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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 Grand Complication 5159G

    Patek Philippe

    Grand Complication 5159G

    £49,500.00
  • 18ct white gold Patek Philippe Pilot Travel Time 5524G–001

    Patek Philippe

    Pilots Travel Time

    May 2016 £44,000.00
  • 18ct yellow gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5059J

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar 5059G

    £33,500.00
  • 18ct Rose Gold Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980R

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilius 5980R-001

    2011 £41,500.00
  • 18ct Gold Patek Philippe Calatrava Travel Time 5034J--001

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 5034J

    May 2004 £11,750.00
  • Bi-metal Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/001

    Patek Philippe

    Nautilus 3800/001

    August 2002 £14,950.00
  • 18ct White Gold Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Moonphase, Ref. 5396G-011

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar Moonphase 5396G-011

    October 2010 £29,950.00
  • 18ct gold Patel Philippe Ellipse

    Patek Philippe

    Ellipse

    £7,950.00
  • 18ct yellow gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5059J

    Patek Philippe

    Perpetual Calendar 5059J

    November 2006 £39,950.00
  • 18ct white gold Patek Philippe Calatrava 5115G

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 5115G

    £14,950.00
  • Patek Philippe 18ct White Gold Calatrava Cufflinks

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava Cufflinks

    £1,950.00
  • 18ct Rose Gold Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5205R-010

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar 5205R

    November 2013 £31,350.00
  • 18ct yellow gold Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119J

    Patek Philippe

    Calatrava 5119J

    December 2012 £11,950.00
  • 18ct White Gold Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5205G-010

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar

    March 2015 £29,950.00
  • 18ct White gold Patek Philippe Twenty-4. 4908/310G-011

    Patek Philippe

    Twenty4 4908/310G-011

    April 2004 £22,000.00
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Previously in stock

  • Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001

    Patek Philippe

    Aquanaut 5167A-001

    June 2012 £14,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5165A-001

    Patek Philippe

    Aquanaut 5165A

    March 2010 £12,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066A

    Patek Philippe

    Aquanaut 5066A

    £10,950.00
  • Patek Philippe Grand Complication 5270G

    Patek Philippe

    Grand Complication 5270G

    August 2012 £97,500.00
  • A1678

    Patek Philippe

    Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P

    March 2012 £45,500.00
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