14.04.2020 - Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe History

The brand Patek Philippe was born from the co-founder Antoni Patek’s love of pocket watches. Now one of the most illustrious and widely respected prestigious watch manufacturers in the world, we take a look back at Patek Philippe’s history of humble beginnings to the success of the brand in modern day. Discover Patek Philippe’s history.

How it all started

Antoni Patek was born in 1812 during hard times, fighting in the Polish-Russian war as a young man. After the Polish uprising ended Patek and his family migrated to Western Europe and eventually found himself forced into resettlement in Switzerland.

And it’s a good job he did – as Geneva was where his love of watchmaking began. As a refugee he sought companionship with other immigrants which is how he met fellow watchmaker, François Czapek. Together with a third friend, Thomas Moreau. In 1839 they started their own company making pocket watches, called Patek, Czapek & Cie – Fabricants à Genève. Although the trio made several successful watches, it wasn’t smooth sailing and the three friends went their separate ways in 1845.

Patek Philippe Was Born

After several arguments the threesome parted ways and Patek met Jean Philippe at an exhibition in Paris. There Jean Adrien Philippe received a bronze medal for his keyless winding and hand-setting system at the Industrial Exposition in Paris.

Patek was fascinated and the pair quickly started up a company together – Patek Philippe – and in 1851 they produced their first pocket watch together using Philippe’s invention.

Then In 1868, Patek Philippe created the first Swiss wristwatch, made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.

The Founders Successors

In 1877, Antoni Patek passed away at the age of 65 and in 1891, 76-year-old Adrien Philippe handed over his position in the business to his youngest son Joseph Emile Philippe, together with Francois Antoine Conty. Adrien Philippe then passed away in 1894.

But even without its legendary founders, the brand continued to become one of the best in the watchmaking industry.

In 1932, the brand left the family. The Stern brothers, who owned a dial manufacture in Geneva, purchased Patek Philippe.

Patek Philippe History Of Models

Under the Stern Family The Patek Philippe brand established itself as a leading innovator in luxury and technologically advanced watch making. In 1889 Patek Philippe patented the first perpetual calendar mechanism for pocket watches and in 1902 they patented the first double chronograph. Patek Philippe also produced the first complicated ladies wrist watch with a 5 minute repeater, No. 174 603.

During the Stern family’s leadership, the brand has created some of its most iconic models. In 1932, they debuted the first Calatrava. In 1968, they introduced the Golden Ellipse collection. Then, in 1976, Patek Philippe launched the first Nautilus model.

In 1989 Patek developed a very special timepiece to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand. The Calibre 89 had 33 complications, making it one of the most complex timepieces in the world.

Patek Philippe History: 20th Century To Now

In 1996, Patek Philippe began to focus on the message that their luxury timepieces are an investment. They used the slogan “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” Fans and admirers of the brand really resonated with this family orientated message, especially as it suggests that the value would somewhat increase. This rings true, as in 2017 a Patek Philippe watch sold for $31 million, making it the most expensive wristwatch ever auctioned.

Not only has Patek Philippe continued to be a profitable and thriving business with a turnover of 1 billion but throughout the 21st century, they have launched many other successful models under Philippe Stern’s hand, including the Gondolo, Aquanaut and Twenty-4 models.

And more recently in 2014, Patek celebrated its 175th anniversary and there was a very impressive timepiece created to celebrate it. It was the Grandmaster Chime featuring 20 complications, five acoustic functions and a date repeater. The Only Watch charity auction sold it for £24.2 million. Patek Philippe, to this day remains one of the greatest watch manufacturers of all time, with turnover at over $1 billion.

Now that you have a better understanding of Patek Philippe’s history and how valuable their timepieces are, why not consider selling your Patek Philippe watch?  Get a quote today.