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Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe, The birth of an illustrious brand name

In 1839, Antoine Norbert de Patek, a former Polish cavalryman, established a watch factory with his compatriot, François Czapek, a watchmaker. They registered a partnership, Patek, Czapek & Cie, which was limited to six years. This company was subsequently liquidated and Patek went on to seek the services of another watchmaker.

In 1844, whilst visiting Paris, Patek learned of another watchmaker named Jean Adrien Philippe. Philippe was the inventor of a pocket watch, able to be wound without a winding key. Patek invited Philippe to join him in Geneva and the following year, the company Patek & Cie was founded.

Initially, Philippe was engaged as technical director of the company, but went on to become a partner in 1851. Jean Adrien Philippe voiced his frustration that the nomenclature of the company failed to recognise his surname. As a result, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie. The name remained unchanged until 2009 when the comma was deemed superfluous and the company simply became known as Patek Philippe.

Since 1932, Patek Philippe has been in the hands of the Stern family. Today, Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, leads the prestigious maison. It now employs 2000 people worldwide, making 53,000 watches per annum (the company’s own figures, released in 2014).

 

The birth of watchmaking in Geneva

The Huguenots, French protestants, subject to state sanctioned persecution, fled to Geneva, establishing a centre of excellence for Swiss watchmaking and goldsmithery. Calvinism led to rules preventing the manufacturing of “crosses, chalices or other instruments of popish idolatry”, which resulted in many skills, we often term as mètiers d’art, transferring to watchmaking. Indeed, enamel dials, engraved motifs and gem-set watch cases can all be traced back to the arrival of the Huguenots.

 

The darling of the auction scene

Historically, rare Patek Philippe timepieces have attracted colossal values in some of the world’s most prestigious auction sale rooms. The Genevan brand has always proved very appealing to the cognoscenti, with the no compromise construction of its watches much in evidence. Moreover, the limited number of certain pieces, some being unique commissions, has also driven prices upwards.

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, two wealthy Americans, Henry Graves and James Ward Packard, competed to own the most complicated watch in the world. Both of these men commissioned ever-more complex timepieces from Patek Philippe, as well as other prestigious maisons. The Patek Philippe timepieces have since become much sought after by the watch collecting community and auction values have reflected this. Indeed, in 1999, a pocket watch made for Graves in 1933, nicknamed the “Supercomplication”, with 24 complications, was sold by Sotheby’s in New York for CHF 17 million (circa. £11M), a record which stands to this day.

However, not all watches bearing the name Patek Philippe command such feverish attention. In some cases, some used Calatrava and Gondolo models can offer savings over new and may provide an accessible means of entry to the elevated world of Patek ownership, where perfection is readily discernible within moments of proffering a watch to the wrist.

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Currently in stock

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  • 18ct White Gold Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph Ref: 5930G-001

    Patek Philippe

    World Time 5930G-001

    January 2017 £54,950.00
  • 18ct yellow gold Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref: 3433J Circa 1960

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 3433J

    Circa 1960 £9,950.00
  • Calatrava 3425

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 3425

    Circa 1966 £10,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001

    Patek Philippe

    Aquanaut 5167A-001

    November 2016 £17,750.00
  • Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711/1A-010

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilus 5711/1A-010

    Pre-owned UNUSED £32,500.00
  • 18ct yellow gold Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref: 3802/200

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 3802/200

    1989 £9,450.00
  • Platinum Patek Philippe Chronograph Perpetual Calendar 3970EP

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar Platinum

    £99,500.00
  • 18ct Gold Patek Philippe Calatrava Travel Time 5034J--001

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 5034J-001

    May 2004 £10,950.00
  • 18ct white gold Patek Philippe World Time Moon Ref: 5575G-001

    Patek Philippe

    World Time Moon 5575G-001

    May 2015 £73,500.00
  • Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref: 5146P-001

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar 5146P

    September 2010 £32,500.00
  • 18ct Yellow Gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5327J-001

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar 5327J

    May 2017 £49,500.00
  • Platinum Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5059P-001

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar 5059P

    August 2006 £39,950.00
  • 18ct Yellow Gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3940J

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar 3940J

    Circa 1989 £29,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Complication 5180/1R-001

    Patek Philippe

    Complication 5180/1R-001

    £74,000.00
  • Patek Philippe Grand Complication 5271/12P-001

    Patek Philippe

    Grand Complication 5271/12P-001

    May 2016 £245,000.00
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Previously in stock

  • Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711/1A-010

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilius 5711/1A-010

    January 2013 £27,500.00
  • Platinum Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5056-001

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar 5056P

    May 2002 £24,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711/1A-001

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilus 5711/1R-001

    March 2017 £38,450.00
  • Patek Philippe World Time 513R-011

    Patek Philippe

    World Time 513R-011

    £89,000.00
  • v

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilus 5712/G-001

    2016 £29,950.00
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