The Story of Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe will be celebrating their 180th birthday in 2019. Their story boasts milestones and achievements which is a testament to their goal to make the finest timepieces in the world.
Their endeavours to meet this goal resulted in timepieces that caught the attention of Kings and Queens. Being family owned, each generation created their own legacy in time for the next to take over and by doing so, it forged a connection between the past and future.
This knowledge and expertise enabled Patek Philippe to push themselves to new realms which inspired some of the most complicated watches the world has ever seen. Here, we explore the story of one of the most revered watchmakers in the world.
Patek Before Philippe
Patek Philippe can trace their origins back to 1839 when Antoni Patek started a partnership with François Czapek and formed Patek, Czapek & Cie.
Specialising in haute Horlogerie, they gained a reputation for rather striking timepieces.
After six years of working together, the partnership ended. Francois Czapek founded Czapek & Cie and Patek formed Patek & Cie.
When Patek Met Philippe
Jean Adrien Philippe stunned a crowd, including Patek himself, at an industry event. After inviting him to Geneva, Philippe joined the company and in 1851, Patek & Cie became Patek Philippe & Cie.
The goal was to develop and manufacture the finest timepieces in the world. In 1933, this feat was achieved when they created The Supercomplication which contained 24 complications!
Trivia - The quality of their watches was recognised by Hungarian Countess Koscowicz who purchased one of their first wristwatches.
Patek Philippe has gone on to create a series of collections that carry with them their own philosophy.
Patek is said to have over 200 different models in production at the same time! Only ever venturing into the several hundred. Here are their current collections.
The Aquanaut Collection
Launched in 1997, the Aquanaut was able to refresh the brand with its modern and youthful look. Visually similar to the Nautilus, the Aquanaut distinguishes itself by having a tropical strap.
The Nautilus Collection
Launched in 1976, the Nautilus had a rounded octagonal shape. It's designed for people who have active lifestyles and don't want to compromise on class.
Trivia - the Nautilus became one of their most known collections.
The Golden Ellipse Collection
The middle ground of a circle and rectangle, the elliptical case was first launched in 1968.
Patek's Golden Ellipse was both innovative and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The inspiration behind the design came from the "golden section” which was discovered by ancient Greek mathematicians.
The Calatrava Collection
Known as the epitome of Patek Philippe's motif, the Calatrava is devastatingly elegant and this collection contains some of their most aesthetically pleasing watches made.
First produced, in 1932, it's still going strong today.
The Grand Complications Collection
Complicated timepieces will test both the designer and the watchmaker. Grand complicated timepieces will push them to their limits.
Patek Philippe has shown their expertise with the Calibre 89 which consisted of 33 complications and 1,728 components!
In 2014, the Grandmaster Chime became the most complicated wristwatch with 20 different complications.
Patek Philippe has been owned by the Stern family since 1932.
Today, they are led by Thierry Stern, Philippe Stern and Claude Peny. Together, they have been responsible for iconic pieces such as the Calibre 89, the construction of the Patek Philippe Museum which houses over 500 years of horology and safeguarding their technological leadership.
To ensure quality, Patek created a seal in 2009. The criterion is the strictest in Swiss watchmaking and illustrates the expectations they have for their timepieces.
Finally, they hand-pick their dealers who are held to the highest of standards. This level of after-service must be in line with Patek's belief that their watches will function for generations to come.
They created The Five Generations advert which shows the bond shared between mother and daughter and father and son. The message behind the advert is starting your own tradition through bequeathing items to the next generation.
The next watchmaker to feature in our series is IWC. Take a look at our article: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: IWC.
You can find a collection of Luxury Patek Watches available in auction. Hit the link below to see more.