If you have ever wondered what’s a Patek watch and what makes it so special you’ve arrived at the right place. Patek Philippe is universally considered the founders of their world’s finest timepieces. Their notoriety among Swiss luxury brands like Rolex and Audemars Piguet sets them in a category above anyone else in the industry. Maintaining the principal position against the form of rivalry represented by another luxury Swiss brands requires something very special, but Patek Philipe seems to handle it without even breaking a sweat. So we set out to answer the question of precisely what it is making Patek Philippe’s watches so unique, and so very collectible.
Inventing some of the very impressive complications ever found in a timepiece, Patek Philippe watch has no equal when it comes to engineering virtuosity. The originator of this perpetual calendar, which automatically adjusts to compensate for leap years in addition to the different number of times in a month, the brand also pioneered the second repeater, split-second the chronograph. Launched in 1839, along with a constant concern ever since, it’s been under the sole charge of the Stern family since 1932; now in its fourth generation, they are the last of the family-owned Genevan watchmakers, completely independent of the whims of bankers and with more than 80 years of consistency in both philosophy and quality.
Rolex famously create 1,000,000 watches per year. Patek famously have made 1,000,000 watches since 1839. The production process at their Plan-les-Ouates manufacture in Geneva is so profoundly detailed that even the simplest models bearing their title take up of nine months each to finish. Their most complex pieces, like the Sky Moon Tourbillon, could often be in production for two decades or longer. There isn’t any such thing as a shortcut in Patek Philippe.
Quality The high quality and attention to detail that’s poured into every Patek Philippe watch that leaves the mill is peerless. Their instances are still made with conventional processes dating back to the 19th century, expertise that has been passed down through generations. Their movements, like every element of each watch, are all crafted in house, hand-assembled, and go through a degree of finishing and ornamentation unlike any other. Every plate and bridge in a Patek caliber is beveled on the inner and external edges and the tops are decorated and brushed. The dials alone could take between four and six months to complete, going through around 200 distinct processes. The Bureau established the criteria for the quality of watch movements built in Geneva, as a means of protecting the reputation the city had forged for itself as the home of fine watchmaking. After a powerful backer of the Seal, Patek had felt the criteria laid down were getting overly lenient in recent years and implored them to fulfill the requirements. When the official body refused to do so, the new were made to produce strictures of their own. The Patek Philippe Seal encompasses all facets of each individual watch; from its case and dial all the way through the spring bars to the strap. So far as timekeeping accuracy, Patek’s self-imposed principles are much more draconian than those required by the Geneva Seal or the COSC. In additionthey offer you the horology planet’s first-ever lifetime service pledge.
There are not many, but there are a couple of names in watch collecting which can be near a’sure thing’ investment-wise because you can get, and Patek Philippe is among these. A direct by-product of their incredibly high-quality manufacture, coupled with their extreme scarcity, means they’ve always enjoyed an excellent resale value. In recent years, prices for classic, and not particularly old vintage, models have burst. If you’d handled yourself to one of the original Nautilus range in the 1970s, for example, you would have seen your own $ 3,000 outlay worth more than $50,000 today. The concept is apparent; whichever piece you have, it is worth it to look after it. Patek’s reputation was built entirely on their watchmaking prowess instead of on any slick promotion or sponsorship of major sporting occasions (even though their’You Never Really Have A Patek Philippe’…campaign certainly sticks in the mind). One of watch aficionados there’s no more respected title, a fact reinforced by looking at some of the record-breaking achievements they’ve chalked up. Their Graves Supercomplication, a pocket watch that took three years to design and yet another five to assemble, sold in November 2014 for $24,000,000–exercising as $1M each purpose. It’s not only the most expensive pocket watch , it is also the most complex mechanical watch built without the use of computers. They have since gone on to their particular achievement when they published the Calibre 89 for the brand’s 150th anniversary, complete with 33 complications, 24 hands, and 1,728 parts, making it the most complex pocket watch ever produced, period. And because of their 175th birthday, they released the Grandmaster Chime, cramming 20 complications within its $2.6M variant, the most seen at a wristwatch. Having raised watchmaking to the legitimate kingdom of fine art, the brand’s reputation to be at the very pinnacle of this business is irreproachable. A name that is the embodiment of stature, quality, and tradition, there’s nothing else quite like a Patek Philippe.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 2019 Patek Philippe’s ultra-complicated watches selling for mega sums of money at auction is a well-known event, and there are lots of well-documented instances of Patek Philippe timepieces selling for record-breaking values. But beyond the perpetual calendars and minute repeaters, Patek’s stainless steel sports watches — specifically the Nautilus and Aquanaut — are still undergoing the exact same hyper short-term appreciation that is characteristic of a few of Rolex’s most iconic professional versions such as the Daytona, GMT-Master, and Submariner. Now, a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711/1A retails for about $30,000. Yet due to overwhelming demand and a relatively fixed source, waitlists at traders span many years in length, and stainless steel Patek Nautilus watches are virtually unattainable — without paying a steep top in cost. 5711 Patek Philippe Nautilus watches on the secondary market — those that are available for immediate purchase — market between 100% to 200% over their original retail price, with certain examples pushing the price mark mark. If you be one of the lucky folks able to purchase one of those iconic watches during its retail price, you can immediately walk from this boutique, into a pre-owned trader, and immediately double or triple your money. And that is just yet another reason why Patek Philippe watches are so unique.