We get asked the question all the time: ‘Why is Patek Philippe considered the best watch brand in the world by many?’. There are a few key reasons this venerable Swiss watch brand is looked to as the benchmark standard in the industry. Here we take a closer look at the brand.
Patek Philippe is easily one of the world’s most respected watch brands. Much of that is due to the fact that this company never stopped innovating, always controlled production and distribution, and maintains an independent watch brand status. For these reasons, the brand is one of the most sought after by collectors for its new watches as well as its vintage pieces.
Founded in 1839 as Patek, Czapek & Cie, what is today known as Patek Philippe has a rich and fulfilling history. When Antoine Norbert de Patek joined forces with Jean Adrien Philippe in 1851, the company changed its name to Patek Philippe. For the 180 years since its inception, this brand has regularly unveiled watches that have won global awards thanks to their innovation in watchmaking and design. This rich history gives the brand equally as rich archives from which it can garner extensive inspiration. In fact, the company has established one of the most extensive watch museums in the world in the center of Geneva, where its history and creativity are on full display.
Patek Philippe has always created the finest watches possible. Guided by the desire to innovate in terms of watch complications and functions, the brand has built some of the most complicated watches in the world. And continues to do so. In fact, Patek Philippe has such high standards for its finishing and assembly of components and watches, that it established the Patek Philippe Seal. This Seal sets the brand’s standards even higher than the coveted Geneva Seal (Hallmark of Geneva) that most brands aspire to. All Patek Philippe watches are made by hand (once the CNC machines have cut the materials and components with ultimate precision), finished by hand, and assembled by hand. The brand employs the finest master watchmakers – many of whom are multi-generation watchmakers. It even employs its own artisans in house who attend to the engraving, enameling, sculpting and fine hand painting. In short, everything the brand creates, from simple watches to complicated watches, from pocket watches to rare handcrafted clocks, is of the utmost finest quality.
Easily one of the most important factors contributing to Patek Philippe’s impossibly high standards is the fact that the company remains family owned. The Stern family guides all decisions, from products to distribution and marketing. This enables the brand to be as creative as it wishes – giving watchmakers and designers immediate access to the owners when an idea comes to mind. It also enables the brand to make faster decisions, bypassing the red tape that goes along with corporate ownership. This also ensures, though, that standards are upheld. Fourth generation Thierry Stern, currently at the helm, personally listens to every single minute repeater the brand builds and gives his approval (or disapproval) before releasing the watch for sale.
While Patek Philippe does not create every timepiece in a limited edition, the brand does regulate how many watches are produced annually – ensuring that there is no saturation in the market. As such, the watches hold their value. Additionally, the brand strictly controls its distribution, selling only through the finest retailers in the world. In fact, when the brand builds a highly complicated watch – naturally limited in numbers due to the sheer time it takes to build one – potential customers have to submit applications in the hopes of being able to purchase a piece.
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