In this episode, we visit Patek Philippe’s new manufacture building at Plan-les-Ouates. We find out its significance in the strategic direction of the company, and take a look at the important work that will be undertaken here.

A monument to independence

Patek Philippe’s relocation to Plan-les-Ouates in 1996 was a move masterminded by Mr. Philippe Stern, at that time President of the company.

This new building is the brainchild of both Mr. Philippe Stern, now honorary President, and his son, Mr Thierry Stern, today’s President and the fourth generation of the family-owned company. It will ensure the company remains independent and dedicated to the pursuit of perfection in horology.

Grand scale

To appreciate the scale of the building, consider that the groundwork required excavation of an area the size of 90 Olympic swimming pools; and the formwork would cover 15 football fields.

The need for such space is not only for manufacturing processes, space is dedicated to training and preserving traditional artisanal watchmaking skills and Rare Handcrafts; and to facilitate leading research into innovative watchmaking technologies. Furthermore, the building will be used to make and house precious spare parts for servicing and to restore vintage timepieces.

Enlightened construction

The elegant, state of the art building makes intelligent use of all-important daylight with floor-to-ceiling glazing on all levels. Inside, that light shines on the engineers, watchmakers and artisans who gather there to play their part in the development, production, decoration, and finishing of the celebrated timepieces of Patek Philippe.

A hive of activity

A tour beginning on the ground and first floors takes you through the department for the manual finishing of movement parts; the second floor is for the making, manual polishing, and assembly of cases, bracelets, and other external components, as well as for gemsetting. Here, too, is the production of spare parts.

The third floor is the home of Research & Design, including the Patek Philippe Advanced Research department, where ground breaking prototypes will be created and tested.

Rare handcrafts have their own dedicated space on the fourth floor – artisanal skills such as engraving, enamelling and guilloche will be executed and taught by masters of their art.

In total there are 10 floors, including the top-floor restaurant, training floor, four production floors, four basement floors (two for plant and two for parking) – making up almost 1,500,000 square feet.

A commemorative watch

The Ref 6007A, a self-winding Calatrava in steel fitted with the Caliber 324 S C, has been released in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces to mark the completion of the building.

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