Known as one of the most luxurious timepiece brands, Patek Philippe is the watch for successful people. If you ask some watch connoisseurs, they may even tell you that this iconic brand is the epitome of watchmaking. Most people buy wristwatches for their main purpose, to tell the time, but most collectors are looking for more than that. More than its prices, Patek Philippe is also known for its attention to detail and strives for perfection on every wristwatch that they release. Due to its limited supply, many people are willing to pay a hefty amount to get their hands on a Patek Philippe watch. With that, let’s explore some of the interesting facts about this brand and what makes people drawn to it.
- The early roots of the brand.
The brand goes back to 1844. Antoine Norbert de Patek was in search of a new watchmaker that he could turn into a business partner. That is when he met the inventor of a pocket watch that doesn’t need winding, Jean Adrien Philippe. The first name of the brand was Patek & Cie, but later on, Jean expressed his frustration that the company failed to recognize his last name. Thus, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie. Later on, the company is known as Patek Philippe.
- The timepiece for royalty and exclusive personalities.
In 1851, Patek received a task to deliver timepieces daily for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. One of the watches that she possessed was the world’s first perpetual calendar movement, which is now at the Patek Philippe museum. For the Great Exhibition in London, Queen Victoria got a powder blue pocket watch decorated with diamonds and has a floral motif. Aside from that, the Queen is also known for buying timepieces for her husband, King Christian IX. It is her gift for their 25th wedding anniversary. And when your brand is known to cater to royalty, word will spread out. Soon, the company catered to other royalties, such as Princess Louise of Denmark, Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, and more!
- The Holy Trinity of Horology.
Also known as the big three, experts have considered Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe to be the pinnacle of horology. What does that mean? In simpler terms, these brands are the most luxurious and expensive in the world! All three brands are known for their flawless designs, attention to detail, and excellent horology. In terms of value, most of the timepieces from these brands increase in retail over time. Due to its exclusivity, you would have to attend private auctions, be on the waitlist, or wait for some collectors to sell their pieces, to get a glimpse of these pieces.
- It takes months to create the most basic timepieces of the brand.
Ever wondered why there is so much detail to attention to each timepiece of Patek Philippe? It takes at least nine months to create, even the most basic line of the brand! And yes, most of the higher collections will take years for watchmakers and jewelers to assemble. This is what adds to the value of each Patek Philippe piece. The more complicated pieces take around two years to complete. Pretty amazing, right?
- exclusivity of the GrandMaster Chime Ref. 6300 G.
Released by the brand in 2004 to celebrate its 175th anniversary, the GrandMaster Chime is one of the most complicated pieces of the company. And yes, one of the most expensive timepieces and takes at least two years to create. Not everyone can buy this watch right off the bat. To acquire the GrandMaster Chime, you would have to apply to buy it. The Stern family, the ones who own the company as of the moment, carefully selects from the applications. This is to make sure that the watches go to collectors who will actually take care and genuinely appreciate them.
- There are less than a million Patek Philippe timepieces in the world.
Yes, you have read that. Since its conception in the 1800s, there are less than a million pieces out in the world. On average, the brand releases around 62,000 timepieces collectively each year. To put into perspective, Rolex releases 800,000 – 1,000,000 pieces per year. No wonder why some are on the waitlist for years!
- Most expensive pieces in auctions.
Hint: the most expensive timepiece sold was the same piece released in 2014. Yes, the GrandMaster Chime 6300G was sold in 2019 for a whopping $31,94,370! This makes it the most expensive timepiece in the world. But even way before, Patek Philippe’s timepieces have been one of the most expensive pieces on private and online auctions. One thing is for sure, if it’s Patek Philippe, it will not go for below $2 million. Another example, in 2014, a Henry Graves Complications was sold for $26 million.
- The president of the company vets every single minute repeaters before it goes out.
One of the most complex mechanisms, minute repeaters are created by the most skilled watchmakers of the brand. It takes 200 to 300 hours to assemble a one minute repeater. Each piece is brought into a soundproof chamber where the experts record the chimes and analyze the sound waveforms of each piece. This is to make sure that each timepiece is consistent in terms of the company’s acoustic framework. And when it’s done, these timepieces go on a final test, where Thierry Stern himself vets each piece.
Where to buy a Patek Philippe piece?
This is the golden question! Given the exclusivity and rarity of each of its pieces, many are curious if you would have to go to Geneva to buy one. The answer is no! In fact, you wouldn’t have to get out of your couch to buy one. You can order one online through The Watch Company. All wristwatches from this site are genuine and authentic. Make sure to check out this site if you want to acquire some entry-level Patek Philippe pieces, or even score some rare ones!