Patek Philippe – A Swiss Watch Tradition from 1839

Officially founded in 1851, Patek Philippe is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world. This Swiss, luxury manufacturer is responsible for creating some of the most stunning and advanced timepieces in existence. At Harrington & Co, we’re proud to buy and sell items from this prestigious watchmaker. To celebrate, we’re looking into the history of Patek Philippe.

Introducing the Founders

Antoine Norbert de Patek was born in 1812 in Poland. After spending some time in the military, he eventually settled in Switzerland. It was here that he became intrigued by the idea of watchmaking, witnessing Geneva’s strong residency of engravers, enamellers, and jewellers. In 1839, with the help of friends and family, the watchmaking company, Patek, Czapek & Cie, was formed and instantly found success.

Patek met Jean Adrien Philippe, the son of a watchmaker, at an exhibition in Paris where Philippe was showing his invention, a mechanism for winding a watch and setting the hands without needing an additional key. Patek ended his business partnership and began working with Philippe.

Philippe was in charge of development while Patek took control of the company’s marketing, travelling all around the world.

After the Wall Street Crash

Black Tuesday was a devastating crash in the stock market that took its toll on Patek Philippe. To avoid being bought by a competitor, the founders got in touch with Charles and Jean Stern, Patek Phillipe’s suppliers who produced top-quality dials. The Stern brothers helped Patek Philippe stay afloat before wholly acquiring the company’s stakes in 1933.

A Statement in Inventiveness and Design

Patek Philippe was well-known for its timekeeping innovations, and began providing information systems for railway stations and airports in 1946. Since then, Patek Philippe has had a stream of patents due to the watchmaker’s innovative methods of improving the industry.

Philippe Stern, son of Henri Stern, became CEO of Patek Philippe in 1977 and brought the company much success. He understood that a classic mechanical watch could compete in the industry against cheaper, quartz watches if it was a high-end product. He turned Patek Philippe watches into works of art and collector’s items.

A Modern Legacy

Patek Philippe became a standalone watchmaking company as soon as possible, completely removing its need for suppliers. Its family philosophy was extended into a successful slogan: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

In October 2014, Patek Philippe unveiled its 175 th anniversary collection. In this collection was the Grandmaster Chime, the most complicated and costly Patek Philippe watch ever made.

Buying a Piece of the Legacy

At Harrington & Co, we love seeing Patek Philippe watches join our collection. If you’re interested in buying or selling a watch from this incredible manufacturer, don’t hesitate to browse our online store and get in touch.