Patek Philippe is a classic brand that has delivered high-class, high-quality, and mesmerizing time pieces. If you’re looking to find out more about the history, technology, and manufacturing processes that go being each Patek Philippe watch, prepare to quench your thirst for knowledge. At the end of the article, you will also find five of the most popular watches from this brand. It was difficult to choose only five, given that Patek Philippe is synonymous of quality in and of itself.
History of the Brand
Founded in 1851, Patek Philippe & Co. is a Swiss watch manufacturer that continues a rich legacy to this day. Located in Geneva and the Vallée de Joux, the company designs and manufactures movements and timepieces. They also hold the title for some of the most complicated mechanical watches on the market. Many experts and aficionados consider Patek Philippe as one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers. So prestigious, in fact, that Pope Pius IX, Queen Victoria, Victor Emanuel III of Italy, Christian IX of Denmark have all been the proud owners of a Patek Philippe timepiece.
Standing out on the market of timekeeping instruments, Patek Philippe watches are of a benchmark stature. Meticulous works of art, their beauty reflects their mechanical perfection. The delicate task of Patek Philippe’s design experts is to discern the best of an era and turn it into a timeless icon. With their designs, the watches must evoke lasting emotions, just like the movements themselves.
From the first sketch to the finished watch, the ultimate goal is to always find the perfect balance between modernity and classicism. The Patek Philippe signature is reserved only for those designs deemed worthy to bear it. The outcome has a timeless appeal, as evidenced by the constant success of Patek Philippe timepieces at prestigious auctions around the world. If you want to learn more about the brand in a very interactive way, check out the history section on Patek Philippe’s official website.
Manufacturing & Technology
Patek Philippe is one of the very few watchmaking companies in Switzerland that have in-house production for all the watch components. The brand masters all manufacturing steps – from development to final assembly – including the in-house production of cases, movements, and bracelets. To achieve superior quality, the production requires only the best skills and finest tools, as well as a blend of the most advanced technology with long-term experience in traditional craftsmanship.
The development of new mechanisms has always been a priority at Patek Philippe, as well as advancing technologies and manufacturing processes. The ultimate goal is to find new materials that can take their quest for new visions to higher standards. The craftsmen employed by Patek Philippe are required to exercise great patience, polishing every single tooth of each steel pinion and wheel with a beech wood disc.
It is their legendary virtuosity, handed down from generation to generation, that makes up the heart and soul of Patek Philippe watches. The production of a single movement’s components requires the expertise of highly skilled people. Depending on its complexity, it may involve between 1,200 and 1,500 individual steps.
For those of our readers looking to adorn their wrists with a Patek Philippe timepiece, here are some of the most prestigious models in their collections. Consult the Patek Philippe collection for a full review of every masterpiece the company has ever manufactured.
Annual calendars – such as the Patek Philippe 5396 – have something intrinsically ornate about them. An undeniable appeal, an X factor that seems appropriate for a classy watch with an old-fashioned charm. The calming beauty of this quintessentially Patek dress comes off each of its components. The watch measures 38.5mm wide on a matte black alligator strap (for the white gold) or a brown alligator (for the rose gold version).
The Patek Philippe 5396 is water resistant to 30m, which means you can take it for a swim in your backyard pool. It’s fitted with sapphire crystals front and back, giving it a rather special feel. With a surprising charcoal gray sunburst dial (for the white gold) and a shining silver opaline dial (for the rose gold), the 5396 model is tightly packed. The dial symmetry is welcome, while the many displays are arranged along the vertical center of the dial.
The Complications Automatic Chronograph’s watch is a splendid piece of art. The high-class brand has created a timepiece that features a platinum case and a blue alligator leather strap. Faithful to its legacy, Patek Phillipe has once again used the high quality materials that set the watchmaker apart from the competition. With a case diameter of 40.5 mm, this wrist watch has some similarities to other famous luxury watches. The smaller case allows for a dressy look, as well as the ability to include the highest quality without creating an ostentatious timepiece.
This Complications’ watch features a chronograph as well as an Automatic movement. The 40.5 mm round dial makes it an instant classic in the Patek Philippe collection. The best feature of this Swiss-made wristwatch is its unique design. The skeleton case back offers a peek inside, while the incredible fixed bezel comes with 36 baguette diamonds. The fold over clasp features a safety set with another 22 baguette diamonds.
Not many designers would be interested in a bold and dark style for their luxury timepiece. Not Patek Philippe, however, which manufactured this gorgeous Complication Series Annual Calendar. The watch embraces dark colors and contrasts them with shining quality and toned elegance. The analog display features a Swiss Automatic movement, creating a fine and breathtaking quality. The 40 mm 18 white gold case is curved perfectly, complementing the slate gray and matte black of the dial. The 5205G-010 model is water resistant up to 100 feet (30 meters). In other words, you can submerge it in water, but you should not wear it for scuba diving. With a beautiful time piece such as this, no-one wants to risk damaging the genuine leather.
When Patek Philippe released the reference 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 2011, it was a big deal all around. The complication had been in Patek Philippe’s catalog since 1941 as one of the brand’s most famous watches. Whether retro or modern, Patek’s perpetual calendar chronographs continue to be the best collectibles of all wristwatches. Expectations were as high as it gets with the launch of the iconic 5270.
Like all of its predecessors, the 5270 indicates the day and month in apertures located at 12 o’clock, the date with moon phase at 6 o‘clock, seconds indication at 9 o’clock, and a 30-minute counter for the chronograph at 3 o’clock. One of the most notable differences, however, was the seconds indication and minute counter which moved below the center, horizontal axis of the dial. Experts believe this is a mark to identify fakes easily, both now and in the future. At the same time, the change made Patek’s life more difficult, because the repositioning of these hands took two years of development.
The Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is one of Patek Philippe’s classic models. Featuring an 18k white gold bezel, 18k white gold casing, a Sapphire crystal dial window, silver dial, and a manual movement, this is a wristwatch for those seeking simplicity in their timepiece. It’s a hand-wound watch which comes with hour markings, three sub dials, and two windows that display the day of the week and the month located near the 12 o’clock position.
The manual movement is simple. It includes 24 jewels and a mixture of gold and stainless steel, both of which offer the watch the best movement possible. This Swiss-made watch is nothing less than stunning, with an antique white dial color that contrasts against the 18k white gold case. The band material is a fine calfskin leather, but you can choose another from a variety of colors and materials. The dial face is by far the most fascinating part of this watch. Even though it looks rather busy, it offers an overall classic design. The outer edge shows design numeral markings of water depth up to 500 meters. Underneath the 12 o’clock position are two separate windows side-by-side; they display the day of the week and the month of the year.
You can buy any of the presented watches by clicking on the link provided. Fair warning: The Swiss brand is very high on the price spectrum, which means you would have to pay big bucks to have one of these timepieces on your wrist. So do you think these Patek Philippe masterpieces deserve their spot in the luxury sector? Write to us in the comments below.