With amazing Patek Philippe complications and supercomplications that defy the humanly possible, it’s that the Grand Cru of the watchmaking terroir and one of the most sought after brands on the collector circuit.Now in its 176th year and in the hands of some fourth generation Stern family member, Patek likes to showcase the fact it is the last family-owned independent Genevan watchmaker, free from the constraints of shareholders and consequently able to pursue the path it deems fit. Being the best is demanding job, but Patek Philippe watches never don’t surprise. Following the sale of theGraves Supercomplication, abandoned, last November at Sotheby’s Geneva for $24 million, it became the very expensive pocket view on Earth. Known as the Mona Lisa of horology, this was the second time in the rodeo for this particular pocket watch, that had surfaced in 1999 and sold for $11 million, setting a world record then. But if you’re Patek Philippe, you don’t rest on your laurels, and 24 complications are the invitation to produce more.In the mid-1980s, the Maison chose to outshine the Graves Supercomplication having an even more complicated timepiece called Calibre 89, high of post. Even a horological behemoth with 33 complications, 24 hands and 1,728 components, Calibre 89 currently occupies the podium as the planet’s most complicated pocket watch and has been constructed to celebrate the watchmaker’s 150th anniversary. To indicate its 175th anniversary last year, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, has been unveiled, currently the world’s most complicated wristwatch with 20 complications.
Not just royals, however intellectuals, authors, scientists and musicians came to the firm for their watches, such as Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Einstein and even Marie Curie.We have the trend-setting Countess Koscewicz of Hungary to thank. In 1868, she had been the first girl to withstand the convention of sporting a timepiece as a pendant, and fastened her wrist after purchasing Patek Philippe’s first wristwatch – an elaborate rectangular case home a baguette motion and introduced to a yellow gold bracelet. Only 10 years later, the fashion had reached England as women on foxhunts strapped their Patek Philippe watches for their wrists on leather bracelets to have the ability to consult the time without having to let go of the reins.Business was flourishing, prizes were being granted for their superlative precision, patents were being filed for more innovative solutions to watchmaking and, in 1851, Patek Philippe decided to relocate into the handsome building on Rue du Rhône overlooking Lake Geneva, which remains in use now as the Maison’s boutique. On the other hand, the Crimean War was taking its toll in France, Great Britain, Turkey and Russia, therefore it was time for the company to look for new markets further afield. America was the first port of call, and Patek was pleased with the scale of Charles Lewis Tiffany’s boutique. In 1851, the two companies established a partnership maintained to this day where Tiffany pledged to “attend to the attention of Patek Philippe in America as though it were his very own.”
The Patek Philippe Art of Watches Grand Exhibition is open to the public today, and yesterday we had an Chance to walk through it with none other than Thierry Stern, the CEO of Patek Philippe.
If you are wondering what the series is like, we could definitely state — as the saying goes that it’s “just what it says on the tin” This really is a Grand Exhibition, using an incredible diversity of watches and clocks spanning countless production.Of course there’s an amazingly complete selection of contemporary and contemporary Patek Philippe watches ranging from the simple to the complex, and this Patek has been in a position to strive for comprehensiveness with great success — you can see a phenomenal assortment of Patek Philippe’s more modern production watches. There are also two rooms dedicated to high complications, including repeaters, astronomical issues, and Patek’s signature perpetual calendar chronograph watches, using another room devoted to high negative movements (that has a virtual reality installation that you really have to attempt; it is good clean horological entertaining).The exhibition is of course quite logistically intricate and though it is in theory a regular traveling series, it’s been two years since it last went live (the last time was in London). Going to the exhibition, it is possible to understand why — it’s located within the cavernous principal area of Cipriani 42nd Street, also Patek has assembled two story, building-inside-a-building to house the entire show. A significant characteristic of the New York version of the show is the addition of an area home Pateks which were owned and worn with important American figures in the industry, politics, and the arts and also here it is possible to observe watches possessed by such greats like Joe DiMaggio and Duke Ellington, along with also a clock talented to John F. Kennedy during the Cold War.Patek hasn’t just brought Patek Philippe watches into New York, either.
However, the dedication to quality does not only apply to the watches themselves. Patek Philippe sets the highest standards on employee training — from the watchmaker to the salesperson, including customer service that extends from sales to service.Patek Philippe started in 1839 and has been led for over 80 years from the Stern family, with all the possession currently in its fourth generation. This provides a high degree of consistency in the company’s philosophy and philosophy. It also excludes the possibility of radical shifts in leadership imposed by a changing direction, so the path of success will most certainly continue. This guarantees sustainability, which can be closely aligned with the subsequent point.Anyone who buys a Patek Philippe knows that he likely will not lose any money if he chooses to sell it at a later date. And it is completely possible that the value of this watch increases over time, even though there is no method to predict this in individual instances. Nonetheless, it is a reassuring reality, even when many individuals purchase a wristwatch simply for their own enjoyment and do not have immediate plans to resell.Patek Philippe watches are considered to be the world’s best: complete stop. Of course, there are several other impeccable Swiss watch manufacturers with distinguished pedigrees and watches that are tasteful, however Patek Philippe has lodged itself in the conscience of watch fans as the best manufacturer of them all.
