The Patek Philippe Salons: Geneva

The Geneva Salon could perhaps be called the first among equals. It was in 1853 that Patek Philippe, needing larger premises as the firm grew, moved into two stories of a building on the rue du Rhône.

Here the company entered into a fifteen-year agreement that has so far lasted for more than one hundred sixty years; the site has become an enduring part of the city landscape.

Now the historic manufacturing headquarters of Patek Philippe has been put at the disposal of its customers, for whom this hallowed building is a kind of spiritual home known simply as “the salon”.

During the nineteenth century, Patek Philippe took over the entire building, floor by floor; when the company bought the premises outright in 1891, a decision to renovate was made. The company called on celebrated architect Jacques-Elisée Goss, who constructed a splendid, entirely new, and classically beautiful building.

It was perhaps the innovations inside that truly signaled Goss’s radical achievements. A pioneer of the nascent modern movement, he equipped the basement with powerful electrical generators – technically revolutionary for the time – providing electric lighting in all rooms, as well as a supply of energy to drive the tools and machines.

Goss’s design improved working conditions immeasurably: no other workshops could compare in terms of hygiene standards or the technical resources provided to enhance the quality of an employee’s work. Goss’s final coup was to install a central heating system in the basement, providing warmth for the entire building and allowing each room’s temperature to be independently regulated – an almost inconceivable luxury in those days.

A final restructuring took place between 2004 and 2006, when Philippe Stern decided, among other things, that when you entered the ground floor Salon, you would be embraced by a vision: windows showing the entire Patek Philippe collection in all of its splendor. After all, for years this building brought together on its higher floors every skill and profession needed to create those tiny ticking universes. The very structure is soaked in a love for and knowledge of the craft of watchmaking.

To enter the belle epoque Salon, with its soaring double-height collection room, is to breathe a sigh of contentment and delight. The walls are clad in soothing dark wood, with leather from Córdoba on the facades.

The historical Salon is lit by the majestic original chandelier from Maison Baguès, the Parisian company whose work can be seen at Versailles and The Ritz in London; for the modern showroom, Baguès has created a cascading new chandelier which casts its shimmering glow on a backlit alabaster wall. Two antique Tiffany safes, bought from Tiffany when that company left Geneva in 1876, add handsome period charm.

Above all, in this sumptuous, effortlessly calm environment, there is a feeling of quiet intimacy and welcome – it’s a place to look, linger, and joyously experience.

Address

Salons Patek Philippe

41, rue du Rhône, 1204 Geneva, Switzerland.
Tel.: +41 22 809 50 50, Fax: +41 22 809 50 60.

Directions (via GoogleMap)

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 10:00 - 18:30
Saturday: 10:00 - 18:00

Closed on following bank holidays:

Friday 19th April, Monday 22th April, Thursday 30th May, Monday 10th June, Thursday 1st August, Thursday 5th September, Wednesday 25th December, Thursday 26th December, Wednesday 1st January 2020, Thursday 2nd January 2020.

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