As the last independent family-owned business in Swiss watch industry, Patek Philppe has managed to hold on to a very special status. The company was founded by Count Nobert Antoine de Patek in 1839, and in 1845, master watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe came on board. Literaly since then, Patek Philippe has been known for creating high-quality mechanical watches, some with extremely sophisticated complications. Even among its competition, the manufacture enjoys the highest respect. Proof of the brand’s enduring reputation, perhaps, is the almost $3 million auction price achieved at Sotheby’s in June 2012 for the Yellow Gold Repeating Wristwatch.
In 1997, Patek Philippe moved into new quarters, based on the most modern standards. The facility boasts the world’s largest assembly of watchmakers under on roof, an yet, production figures are comparatively modest. Approximately 20,000 mechanical watches leave the manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates – rest of the offering are women’s quartz watches. A small section of the building is reserved for restoring old watches using either parts from a large and valuable collection of components or rebuilding them from scratch. The company recently opened a highly industrialised second branch between La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, where case components are manufactured, cases are polished, and gemstone setting is done. Patek Philippe’s main headquarters remain in Geneva, but the manufacture no longer has a need for that city’s famed seal: All of the company’s mechanical watches now feature the “Patek Philippe Seal,” the criteria for which far exceed the requirements of the Poinçn de Genève and include specifications for the entrie watch, not just the movement.