- The Manufacture
Patek Philippe has been pursuing traditional Genevan watchmaking artistry without interruption since 1839. The manufacture benefits from full creative freedom, which allows it to design, develop, and craft watches that connoisseurs consider to be the world's finest – as pledged by its founders Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe. In addition to exceptional skills, Patek Philippe also nurtures a tradition of innovation that has meanwhile been crowned by over one hundred patents.
Patek Philippe is an independent manufacture with vertically integrated production. It has its own research and development department and creates and engineers all movements and external components in its own workshops. The individual parts of the movements and cases are produced, finished, and assembled in-house, from simple models and complicated timepieces to grand complications. This competence accompanies each watch during its entire lifetime – from the first sketches to final assembly. Patek Philippe services and repairs all of its watches ever made since 1839.
The company has been owned by the Stern family since 1932 and today is managed by Thierry Stern (President), Philippe Stern (Honorary President), and Claude Peny (CEO). Philippe Stern shaped the history of the manufacture with ambitious real estate projects, the Patek Philippe Museum, and exceptional timekeeping instruments such as the Calibre 89. His son Thierry Stern is committed to safeguarding Patek Philippe's technological leadership to continuously improve the quality and long-term dependability of its timepieces.
Patek Philippe is sparing no effort to preserve its independence. Accordingly, the company relies on its own leverage to achieve growth, both as regards investing for the future and in its production resources. All major projects such as the manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates with the annex building, the exclusive salons in Geneva, Paris, and London, the Patek Philippe Museum and the ateliers and subsidiaries in the Jura region were fully self-financed. Patek Philippe's intention is to independently pursue the path that led to its success.
The fact that the Patek Philippe manufacture enjoys such a unique reputation and respect among connoisseurs is due not only to the perfection of its timepieces and the artistry of its watchmakers. This standing also stems from the consistency with which it has remained true to its quest for perfection ever since it was founded in 1839. The Patek Philippe mentality is also embodied in ten corporate values that have always represented the ideas and work of the manufacture and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Patek Philippe is the oldest independent, family-owned Genevan watch manufacture. Its independence enables it to control its own destiny while pursuing a long-term vision. The manufacture benefits from total creative freedom. It develops and crafts its watches and movements in-house according to its own quality criteria that are set forth in the Directives of the Patek Philippe Seal. This determination to remain independent is at the heart of Patek Philippe spirit; it guarantees continuity, resilience and trustworthiness.
The history of the Patek Philippe manufacture, founded in 1839, is part of Geneva's great watchmaking tradition. It is the legacy born out of the experience and ingenuity of countless generations that safeguards and breathes life into the manufacture. It is a tradition of innovation that reinvents itself every day. True to noble artisanal techniques, master watchmakers and craftsmen consummately perpetuate, day after day, timeless gestures, lending their sharp eyes and deftness of touch to the fine art of watchmaking while remaining abreast of the latest technological developments.
In keeping with its tradition of innovation, Patek Philippe constantly tests the frontiers of watchmaking artistry through its avant-garde achievements at the cutting edge of technology. The manufacture has asserted its pioneering role not least by successfully filing over 100 patents, including twenty of major importance to the history of horology. In the same context, the Patek Philippe Seal was established as a dynamic quality hallmark that accommodates technological progress in the service of long-term improvements of the functionality, reliability and rate accuracy of watches.
Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe had but one goal: to develop and manufacture the finest timepieces in the world. Today, more than ever, quality and fine workmanship remain the watchwords for production at Patek Philippe. This applies to the movements and the external elements, the technical concept, the performance of each function, and the rate accuracy of the timepieces. Thierry and Philippe Stern personally stand by all the commitments embodied in the Patek Philippe Seal, the most exclusive of quality commitments in the entire industry.
Patek Philippe has always conceived its watches as exclusive creations. Over 200 different models are in regular production, crafted by the manufacture in small series of between a dozen and several hundred watches, each fitted with proprietary movements. The quality of the movements and watch cases is highly appreciated by watch enthusiasts. The rigorous quality standards applied to every step of the manufacturing process and the many months invested in completion make each Patek Philippe watch a precious, unique creation coveted by true connoisseurs.
Each Patek Philippe watch embodies centuries of genuine experience and countless hours of work. Accordingly, it is a precious asset that will retain or even increase its value over the years. Many Patek Philippe models are genuine cult objects that fetch record prices at auction. They are deemed a solid investment amongst collectors with a high emotional value; most owners of a Patek Philippe watch consider it to be a precious and irreplaceable family heirloom.
