Patek Philippe Watches
Established in Geneva, Switzerland in 1839, the brand known today at Patek Philippe started with a vision. That vision came from Antoni Norbert Patek, born in Piaski, a small village in Poland. His life was dramatically affected by political turmoil, as that village was under the control of the Russian Empire, a regime that disregarded the citizens and one that generated political unrest. Due to the turmoil, he sought refuge status in another country and ended up in Switzerland, where it all began.
In Geneva, the heart of the watchmaking industry, Antoni found himself drawn to the decorative arts that were a trademark of the horological artisians. The young immigrant partnered with Francois Czapek, to create Patek, Czapek & Cie. The Czech was already respected and established in Geneva and the two worked diligently to build success by a clear focus on quality. They didn’t mass produce timepieces, they manufactured only 200 pieces a year in order to maintain that high level of quality and precision. They shared a cultural heritage and that was reflected in many of the early timepieces, drawing on religious traditions, folklore and history. However the shared culture was not enough to stop the disagreements and Patek searched for a new partner in order to follow his vision.
Traveling to France for a Industrial Exposition in 1844 Patek met a very young and very talented watch expert, Jean Adrien Philippe. Jean had been working on development of a keyless winding technology which would become quite well known as stem winders, allowing for convenience and ease of use. Joining together the brand Patek Philippe forged ahead and pioneered some of the most popular complications known today. From perpetual calendars to various types of chronographs, and a host of other innovations, the brand vision became a reality.
The brand created the Patek Philippe Museum which was critical in preserving and celebrating the history of horology. While many of their collections are preserved here, it also houses other brands, and success stories. The growth and success of the brand came from the partnership and their ability to push technical boundaries as well as pursue their passions. Each had their strengths, and they both loved the traditional handicrafts that gave beauty to each timepiece. Enameling, engraving, and guilloche detailed the magnificent creations, and marquetry, gem-setting and miniatures added even more decorative brilliance. Patek Philippe played a vital role in keeping these skills alive and knew how valued each artisan was in these processes.
The brand was loved by family members through the years, as well as three employees who invested capital. Seeing that the business needed guidance but still wanting to preserve the family-run business, they converted to a joint-stock company and family members remained on the board of directors. In 1932 the Stern family entered the leadership role of Patek Philippe and they still remain there today. The company still moves in the direction of the founders, working on innovation and quality. The brand stands as a pinnacle of Swiss luxury watchmaking and that dedication and history was passed generation to generation to those members who carried the same passion for excellence.