Patek Philippe is one of the finest brands in the watch industry. In fact, Patek Philipp is among the world’s most-loved luxury watch brands, alongside Rolex and Audemars Piguet. Patek Philippe watches are incredibly popular among collectors thanks to their rich history, strong market performance, and technical brilliance. You need to be at least a millionaire to own such a timepiece or have rich friends.
The beginning – In 1839, Antoine Norbert de Patek, a former Polish cavalryman, established a watch factory with his compatriot, François Czapek, a watchmaker. They registered a partnership, Patek, Czapek & Cie, which was limited to six years. This company was subsequently liquidated and Patek went on to seek the services of another watchmaker.
The founders – In 1844, whilst visiting Paris, Patek learned of another watchmaker named Jean Adrien Philippe. Philippe was the inventor of a pocket watch, able to be wound without a winding key. Patek invited Philippe to join him in Geneva and the following year, the company Patek & Cie was founded. Initially, Philippe was engaged as technical director of the company but went on to become a partner in 1851. Jean Adrien Philippe voiced his frustration that the nomenclature of the company failed to recognize his surname. As a result, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie. The name remained unchanged until 2009 when the comma was deemed superfluous and the company simply became known as Patek Philippe.
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Transition – Since 1932, Patek Philippe has been in the hands of the Stern family. Today, Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, leads the prestigious maison. It now employs 2,000 people worldwide, making 53,000 watches per annum (the company’s own figures, released in 2014).