After the split with Czapek, Patek was keen to find a new watchmaker for his company and Philippe fit the bill perfectly. A meticulous watchmaker, his thoughts were revolutionary and Patek encouraged him to Geneva in 1845. Even though a keyless watch may not seem like a wildly revolutionary breakthrough, we have to keep in mind that, until then, pocket watches had to be wound and set with another key. The keyholes in the instance let in water and dirt, and keys were easy to lose. Philippe’s invention of the modern winding and setting stem and crown – pull set, push to wind – altered the character of watches, allowing cases to be sealed and, with time, made water-resistant. It is a common misconception that watchmakers from the 19th century were primarily interested in making pocket watches for gentlemen. In the case of Patek Philippe, women played a pivotal role in the corporation’s rise to fame particularly female members of royal families or very well-to-do women – and also the first three listed Patek Philippe ladies’ watches marketed in 1839 were to Madame Goscinska. This was swiftly followed by Princess Zubów of Russia, who purchased a moment repeater detailing her family coat of arms, and even Queen Victoria purchased Prince Albert a quarter-repeating chronometer using the keyless winding system. This high profile roster of queens, kings and even Popes guaranteed Patek Philippe’s name spread like wildfire among the courts of Europe, and as far abroad as Siam, enticing King Rama V to visit Geneva and take home 56 timepieces.
Past the stratospheric value of this pocket watch, the Supercomplication tells us a fantastic deal concerning the prevailing spirit at Patek Philippe. Challenges are the motor behind the Maison, and resting on your laurels isn’t feasible. Back in 1989, Patek chose to go one step – create that nine steps – farther compared to Graves Supercomplication and made Calibre 89 to coincide with its 150th anniversary. Currently the world’s most complicated heavyweight champion, Calibre 89 has 33 complications – among the sexier ones being able to display the forthcoming year’s Easter date collection by complex astronomical calculations until 2017. On the subject of significant historical dates, the firm switched 175 final year and put on a horological feast couple watch fanatics could possibly forget. In pride of place was that the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, Patek’s most complicated wristwatch (remember Calibre 89 is a pocket watch) with 20 complications – a grande sonnerie and date repeater at a double-faced, ornately relief-engraved gold case of epic proportions. The World Time Moon watch and the Multi-Scale Chronograph were decked out to the celebration in the two men’s and women’s watches, and in limited editions to mark the grandiose 175th anniversary.Complications of every possible flavour for people have marked Patek Philippe’s 176 decades old history.
Patek’s singular programme really has its origins in research into silicon which took place at Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique, and which was supported by Rolex and also the Swatch Group, in addition to Patek Philippe. But, Patek took over its laboratory, integrating it in the family and using it to further its utilization of silicon components.In 2005, it launched its first component — an escape wheel — at Silinvar (the brand’s proprietary silicon dioxide formula), which it placed in its Annual Calendar Ref. 5250. A year later, the Spiromax balance spring was unveiled in another yearly Calendar, the 5350. Then 2008 watched the Pulsomax (lever and escape wheel) from the Ref. 5450 Annual Calendar converted into silicon, also in 2011, it brought out its Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5550 with a silicon balance wheel, the GyromaxSi. It had been Patek’s first watch with the whole match of regulating organs — escape wheel, wheel, equilibrium spring and balance wheel — created completely from silicon; something the brand known as the Oscillomax.After this flurry of action, the next six years passed nothing coming from the Patek Philippe Advanced Research arm anyhow silence. Until this season, when the newest addition to the Aquanaut family was unveiled. The very first thing you can’t help but notice is that the cutaway at nine o’clock. Dedicated Patek followers will understand what a jump this is for your brand; it doesn’t even exhibit tourbillons, choosing instead to observe tradition and keep it concealed.
The top lot at Only Watch 2017 was, predictably, the Patek Philippe ref. 5208T grand complication in titanium. Carrying an estimate of a piffling SFr900,000 to SFr1m, it sold for SFr6.2m, all fees included. That’s equivalent to US$6.2m, and just below the SFr7.3m price of the one-off stainless steel ref. 5016A the Geneva watchmaker put together for Only Watch two years ago.
Spirited bidding from several familiar room bidders from the Middle East, Europe and Asia helped carry the ref. 5208T to its final price, with the last two bidders tussling for the watch being Asian. Eventually the victor was the phone bidder represented by John Reardon, the head of Christie’s watch department.
Already priced at just shy of a million dollars at retail for the ordinary platinum version, the ref. 5208 in titanium is unusually modern in style with its carbon-fibre inspired dial, but light in hand and pleasing to the ear; the titanium case makes a tremendous difference to its acoustics.
With the beat-up Daytona “Paul Newman” once owned by Mr Newman himself having just sold for US$17.5m last month, the titanium Patek Philippe feels almost like a good buy.