Patek Philippe watches History

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Patek Philippe History

The history of Patek Philippe


The History of Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Models

The History of Patek Philippe

Antoni Norbert de Patek was a brave and intelligent soldier who took part of the Polish rebellion against Russian domination in 1830. After that, Patek among other people were forced to leave Poland and it was in 1833 when this man settled down in Switzerland.

By this moment Patek started developing his artistic abilities and he began studying with the well known landscape artist, Alexandre Calame. Together with his passion for the art Patek bought his first watch movements and then sold completed watches to Polish clients. Soon he became a businessman buying and selling watches to an influential Polish clientele. Due to the growth on this business, he thought about performing his own watches company considering the possibility of having a partner and he chooses his friend Franciszek Czapek.

In 1839 Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek settled down a company named "Patek and Czapek". At the beginning the company had no employees so they purchased movements from various companies specialized in the manufacturing of raw movements (ebauches), sent them to a case maker to be cased, and then finished them in their shop.

But in 1844 Patek met the young French inventor of the keyless winding mechanism; Adrien Philippe and he decided to start a new partnership leaving aside Franciszek Czapek. That was not an easy issue. Replacing Franciszek Czapek could mean loosing the current clientele and being in risk of bankruptcy. However, he made the decision. In 1845 Philippe became the head watchmaker and together with Vincent Gostkowski, Philippe and Patek signed an agreement. One of the clauses of the agreement stated that Patek was in charge of the general direction of the firm and for its marketing, Gostkowski of the accounting and correspondence, and Philippe responsible for the watchmaking. Patek was the only person entitled to make executive company decisions despite of the fact that Gostkowski and Philippe each received one third of the company's profits. During these years the company bought unfinished movements from several companies, including Louis Audemars, Vacheron & Constantin, Breguet, Doloche, Dupan et Haim, Piguet et Fils, Le Coultre, among others for Patek & Cie, but they did not produce its own movements. Patek, being afraid Czapek would create a rival company, took his cautions in replacing Czapek in the partnership. But it was not enough because Czapek not only established a new company but also he made Patek`s clientele leave him. Soon Czapek`s company became a serious competition as well as Patek`s new partnership with Philippe started to succeed. Philippe introduced in 1850 the first ebauches distinct movements thanks to the machinery Philippe acquired for the company. The first ones were stamped with "PP" on the dial plate. After that, an important event would change Patek`s fortune. Queen Victoria was going to buy to Patek & Co. a small lady's watch, about 30 mm. in diameter, which needed no key for win-ding or setting. This dated from 1857 when Queen Victoria attended the Universal Exhibition in London. And also did Prince Albert. With this immediately, Patek`s company gained prestige. Later, the company`s name changes to Patek Philippe & Cie. One by one, Patek`s financial problems began to disappear and he introduced his products on several markets such as Russia and also he supplied Rodanet of Paris, Peña in Madrid, Elimayer in Leipzig.

After world was divided into 24 time zones in 1870, most watchmakers tried to develop a device which would indicate the time in at least two different cities in the world. Later, Louis Cottier, an independent Genevan watchmaker created an ingenious universal time display mechanism that allowed watches to simultaneously indicate the local time in several cities. Cottier also created several series of universal time watches for Patek Philippe.

Patek Philippe constitutes one of the first watchmaking firms to enjoy business relations with the United States, signing an exclusive agreement with Tiffany & Co. New York. The firm is known in Latin America when business relations began with distributors Gondolo & Labouriau, in Rio de Janeiro.

Wearing a watch around the wrist was catching on, so watchmakers began challenging the integration of various complications into their new timepieces. Patek Philippe`s introduced his first perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1925. Apart from that, to indicate the day, date and month, considering the number of days of each month (29, 30, 31) and also the 29th of February in leap years, Patek Philippe`s displays the ages and phases of the moon. Patek Philippe`s general production introduced the first bracelet chronographs with or without a split-second mechanism and wristwatches with minute repeating.

The economic crisis of 1929 made the production to slow down throughout the 1930`s.

