Patek Philippe & Co.
|Founded||1839 (Patek, Czapek & Cie.)
1851 (Patek Philippe & Cie.)
|Headquarters||Plan-les-Ouates, GE, Switzerland|
|Revenue||1.3 billion CHF (2016)|
Number of employees
Patek Philippe & Co. 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 manufacturers. Past owners of Patek Philippe watches include Pope Pius IX, Queen Victoria, Victor Emanuel III of Italy, Christian IX of Denmark, and Albert Einstein.
Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek started making pocket watches in 1839 in Geneva, along with his fellow Czech 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 popularized the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches.
In 1935, the manufacturer was brought to American markets by New York-based Henri Stern Watch Agency, where it was sold as a sister brand alongside Universal Genève. Alan Banbery, who previously designed Universal's "Compax" movements and worked as a horologist for London's Garrard & Co, would take on the position of director of sales in 1965 and later authored official reference books on vintage Patek Philippe pocketwatches and chronographs.
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".
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 currently does. The company even produced a prototype for a mechanical digital wristwatch, Ref. 3414 in 1954. Patek were notable for being one of 20 Swiss watch companies to develop the first Swiss production watch the beta 21 used by other manufacturers in watches such as the Omega Electroquartz watches.
Patek Philippe is notable for manufacturing its own watch components. It was also the first Brand that used the Chronifer® M-15 X steel, a new material specially designed for the watch making industry by L. Klein SA.
Patek Philippe timepieces have recorded high prices in auctions worldwide. A small part of the demand for auction pieces is driven by Patek Philippe themselves, as they are purchasing in the auction market to add to the collection of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication was made in 1933 for the prominent banker Henry Graves, Jr.. The ultra-complicated pocketwatch (having 24 functions) was the result of Graves' friendly horological competition with James Ward Packard. After Graves' death, the watch was auctioned at Sotheby's in December 1999 for US$11 million to Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani of the Qatari royal family, at that time the most expensive timepiece ever sold. Most recently, the watch sold at Sotheby's Geneva Auction on November 11, 2014 for a record breaking US$24 million.
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 (US$1.4 million). The record was held along Vacheron Constantin Tour de l'Ile wristwatch, which sold at Antiquorum for US$1.4 million in Geneva in 2005.
On May 10, 2010, a Patek Philippe wristwatch became the most expensive to be sold at auction when purchased by a Swiss museum, through Christie's in Geneva, for 6.26 million Swiss francs (US$5.5 million). The chronograph wristwatch, made of 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 (US$611,000). The chronograph wristwatch, from yellow gold, has a perpetual calendar and moonphase display, and was produced in 1953 in the Geneva manufacture of Patek Philippe.
On November 12, 2016 the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in steel took the title as the most expensive wrist watch ever sold at auction. Sold through Phillips Geneva auction house, the piece finally sold for 9,600,000 CHF (11,002,000 CHF including sellers fees). This was the first time this watch, which is one of only four ever made in a steel case, went for auction. This piece was the first of the four made and features a chronograph and perpetual calendar.
Watches owned by royalty
In 1851, Patek Philippe started supplying its watches to Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert. Queen Victoria acquired a key-wound Patek Philippe watch created in a pendant style in November 1851 during the Great Exhibition of London. 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.
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).
In 1989, Patek created one of the most complicated mechanical watches ever made, 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. 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.
Patek Philippe's Geneva museum includes watches from as early as the 16th century, 300 years before Patek Philippe began watchmaking, and is an important scholarly resource with its library of over 7000 books and documents.
- White Paper On Fine Watchmaking, 26 April 2017
- Vicki M. Young (26 April 2017), FHH Seeks to Define Fine Watchmaking in White Paper
- Carol Besler (27 April 2017), White Paper On Fine Watchmaking Identifies 64 Brands That Measure Up ... For Now
- Corinne Gretler (26 April 2017), Sorry Longines and Tudor: Group Says Your Watches Aren’t ‘Fine’
- Cf. Patek Philippe website official history timeline
- Berman, Stacy (June 16, 2014). "Patek Philippe Crafts Its Future". Fortune: 37–44.
- Michael Korda (1 January 2004), Marking Time: Collecting Watches and Thinking about Time, Barnes & Noble Publishing, pp. 71–, ISBN 978-0-7607-3576-3
- Perman, Stacy (2013). A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World's Most Legendary Watch. Simon & Schuster. p. 220. ISBN 1439190089.
- History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, 2015
- 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
- Frank, Robert, "All That Glitters May Not Be Gold", The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2007
- Patek Philippe SA. "PATEK PHILIPPE SA - Welcome to Our Official Website". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- KPMG, "Standing the Test of Time", pp.16-18, in Consumer Currents, Issue 5, 2008, KPMG International
- GMT - Great Magazine of Timepieces, No. 31 - Spring 2013, Interview with Thierry Stern, P.80-82
- "Thierry Stern - Prestige Magazine". Prestige Magazine. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
- "Robb Report".
- Rohleder, Anna (November 28, 2001). "The Most Expensive Watch". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2007.. WebCitation archive.
- Ariel Adams (12 November 2014). "$24,000,000 Patek Philippe Supercomplication Pocket Watch Beats Its Own Record At Auction". Forbes. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Watch sets record price at Hong Kong auction", Reuters (UK), Thursday, April 10, 2008
- "RESULTS: Important Watches including a Connoisseur's Vision Part II", Christie's, press release, 10 May 2010
- "Patek Philippe reference 2499 sells online for a record USD 621k", The Watchlounge, auction report, 10 June 2013
- "Most Expensive Wrist Watch Ever Sold? Patek Philippe Ref. 1518", Twentytwoten.com, News, 12 Nov 2016
- Timepieces for Royalty – 1850-1910 by Patek Philippe, Geneva : Patek Philippe Museum, 2005.
- "Timepieces Owned by Kings and Queens". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- The 9 Most Important Watches in the World John Biggs, Popular Mechanics
- "The Patek Philippe Caliber 89". Retrieved November 3, 2007.
- "The Purists.net, Patek Philippe 2005 technical innovations". Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Library of reference books on Patek Philippe watches and company - Patek Philippe website
- Kepa, Marek, "Watches for Royalty", Culture.pl, July 27, 2015
- Liu, Ming, "At Patek Philippe, 'the D.N.A. Comes In'", The New York Times, March 17, 2016
- Thompson, Joe, "Family Values: Patek Philippe’s Thierry and Philippe Stern", WatchTime Magazine, August 8, 2012
- Walston, Oliver. "David and Goliath", Lusso magazine, August 8, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patek Philippe & Co..|
- Patek Philippe official site