Patek Philippe is a Swiss watch company founded in 1839, located in Geneva and the Vallée de Joux. It designs and manufactures timepieces and movements, including some of the most complicated mechanical watches. Patek Philippe is considered by many experts and aficionados to be one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world.
The history of Patek Philippe
The company was founded by Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek (1800-1877) and his business partner Franciszek Czapek (1811-1874). In 1851, French watchmaker Jean-Adrien Philippe (1815-1903) joined forces with Patek to create “Patek, Czapek & Co.”
In 1851, Patek Philippe was awarded a medal for excellence at the London International Exhibition. This recognition helped increase its reputation globally. In 1868, Queen Victoria granted Patek Philippe a Royal Warrant as a supplier of timepieces to the Royal Court of England.
Patek Phillipe’s rise to prominence began in earnest in 1932 with their appointment as official suppliers to Polish Airforce pilots during World War II. Other notable achievements followed; In 1943 they were admitted to the Geneva Observatory trials – an extremely demanding series of tests – and were successful in obtaining chronometer certification for several of their models. This was a huge coup, as only around 100 companies worldwide had accomplished this at that time. The following year saw them produce their first wristwatch with an automatic system – another technical breakthrough that has since become industry standard practice.
The 1950s represented something of a peak for vintage Patek Philippe watches, with numerous iconic models being introduced during this decade such as reference 2526 (the brand’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch), reference 1518 (the world’s first serial-produced perpetual calendar chronograph) and reference 2499 (considered by many collectors to be one of the finest examples of haute horlogerie ever made). These exceptional timepieces set new standards not just for Patek Phillipe but for watchmaking as a whole, helping cement Switzerland’s reputation as purveyors of the finest quality luxury goods money can buy.
The company has been owned by the Stern family since 1932. Charles Stern established Les Complices S.A. as a holding company for his investments outside of Patek Philippe; Thierry Stern is its president as of 2017. Patek Philippe USA Inc., headquartered in New York City, is responsible for sales and marketing in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South America. The Ulysses Nardin Company became a subsidiary of Patek Philippe in 2014.
Although there have been changes over 181 years – 10 ownership changes and two world wars that disrupted production – what hasn’t changed is their commitment to quality perfectionism that goes into the construction of every watch. Every detail matters whether it’s choosing metals to be painstakingly handcrafted or using innovative technology like 3D printing to create prototypes quickly without compromising on quality. So whatever challenges lie ahead, it seems certain that Patek Phillippe will continue writing its own unique chapter in horological history. When Patek Philippe watch owners encounter liquidity challenges, their fine timepieces can quickly qualify them for a significantly sized collateral loan from Borro. They provide an excellent source of liquidity without the need to sell.