Patek Philippe SA, based in the Canton of Geneva and the Vallée de Joux, is a Swiss luxury watch and clockmaker founded in the 1800s. It has been owned by the Stern family of Switzerland since the 1930s. Patek Philippe is one of the world’s oldest watchmakers, with a continuous watchmaking history dating back to its foundation. Over 400 retail stores and more than a dozen delivery hubs are distributed across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Over 400 retail outlets and more than a dozen delivery centers are spread across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. It opened the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva in the 2000s.
Patek Philippe is widely regarded as one of the world’s most distinguished watch manufacturers. Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX, Marie Curie, Queen Elizabeth II, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Princess Diana, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Leo Tolstoy are just a few of the renowned Patek Philippe patrons and timepiece owners over the years.
In 1996, Patek Philippe produced the first Calatrava model, Ref. 96, which was developed by English horologist David Penney, who was motivated by the German Bauhaus art movement. The Calatrava was first introduced by the Stern brothers shortly after they purchased Patek Philippe to help the company get through the Great Depression.
Calatrava’s original Ref. 96 has been in production for almost 40 years, and subsequent models include Ref. 2526, Ref. 3520, Ref. 5196, and so on. The Calatrava wristwatch has been a flagship model of Patek Philippe since its inception and is known for its simple and elegant design. Since then, the Calatrava Cross has been the company’s logo.
After believing it was time to introduce a high-end, high-featured sports watch, Patek Philippe created the Nautilus collection in the 1970s. The original model was made of steel and was designated as Ref. 3700. It was created by Swiss watchmaker Gérald Genta, who previously worked for Audemars Piguet on the Royal Oak series, and was introduced by Patek Philippe amid the quartz crisis in the hopes of re-engaging people in high-end Swiss mechanical timepieces.
Patek Philippe’s overall marketing strategy included the Nautilus series, which had to update the brand image while maintaining tradition. The aim was represented by dynamic new-generation corporate leaders. As one of the watches in the Patek Philippe Nautilus wristwatch line celebrated the brand’s 30th anniversary, the Ref. 5711 and 5712 models quickly rose to prominence.
Sky Moon Tourbillon
The first Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatch, the Ref. 5002, was introduced in 2001. The tourbillon, minute repeater, sky chart, and moon phase & orbit are among the 12 intricacies on the wristwatch’s two dials. The business released the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002 years later, which had the same 12 complications as the first edition. The new form took seven years to design, with each piece requiring more than 100 hours of engraving time.
Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon was the most intricate wristwatch. Only 3–5 pieces are projected to be produced each year, with each piece costing over US$1.2 million. Each time an order is placed, a customer must apply for a new credit rating. Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, handles these requests. Poly Auction in Hong Kong auctioned a Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G three years ago, for US$2.707 million (HKD 21,240,000), making it one of the most expensive timepieces ever sold at auction.
The Investment Value
Patek Philippe exceeds all other watchmakers in terms of resale value, whether vintage or modern. Patek Philippe’s 175th-anniversary line watches are already fetching exorbitant prices on the secondary market. Pieces like the 5131 Cloisonné Enamel, which were found in a retail store and sold at auction, had a retail price that was at least double their auction price. The fact that they were recently discontinued in white and yellow gold may add to their worth.
In a broader, more historical context, a Calatrava might have been purchased for $300 in the 1950s; today, they can fetch more than $20,000. These watches used to sell for about $20,000 but now may sell for over $400,000. An original Nautilus from the 1970s, which sold for less than $3,000 at the time, now sells for more than $50,000.
There is More For Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe watches are unrivaled in terms of design, artistry, and craftsmanship. Patek’s cases, for example, say it all: they may appear basic in execution overall, but Patek doesn’t cut corners. Cases are cast and machine-finished by some other watchmakers, generally at an outside shop; at Patek Philippe, cases are mostly created in-house and are frequently forged from solid chunks of gold or platinum.
Patek employs time-honored case-making techniques that date back to the 1800s and are only used by a few modern watchmakers. Making one of its cases, like making the timepieces themselves, necessitates know-how that has been passed down through the generations. That is the allure of a Patek Philippe timepiece.