The aesthetic appeal of Patek Philippe watches is more than meets the eye. It is also an expression of their mechanical perfection. Their designs outlive passing fashion trends and always project contemporary beauty. Patek Philippe has established its own understated, timeless style: it is a harmonious combination of personality and discretion, elegance and uniqueness. The style has inspired true timepiece classics. It defines the creation and subtly evolving modification of watches that simply retain their irresistibility – yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
To assure that its service addresses the loftiest expectations, Patek Philippe relies on a network of hand-picked dealers. The manufacture believes that it has a duty to provide the highest standard of after-sales service, and emphasizes this aspect as a key criterion of the Patek Philippe Seal. For each owner of a Patek Philippe watch, this ensures that after the sale, the timepiece will receive the care and attention needed to function reliably for generations.
When owners of a Patek Philippe talk about their watches, they will tell stories about passion, emotion, and affection. After all, a Patek Philippe is far more than an instrument that displays the time. It is a very personal and inimitable possession steeped in precious memories. The purchase of a Patek Philippe is often related to an important personal event – a professional success, a marriage or the birth of a child – and offering it as a gift is the most eloquent expression of love or endearment.
To acquire a Patek Philippe is to become the custodian of an artistic and scientific tradition that continues to inspire remarkable creations. It opens up the world of a family-owned company traditionally handed down from fathers to sons, with each generation dedicated to perpetuating a unique legacy. The purchase of a Patek Philippe enriches a family's assets with a precious object that will delight many coming generations. By building such a bridge from the past to the future, owners begin their own tradition in the true sense of the word.
Patek Philippe stands for the high quality and dependability of its timepieces. In emphasizing its independence, the family-owned manufacture has always defined its own quality criteria, recognized by the entire watchmaking community as the strictest ever compiled. They define extremely rigorous standards with stringent inspection procedures that leave no room for compromise.
To enforce and sustainably safeguard compliance with the rules at every level, Patek Philippe created its own quality seal that applies to all of its mechanical timepieces regardless of their complexity. For the purpose of assuring the necessary degree of transparency, the Patek Philippe Seal relies on a number of carefully defined criteria that are committed in writing in detailed directives and supervised by an independent monitoring entity.
As the watch industry's strictest set of directives, the Patek Philippe Seal applies to the finished watch in its totality – the movement, the case, and other exterior components (dials, hands, pushers, bracelets, clasps, etc.). It embraces the entire know-how and all other assets required to design, manufacture, and service exceptional timepieces. The directives also relate to the technology and aesthetics of the timepieces and the flawless integrity of all functions.
For movements, the Patek Philippe Seal specifies an extreme rate accuracy with a tolerance of no more than -3/+2 seconds per day. It imposes very strict requirements on the manual finissage of movement parts in keeping with the grand Genevan traditions. And it affirms the quality of the materials used, the perfection of the precious stones as well as the work of the gemsetters.
Moreover, it is the only quality seal for watches that also covers service for the entire lifetime of the watch and guarantees maintenance, repairs, and restoration of all watches crafted by the manufacture since 1839.
As a dynamic quality hallmark, the Patek Philippe Seal is open for future developments and technical progress with the potential of improving the functional integrity, rate accuracy, and reliability of timepieces. Therefore, it seamlessly complements the tradition of innovation DNA that has always been at the focus of the manufacture's corporate philosophy.
For 130 years now, a graphic symbol associated with the name Patek Philippe has been enthusing connoisseurs and aficionados of high-end watchmaking artistry. It is the Calatrava cross that the venerable Genevan manufacture officially registered as its legally protected trademark on April 27, 1887. This registration was renewed on January 25, 1908, and included the reservation of “Croix de Calatrava” for Patek Philippe as a verbal identifier and branding element.
A good reason that may have convinced Jean Adrien Philippe to adopt the Calatrava cross in 1887 (Antoine Norbert de Patek had passed away ten years earlier) was its graphically ornamental quality and the fact that it was a centuries-old signature. It is an aesthetically persuasive symbol whose beauty remains unaffected by passing fashion trends. Thus, it is an ideal hallmark for representing the values of Patek Philippe and the long-term horizon of its corporate philosophy.
The Calatrava cross also expresses the noblesse that is inherent in its name. Calatrava was the name of a Spanish order of knighthood that was founded in the late 12th century. Its blazonry stands for courage, chivalry, and independence, traits inseparably associated with the knights of the era. These are also traits that Patek Philippe strives to embody.
The four lilies that constitute the Calatrava cross are reminiscent of the traditional fleur-de-lis that once graced the royal arms of France. Three lilies also adorn the coat of arms of the Eure-et-Loir department, which includes the community of La Bazoche-Gouet where Jean Adrien Philippe was born. It is quite possible that this symbol of prestige and sovereignty influenced the selection of a lily theme for a trademark that expresses the superior technical and design prowess of Patek Philippe.
Today, the name Calatrava also has another meaning at Patek Philippe: it identifies an entire family of wristwatches that stand out with understated elegance and a timelessly beautiful design vocabulary. It has its roots in the Ref. 96 launched in 1932. The design of the timepiece was inspired by the Bauhaus style based on the principle that form follows function – a signpost for modern wristwatches.
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