Although the economic problems, Patek Philippe`s continued developing its creativity and produced remarkable timepieces such as the "Calatrava" with triple date and perpetual calendar (with aperture), age and phases of the moon and minute repeating. This watch, the most complicated of its time, was encased in a new design named "Calatrava".

The name Calatrava has historical origins that are dated from the middle-ages when a Spanish religious order defended the Calatrava citadel against the moors. At the end of the nineteenth century, Patek Philippe adopted the emblem of the brave Spanish knights as its brand symbol, which signs Patek Philippe watches today.

In 1932 the company was bought by two brothers: Charles and Jean Stern and since then the company became a family company; Mr. Philippe Stern, President and Mr. Thierry Stern, his son, Vice-President.

In 1976 Patek Philippe introduced the Nautilus sports watch collection and in 1993 the Gondolo collection.

The beautiful Patek Twenty~4® ladies watch was launched in 1999 and it is a modern interpretation of the Gondolo timepiece

Today Patek Philippe continues researching and developing new inventions and techniques for the watchmaking industry.

Patek is considered for many the best watches ever made.

Patek Philippe Models


Patek Philippe's signature model

Calatrava collection shows a remarkable precision, characteristic that appears in every Patek's Pilippe creation, as well as an original artistic touch that makes this watch unique. Calatrava collection was born as a result of an avant-garde philosophy of aesthetics that highlighted sleek lines and insuperable elegance. Ladies' and men's watches were chosen as jewels in every new generation. Calatrava models are recognized for being extra thin, and having hobnail patterns or wide polished bezels and changing faces. These patterns make Calatrava models unique. This watch clearly shows the real Patek Philippe style.



The Golden Ellipse introduced in 1968 was inspired in one of the most beautiful chapters of horological history characterized by perfect proportions and a beautiful case. Golden Ellipse has become one of the flagships of the Patek Philippe collection and of course one of its most valued creations due to its incomparable simplicity and formal purity. The elliptical design is based on the golden section, a ratio discovered more than two thousand years ago.

The Golden Ellipse is a model characterized with the balance and visually attractive.



The Gondolo collection was introduced in 1993 and in this creation Patek Philippe's shows his inclination for the Art Deco style. The Gondolo shows Patek Philippe's aim to create watches which make history in the company. The name of the collection arose because of the "Chronometro Gondolo" watches produced by Patek Philippe for Gondolo & Labouriau company.


Aquanaut model fulfills two characteristics at the same time, the elegance and the casual style mixing quality in technical features and the creativity in the original design. The case is underscored by the screw-down crown for extra protection on the wrist of active people. Apart from that, Aquanaut has a modern gestalt with a rounded octagonal shape. The surface structure of the landmark dial reflects the texture of the strap made of a high-tech composite. It is soft, comfortable, resistant and hypoallergenic.



Nautilus collection shows the flattering redesign Patek Philippe's elegance and sophistication. The universal shape of a porthole found on virtually all maritime vessels. The original model was the Ref. 3700/1 in steel. Nautilus is defined as a classic elegant sports watch and the original reference is one of the most sought-after timepieces at auction.



A 'complication' in watchmaking refers to mechanical features that a watch can have apart from telling the time and the date. Patek Philippe follows a tradition in complications that are necessary for everyday situations, such as Annual Calendars, dual time zones and World Time displays.



Complications in watchmaking has become on of the most important challenges of the designer's expertise and watchmakers' skill. At Patek Philippe we master all horological complications and have twice this century built the world's most complicated portable timepiece. In order to make of this watch a jewel of timeless worth, artistic and skilled watchmakers have worked on this collection. 



Twenty~4® was created thinking about a refined, active woman of today who looks for a watch that shows her style and is to be wear on all occasions. Each model is characterized by perfection in craftsmanship, and curved silhouette of the case.

Each model is recognized by Top Wesselton diamonds on the bezel, the case, and/or the bracelet. The crown of each Twenty~4® is studded with an onyx or a diamond solitaire. The gold collection consists of precious small-size models and pieces of high jewelry. A line of Twenty~4® rings and earrings accompanied the watch's collection.