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Patek Philippe

Swiss luxury watches for generations
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Patek Philippe
11 April 2024

Unique masterpieces of Swiss watchmaking art

Swiss luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe, based in Geneva, was founded in 1839 by Polish watchmaker and entrepreneur Antoni Patek and his French colleague Adrien Philippe. Since 1932, the watchmaker has been owned by the Stern family of entrepreneurs and is considered the last independent family-owned Geneva watchmaker. In addition, Patek Philippe is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world. In addition to unique timepieces – including, of course, professional pilot watches – the company also manufactures outstanding movements – true mechanical masterpieces.

The high-quality watches from Patek Philippe quickly established themselves on the market and gave the watchmaker an excellent reputation far beyond the borders of Switzerland. Especially in the world of the nobility and the rich and beautiful, the exclusive timepieces are in great demand. Even Queen Victoria of Great Britain adorns herself with diamond-studded pendant watches from the house of Patek Philippe. By the way, already since 1887 the timepieces of the Geneva watch manufacturer bear the cross of the Spanish Order of the Knights of Calatrava as the company logo.

We have faith that each of the hundreds of parts in our watches will function well into the future.

Patek Philippe

Restructuring of the watchmaking industry

At the beginning of the last century, Patek Philippe is transformed into a joint-stock company, but remains family-owned – even when the watchmaking company, badly affected by the Great Depression, is sold in 1932 and acquired by the Stern family of Swiss entrepreneurs. Patek Philippe is repositioned and in the following decades develops into one of the most successful luxury watch manufacturers in the world.

Complex models and unique functions

At regular intervals, more and more complex models with ever new functions excite the experts and the general public. For example, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1989, the Swiss watchmaker presented the most complicated timepiece of all time, with a total of 33 complications and over 1,700 individual components – development and construction took around nine years.

Patek Philippe under the leadership of the Stern family

To this day, Patek Philippe has enjoyed steady growth under the leadership of the Stern family – now in its fourth generation. The exclusive timepieces from Geneva continue to be very popular with affluent customers. Older models regularly fetch top prices at auctions and contribute their share to the brand’s worldwide reputation. The outstanding quality of the watchmaking masterpieces and the family-owned company’s commitment to innovation reflect the vision of its founders to this day. Alluding to the longevity of its watches, one of the company’s slogans reads: A Patek Philippe never belongs to you. You merely take care of it for the next generation. There’s some truth to that.

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