The history of the famous brand Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe, now a world-renowned brand, had humble beginnings. In 1835, the brand's founder, Anthony Norbert, struggled to make a living by reselling watches to his Polish relatives. However, through hard work and determination, he was able to make significant contributions to the field of watchmaking and eventually establish Patek Philippe as one of the top watch brands in Switzerland.
Complicated path of political unrest

Before coming to fame and earning the trust of high-ranking officials, the Polish emigrant Antony Norbert had to overcome many challenges: experience harsh political unrest, flee his native country, and even change his name. It all started in 1835 when Anthony fled to Paris. There he decided to change the name, which would later become known to the whole world - Antoine November de Patek. After that, he settled in Geneva, where his path to success began.
Start of takeoff success under the name Patek, Czapek & Cie

In order to somehow make ends meet and earn a living, Patek resold watches to his Polish relatives. But he didn’t do it for long. A few years later, Anthony had a fateful meeting with Frantisek Czapek (a Polish watchmaker of Czech origin), and on May 1, 1839, compatriots opened their own watch manufacturing company called Patek, Czapek & Cie. The small watch company produced about 200 chronographs a year. Chronometers were already distinguished at that time by the accuracy of the mechanism and had a beautiful shape and design, due to which their watches first appeared at the Paris exhibition.
The new head of the Patek Philippe brand called Patek, Philippe & Cie

Later, Patek meets Jean-Andrian Philippe, a French virtuoso watchmaker who, during this period, was developing a truly innovative idea. By coincidence, a year later, Czapek leaves the company and Philippe becomes Patek's new partner. On May 15, 1845, a new company, Patek & Cie, opened its doors in Geneva at Quai de Berg 15. The company will change its name to Patek, Philippe & Cie six years later.

The Patek-Philippe partnership turned out to be surprisingly fruitful: Patek, Philippe & Cie exported watches abroad, replenishing the list of the company's fans with many influential people. Watches were bought by clients from Siam, Italy, Prussia, England, and Saxony. High-profile personas like Pope Pius IX, Queen Victoria and even the Austrian emperor were fans of the brand. Genevan charm, expressed in the silhouette of watches, spread around the world, making the brand recognizable and in demand. No one could resist the charm of the watches of the Genevan manufacturer, which since 1854 has settled at the address of the Grande Quai, now known as the quai de General Guisan. Today, this building houses the Geneva salon of Patek Philippe.
The first women's wristwatch

And although by 1868 the Patek Philippe brand had already gained great success around the world, only this year Patek and Philippe will create an epoch-making piece of jewellery - they will present for the first time a unique women's watch, which will later be bought by the Hungarian Countess Kossovich. For a unique accessory, the Countess will give 1200 francs, which at that time was a fortune.

Breakthrough period

But Patek didn't stop there. At the beginning of the 20th century, he presented the smallest mechanism - a ring watch adorned with diamonds and baguette rubies.

And in 1916, the company made another breakthrough in the field of creating women's watches, creating a unique women's chronograph with a crown, equipped with a five-minute repeater. The New York businessman Wickham became the happy owner of an unusual novelty.

Later in 1925, the company introduced the Patek Philippe watch with a perpetual calendar. One of the features of this model was the instant change of the date.
The global economic crisis and the change of power in the Patek Philippe brand

The further development of the company's events is dictated by the global economic crisis. By 1932, the company's finances were in dire straits, and to save the business, the company was sold to the brothers Jean and Charles Stern, owners of their own dial factory. The support and influence of the Stern family helped Patek Philippe not only overcome the crisis, but also rise to the position of a leading brand. Since then, the family has consistently been at the helm of Switzerland's largest watch brand.

The new owners first took up the reorganization of production and in 1932 presented to the public the first (men's) watch from the iconic Calatrava collection.
A new stage in the history of watchmaking

After five years of development, in 1933, a pocket watch with 24 complications, commissioned by the American banker Henry Graves, was born. This yellow gold pocket watch would hold the title of the most complicated watch in the world until 1989. They will loudly declare themselves twice more: in 1999, when a devoted fan of watchmaking art buys them at an auction for 17 million Swiss francs and in 2014, when the model of an American banker breaks his own record and goes under the hammer, stepping over 23 million.

True, by 1937 everyone will forget about them for a while, because in that year the company will release the first wristwatch with a world time function, created in collaboration with the Genevan watchmaker Louis Cottier. By the way, since 1941, the company has been engaged in mass production of models with the most popular combination of complex functions, which include a chronograph and, of course, a perpetual calendar.

And already in 1954, the company received two patents for photoelectric table clocks, and in 2 years the first fully electronic clock appeared in the Patek Philippe model range.
The era of models with miniature painting

In 1958, the second generation of the Stern family, Henri Stern, who was a fan of miniature painted watches, became the head of the family business. It is he who will begin to collect rare and unique models with enamel miniatures, which will later form the basis of the Patek Philippe museum collection.
The release of a model that will become a must-have in our time

In 1976, the company launched the Nautilus, a collection of luxury sports models in steel waterproof cases. Forty years later, the watch, which at first was not in great demand, is positioned as a must-have in the wardrobe of a true gentleman.
150th Anniversary of Patek Philipe

In 1989, the brand celebrated its 150th anniversary. On this occasion, Philip Stern, being president, presented a grandiose masterpiece - the watch movement, called Caliber 89. It consisted of 33 complex functions and 1,702 parts and became the second most complex model of the brand, surpassing the famous Henry Graves pocket watch.
Opening of the Patek Philippe Museum

The logical conclusion of the cultural demarche of Philippe Stern was the opening of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, which took place in 2001. The museum complex with the world's richest private collection of watches includes a library that contains more than 8,000 works dedicated to watchmaking.
Hero of our time

By 2009, the brand was headed by Thierry Stern, the representative of the fourth generation of the family, who to this day holds the post of president of Patek Philippe. During his period of work, the company refused to mark the watch with the notorious Hallmark of Geneva and created its own quality standard, which is affixed to the finished product and guarantees the watch a lifetime service, regardless of the release date.

But these are not all the achievements of Thierry Stern as president of the company: in 2012, the watch company Patek Philippe presented a Large-scale exhibition of watchmaking art in Dubai, in 2014 it celebrated the 175th anniversary of the brand, giving a magnificent firework called "Man and Time" to the native Geneva City Day, in 2017 took part in the Large Scale Watchmaking Exhibition 2017 in New York. By the way, on this occasion, the brand released 9 limited editions, including the World Time Minute Repeater watch, the world premiere of which took place in New York. As well as 17 Rare Handcrafts models (wrist, pocket and table clocks), created using rare crafts, were dedicated to America and New York.

But in 2019, the brand broke all its own records - the company released a single copy of the Grandmaster Chime 6300A_010 chronograph, which was sold at a charity auction for 31 million Swiss francs.

True, in 2022 the brand was no longer able to achieve the same results - the original designer Patek Philippe Nautilus by Gerald Genta was sold at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for only $727,000. Ten bidders from around the world competed for a work of art, which eventually went to a private Asian collector. Also sold at the auction was a never-before-seen Nautilus watch with a strap instead of a bracelet, which fetched $121,000.
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