The luxury Swiss Patek Philippe brand is notable for a variety of reasons. While you may likely just know the watchmaker for its stylish and technically savvy timepieces that are available at your favorite jewelry boutique, there’s a lot of history that goes into every single modern Patek Philippe timepiece that you see today. Here’s just a snippet of the extensive Patek Philippe story.
A Reputation Built on Innovation
Patek Philippe got its start not as Patek Philippe, but as Patek, Czapek & Cie, when Antoni Patek joined up with some friends to create this first company in Geneva, in the 1830s. Their specialty at the time? Pocket watches. Then, Patek went his own way and found another partner — Jean Adrien Philippe. Together, the two formed the new Patek, Philippe & Cie.
It didn’t take look for the new company to catch the eyes of the world’s tastemakers. Even royalty preferred Patek’s watches. However, the “Patek” part of Patek Philippe didn’t last as long as the brand’s fame. Once Antoni Patek passed, the Philippe family took over entirely, until, around 1900, when the still-family business became a joint-stock company before being sold to the Stern family in the 1930s. Today, the Stern family still oversees Patek Philippe, successfully bringing the brand into the 21st century with an array of brand-new offerings and technical marvels.
Just a few of these technical marvels include the patenting of a keyless winding and hand-setting system, the first Swiss wristwatch, the patenting of the double chronograph, the first lady’s wristwatch with complication and the first perpetual calendar wristwatch. There was also, in 1956, the first, all-electronic clock; in 1959, the filing of the patents for the first time zone watches; and, in the 1960s, the claiming of records at the Geneva Observatory for the most precise mechanical watches in the world. Patek Philippe also created the most complicated watch in history, the Patek Philippe Calibre 89, with its 33 complications and 1,729 components.
In more recent history, in the early 2000s, the brand even created its own advanced research department, to research and develop the latest and greatest in horological technology. Since then, the department has come up with many unique new products, such as a silicon escape wheel that doesn’t need lubrication and that is resistant to corrosion.
Of course, such high-level innovations come with a price tag. You’ll find that Patek Philippe timepieces have sold for incredible amounts. In 2021, for example, a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 with a Tiffany blue dial was sold online for $6.5 million, setting records for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold over the internet. The brand also set a record for most expensive watch ever sold at any auction in 2019, with a $31 million Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010.
Add a Patek Philippe to Your Collection?
If you’d like to add a Patek Philippe timepiece to your collection, there are many ways to do so. Many jewelry boutiques carry the brand around the world, but you can also visit the Patek Philippe salon in Geneva or the Patek Philippe museum, also in Geneva, for both shopping experiences and learning a little bit more about this iconic brand.
However, the easiest way to add a new timepiece to your collection is to visit the horological experts at Yamron Jewelers. At our location in Naples, we can introduce you to a range of historic, notable brands, beyond even those you already know and love. Take a look at the Patek Philippe watches available from Yamron, and see which happen to catch your fancy. Then, reach out and let’s talk further. You can give us a call at (1) 239-592-7707, or send us an email, at [email protected]
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