. Classic vs. Contemporary: Evolution of Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Series

Classic Elegance:

The early Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse models are celebrated for their timeless elegance. They feature minimalist dials adorned with slender indices and the brand’s signature dauphine hands. The cases are predominantly crafted from yellow gold, exuding warmth and sophistication. These classic iterations are cherished by collectors and connoisseurs who are drawn to the timeless beauty of vintage timepieces.

Contemporary Refinement:

In recent years, Patek Philippe has introduced contemporary versions of the Golden Ellipse that seamlessly blend tradition with innovation. These modern interpretations often feature cases crafted from white gold, which lends a sense of understated luxury and versatility. While the elliptical case shape remains a constant, these contemporary models incorporate updated movements and materials, offering enhanced performance and durability. The design ethos, however, remains faithful to the original, ensuring that the essence of the Golden Ellipse is preserved.

The Collectibility Factor:

The debate between classic and contemporary Golden Ellipse watches is a topic that often ignites passionate discussions among collectors. Some are drawn to the vintage allure of the early models, appreciating their historical significance and timeless design. Others are captivated by the modern reinterpretations, which offer improved technical features and materials. Ultimately, the choice between classic and contemporary Golden Ellipse watches is a matter of personal taste and appreciation for horological history. Collectors and enthusiasts alike find joy in the diversity and evolution of the Golden Ellipse series.

III. Artistry in Timekeeping: The Design Inspiration Behind Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

The Golden Ratio:

The most distinctive feature of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is its case shape, which adheres to the mathematical principle known as the Golden Ratio. This ratio, often represented by the Greek letter Phi (Φ), is a mathematical proportion that has fascinated mathematicians, artists, and architects for centuries. It is renowned for its aesthetic harmony and balance, found in the natural world, iconic artworks, and architectural marvels. The Golden Ellipse’s case shape, carefully designed to adhere to this ratio, is a manifestation of this timeless aesthetic principle. The resulting elliptical form, with its pleasing proportions, evokes a sense of balance and beauty that transcends mere functionality.

A Dial as Canvas:

The dial of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is a canvas of elegance and refinement. Its design is a testament to the brand’s commitment to achieving aesthetic perfection in horology. The dials of Golden Ellipse watches are marked by their clean lines, minimalist indices, and the signature dauphine hands. The absence of unnecessary embellishments serves to highlight the watch’s timeless beauty. In the world of design, restraint often speaks volumes, and the Golden Ellipse’s dial is a prime example of this philosophy.

Precious Materials:

Patek Philippe’s dedication to excellence extends beyond design and into the realm of materials. The Golden Ellipse is available in various precious metals, including yellow gold, white gold, and platinum. The choice of materials is not merely a matter of aesthetics but also a reflection of the watch’s exclusivity and enduring value. Yellow gold exudes warmth and traditional luxury, while white gold offers a contemporary twist. Platinum, being a rare and prestigious metal, elevates the Golden Ellipse to the pinnacle of horological artistry. The selection of materials allows collectors to choose a Golden Ellipse that resonates with their personal style and preferences, further enhancing the watch’s desirability.

IV. “Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse” vs. “Rolex Datejust”: Which is the Better Dress Watch?

Two Icons Meet:

Comparing the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse and the Rolex Datejust is akin to pitting two horological legends against each other. Both watches boast rich histories, impeccable craftsmanship, and undeniable charm. However, they cater to different styles and occasions.

The Golden Ellipse:

As a dress watch, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse exudes a level of sophistication and refinement that is quintessentially Patek Philippe. Its elliptical case and timeless design make it an excellent choice for formal occasions, black-tie events, and those who appreciate understated luxury. The Golden Ellipse represents a harmonious marriage of art and horology, appealing to individuals who seek a watch that is not only accurate but also a work of art.

The Rolex Datejust:

The Rolex Datejust, on the other hand, is a versatile everyday watch that effortlessly transitions from the boardroom to the golf course. Its robust design, iconic date window, and diverse range of models cater to a wide audience, from business professionals to adventurers. The Datejust is celebrated for its reliability, durability, and adaptability, making it a watch for all occasions.

Choosing the Best:

The choice between the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse and the Rolex Datejust ultimately depends on personal style, preference, and the occasions for which the watch will be worn. Both watches have earned their places in the annals of horology, offering distinct experiences. The Golden Ellipse excels in the realm of dress watches, where elegance and aesthetics take center stage. In contrast, the Datejust thrives as a versatile and practical timepiece that effortlessly blends into a myriad of lifestyles. Therefore, the question of which is the better watch is a matter of context and individual taste.


In the realm of haute horlogerie, where time is measured in artistry and craftsmanship, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse quietly asserts its presence as one of the brand’s most underrated treasures. Behind its understated elegance lies a history steeped in innovation, a design inspired by the Golden Ratio, and an enduring charm that transcends trends. Whether one is captivated by the classic elegance of vintage Golden Ellipse models or drawn to the modern refinement of their contemporary counterparts, there is no denying the enduring allure of this horological masterpiece.

While the Golden Ellipse may not always seize the spotlight like its more celebrated siblings, it remains a symbol of Patek Philippe’s commitment to artistry, craftsmanship, and the relentless pursuit of horological perfection. It is a watch that speaks to those who appreciate the marriage of form and function, where time is not merely a measurement but a canvas upon which beauty is painted. Perhaps it is time to bestow upon the Golden Ellipse the recognition it truly deserves, not as an underrated watch, but as an icon of horological excellence.


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