Patek Philippe & Co.

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Patek Philippe
Industry Watch Making
Founded 1839 (Patek, Czapek & Cie.)
1851 (Patek Philippe & Cie.)[1]
Founder Antoni Patek, Adrien Philippe
Headquarters Plan-les-Ouates, GE, Switzerland
Area served
Key people
Claude Peny (CEO)
Thierry Stern (President)[2]
Products Watches
Revenue Increase €765.6 million (2013)
Number of employees

Patek Philippe & Co. (PP) is a Swiss watch manufacturer founded in 1851, located in Geneva and the Vallée de Joux. It designs and manufactures timepieces and movements, including some of the most complicated mechanical watches. It is considered by many experts and aficionados to be one of the most prestigious watch brands.[4] Past owners of Patek Philippe watches include Pope Pius IX, Queen Victoria, Victor Emanuel III of Italy, Christian IX of Denmark.


Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek started making pocket watches in 1839 in Geneva, along with his fellow Polish partner Franciszek Czapek. They separated in 1844, and in 1845 Patek joined with the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, inventor of the key-less winding mechanism. Patek Philippe & Co was founded in 1851.

Patek Philippe pioneered the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches.[citation needed]

In 1976, the Swiss watchmaker introduced the Nautilus collection after deciding that it was time to also produce an exclusive sport watch with finishes of the highest quality. "The new model had a key role for Patek's overall marketing strategy as it had to refresh the brand image while perpetuating tradition. The target was represented by dynamic business managers of the new generations".[5]

Like other Swiss manufacturers, the company produces mostly mechanical movements of the automatic and manual wind variety, but has produced quartz watches in the past, and a digital wrist watch, the Ref. 3414. Patek were notable for being one of 20 Swiss watch companies to develop the first Swiss production watch the beta 21 used by other manufactures in watches such as the Omega Electroquartz watches

Patek Philippe is notable for manufacturing its own watch components.[3]

Patek Philippe timepieces have recorded high prices in auctions worldwide. A large part of the demand for auction pieces is driven by Patek Philippe themselves, as they are often purchasing in the auction market to add to the collection of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.[6][7][8]

In 2010, the company produced 40,000 watches.[9] According to Thierry Stern, in 2012, they produced 50,000.[10]

The company has been owned by the Stern family since 1932, and, as of the late 2000s, led by Philippe Stern and his son Thierry Stern, who took over the reins from his father in 2010.[9][11]


Most expensive[edit]

The Henry Graves Supercomplication timepiece, made by the luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe in 1933 for the prominent banker Henry Graves, was sold at Sotheby's in Switzerland. The sale smashed the world record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, which was previously held by the same watch. In 1999, it was sold to Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani of the Qatari royal family, for $11 million.

Patek Philippe produced an ultra-complicated (with 24 functions) pocket-watch for Henry Graves, Jr., who entered into a friendly horological competition with James Ward Packard, which resulted in the production of the watch (known as "The Supercomplication") sold to Mr. Graves in 1933. After his death, the watch was auctioned at Sotheby's in December 1999 for USD11,000,000, at that time the most expensive timepiece ever sold.[12] The Henry Graves Supercomplication most recently sold at Sotheby's Geneva Auction on 11 November 2014 for a record breaking $24 million.[13]

On April 10, 2008, "Ref. 5002P Sky Moon Tourbillon" a platinum Patek Philippe tourbillon wristwatch made the world record as the most expensive modern wristwatch sold at Hong Kong Sotheby's for HK$11.75 million ($1.4 million US). The record was held along Vacheron Constantin Tour de l'Ile wristwatch, which sold at Antiquorum for $1.4 million in Geneva in 2005.[14]

On May 10, 2010, a Patek Philippe wristwatch became the most expensive to be sold at auction (one must not assume the auction prices as the actual prices of watches) when purchased by a Swiss museum, through Christie's in Geneva, for 6.26 million Swiss francs ($5.50 million US). The chronograph wristwatch,[15] from yellow gold, has a perpetual calendar and moonphase display, and was produced in 1943 in the Geneva manufacture of Patek Philippe.

On June 7, 2013, a Patek Philippe wristwatch reference #2499 became the most expensive to be sold online at auction when purchased by a California collector, through Auctionata in Berlin, for 471,000 Euro ($611,000 US). The chronograph wristwatch,[16] from yellow gold, has a perpetual calendar and moonphase display, and was produced in 1953 in the Geneva manufacture of Patek Philippe.

Watches owned by royalty[edit]

In 1851, Patek Philippe started supplying its watches to Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert.[1][17] Queen Victoria acquired a key-wound Patek Philippe watch created in a pendant style in November 1851 during the Great Exhibition of London.[1][17] The queen owned one more exclusive Patek Philippe timepiece, to be worn pinned to clothing. This watch was suspended from a diamond and enamel brooch.[1][17]

Patek Philippe clientele has included Christian IX and Princess Louise of Denmark (the king and queen of Denmark), Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (king of Italy and Duke of Savoy), Hussein Kamel (Sultan of Egypt from 1914 to 1918).[18]

Anniversary edition[edit]

In 1989, Patek created one of the most complicated mechanical watches ever made,[19] the Calibre 89, created for the 150th anniversary of the company. It holds 39 complications, including the date of Easter, time of sunrise, equation of time, sidereal time, and many other indicators. 1,728 unique parts allow sidereal time, a 2,800 star chart, and more.[20] The Calibre 89 is also able to add a day to February for leap years while leaving out the extra day for every 100 year interval.

Lever escapement[edit]

In 2005, the company introduced the silicon escapement wheel to the industry.[21]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Cf. Patek Philippe website official history timeline
  2. ^ "Profile: Patek Philippe", Hoover's database
  3. ^ a b Berman, Stacy (June 16, 2014). "Patek Philippe Crafts Its Future". Fortune: 37–44. 
  4. ^ Michael Korda (1 January 2004), Marking Time: Collecting Watches and Thinking about Time, Barnes & Noble Publishing, pp. 71–, ISBN 978-0-7607-3576-3 
  5. ^ History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, 2015 
  6. ^ Clerizo, Michael, "Watch Auctions: Time Honored: With their mystique, brands like Patek Philippe can command hundreds of thousands of dollars at watch auctions", The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2010
  7. ^ Frank, Robert, "All That Glitters May Not Be Gold", The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2007
  8. ^ Patek Philippe Museum website
  9. ^ a b KPMG, "Standing the Test of Time", pp.16-18, in Consumer Currents, Issue 5, 2008, KPMG International
  10. ^ GMT - Great Magazine of Timepieces, No. 31 - Spring 2013, Interview with Thierry Stern, P.80-82
  11. ^ "Robb Report". 
  12. ^ Rohleder, Anna (November 28, 2001). "The Most Expensive Watch". Retrieved November 3, 2007. . WebCitation archive.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Watch sets record price at Hong Kong auction", Reuters (UK), Thursday, April 10, 2008
  15. ^ "RESULTS: Important Watches including a Connoisseur's Vision Part II", Christie's, press release, 10 May 2010
  16. ^ "Patek Philippe reference 2499 sells online for a record USD 621k", The Watchlounge, auction report, 10 June 2013
  17. ^ a b c Timepieces for Royalty – 1850-1910 by Patek Philippe, Geneva : Patek Philippe Museum, 2005.
  18. ^ Timepieces Owned by Kings and Queens
  19. ^ The 9 Most Important Watches in the World John Biggs, Popular Mechanics
  20. ^ "The Patek Philippe Caliber 89". Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  21. ^ "The, Patek Philippe 2005 technical innovations". Retrieved January 23, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]