Located in the Swiss City of Geneva, Patek Philippe design and manufacture some of the most complicated and most prestigious watches in the World. Along with a reputation for precision and prestige, the company comes with a fascinating history of innovation and style.
In 1839, two migrant Polish watch makers started making pocket watches. They were Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek. In 1844, the two parted company and a year later Antoni Patek started working alongside a French watchmaker called Adrienne Philippe, who had pioneered the keyless winding mechanism. In 1851, the two men founded Patek Philippe & Co.
In the years that followed, Patek Philipe pioneered some of the biggest developments in watch technology, including the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, minute repeater and – arguably the most notable – the chronograph.
In 1935, Patek Philippe was introduced to the American market, in the hands of the Henri Stern Watch Agency, where it was sold alongside another Swiss luxury watch company - Universal Geneve. In 1965, Alan Banberry – previously of Garrard & Co in London became director of sales.
1976 was a big moment for Patek Philippe, as the year the company first released their now World-famous Nautilus collection. Purposed as the brand’s first luxury sports watches, the models ushered in a new way of thinking for the bespoke watchmakers. The company still focused above all on tradition and quality, but also refreshed their image and offering with this new generation of timepiece.
Patek Phillipe’s widest range of watches are mechanical – either manual wind or automatic – but they also specialise in quartz watches to this day. The company is notable as one of few luxury watchmakers still manufacturing its own components. This is a part of the reason that Patek Philippe watches have historically demanded very high prices at auctions, seen as some of the World’s very most exclusive high-end watches. The most of expensive of these, the Henry Graves Supercomplication, was in fact the World’s most valuable, sold for a remarkable 24 million US dollars.
The list of high-profile people who have worn Patek Philippe watches is astounding. Everyone from royals like Queen Victoria and Victoria Emanuel III of Italy, to Vatican City’s Pope Pius IX have been known to wear the brand’s timepieces, further cementing its status amongst the World’s premier watchmakers.
Patek Philippe has a unique reputation amongst watchmakers and is considered by many to be the best manufacturer of high-end watches in the world. The beauty and complexity of the company’s models, as well as its unique history make models mad by it incredibly sought after. If you’re on the hunt for a truly valuable prestige timepiece, Patek Phillipe’s unique range is an excellent place to start.