The Story of a Swiss Luxury Watch Company | Patek Philippe | From 1839 Until Today…
Posted on April 02 2021
Founded: 1839 as Patek, Czapek & Cie. & in 1851 as Patek Philippe & Cie.
Founding place: Geneva, Switzerland
Founded by: Antoni Patek & Adrien Philippe
Current headquarters: Plan-les-Ouates, Switzerland
Owned by: Privately heldOfficial name: Patek Philippe SA
Twain Time's Spotlight undeviatingly shines on Patek Philippe, taking you on an exciting journey through the tale of this famous Swiss luxury watchmaker. Discover the story now, as only this historical piece could tell it!
Humans commenced dabbling into compact & portable mechanical watches approximately 500 years ago. With Patek Philippe having just commemorated its 175th anniversary almost six years ago, doing some computation shows that the renowned Genevan timepiece manufacturer has already co-written a third of its very fascinating history.
The organization commenced its legacy in the 19th century. It was founded by Antoine Norbert de Patek & Adrien Philippe & has a tradition of innovation crowned by over one hundred patents. While many other brands claim to be older but most of them have abandoned their activities with time. Some were re-established by entirely foreign people at a much later date.
Conversely, Patek Philippe has endeavoured without any sort of interruption since its inception on 1 May 1839 & has always been privately owned. Today, it is universally known as Haute horlogerie's most prestigious name & a leading manufacturer of fine mechanical timepieces.
In almost two centuries of production, they’ve pioneered numerous pieces of remarkable technology. These innovations have contributed to modern watchmaking advancement & resulted in some of the finest timepieces ever made.
This is the story of manufacture born from a Polish immigrant's fascinations, the tale of manufacture that has endured trials & tribulations &, despite all that, stayed true to its ethos.
This is the story of Patek Philippe.
BEGINNING OF THE LEGACY: THE PATEK PHILIPPE UNION
The Patek Philippe history began in 1839 when Antoine Patek & his partner François Czapek started producing custom pocket wristwatches. Their clientele focused on royalty & other elite members of society. The partnership lasted six years, with them creating several exceptional timepieces. Once their partnership was dissolved in 1845, they went their separate ways, producing timepieces.
Meanwhile, Jean Adrien Philippe was becoming recognized as a driving force when it came to his inventions. He won a bronze medal for his incredible efforts in offering keyless winding & hand-setting systems at the Industrial Exposition in Paris. It was here in this show Antoine Norbert de Patek met Jean Adrien Philippe. Philippe applied for a patent of this design & garnered the attention of many, including Queen Victoria.
Within almost a year, Patek & Philippe went into business together, creating the brand we today recognize as Patek Philippe. Later in the year 1845, the fabulous duo produced their very first pocket timepiece using Philippe's keyless winding & hand-setting system.
GROWTH OF THE BRAND
For the next few years, they proceeded with Patek's business model, serving high-class clients. However, Patek knew that the label needed to think bigger & improve its international reputation. So, in the year 1851, he went to the United States & began working with Tiffany & Co.
This combo has endured to this day. The brand's ambitions to build its international presence quickly paid off. In the year 1853, the brand took part in an Exhibition of All Nations' Industry in NYC & won a silver medal. The label received another silver medal at the World's Fair in New York City just two years later.
The company was beginning to pick up speed & Patek needed to keep up its momentum. He proceeded to focus his energy on his successful partnership with Tiffany & Co. He also traveled to cities all around the US until he collected orders for 150 watches.
His perseverance & persistence made a lasting impression on the American market & Tiffany & Co. Ever since, Patek Philippe has had this highly appreciated reputation.
STERN FAMILY & IT’S ERA
The organization was held within the Stern family & in the year 1958, Henri Stern became the president of the brand & his son, Philippe Stern, became the president in 1993. Patek’s first annual calendar was introduced in 1996 & has been ever-present since various guises & styles.
The Patek Philippe 5396 uses dial apertures & a sub-dial to express the date function. Philippe Stern’s enthusiasm for watches ended in The Patek Philippe Museum opening in 2001, which is considered one of the world’s top horology museums.
The “Temple To Watchmaking,” as it's associated, houses over 5 centuries of watchmaking records & offers an antique selection that comprises timepieces from the 16th century to the Patek Philippe collection 1839 onwards. The museum also possesses a library with over 8k publications on time & time measurement.
20TH CENTURY TO NOW
Throughout the 21st century, there have been several new launches under Philippe Stern's hand, including the 10-Day Tourbillon, Ref. 5101P & the Annual Calendar Ref. 5250.
Philippe had not only a passion for the history of horology but also for the advancement of timepieces. He handed this passion down to his son, Thierry, who became Patek Philippe's president in 2009. In 2011, the label saw the Oscillomax ensemble launch, including the Spiromax balance spring, GyromaxSi balance & the Pulsomax escapement.
Something that has been constantly pushed forward in terms of composition under Thierry Stern's presidency are some of the styles of Patek Philippe ladies' timepieces. In 2009, we saw the CH 29-535 PS movement launch integrated into the Ladies First Chronograph & in 2011, we saw the Ladies First Minute Repeater (Ref. 7000R).
Patek Philippe has always had complicated watches for ladies in their collection & 2018 saw two new models, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, a second time model & a new Twenty-4, a firm yet feminine 36mm automatic timepiece for females, continuing this trend.