Exploring The Beginnings Of The Patek Philippe Brand


There is no one more qualified than Patek Philippe when it comes to impeccable craftsmanship, groundbreaking designs, and a rich history of Genevan watchmaking inventions. The company was founded in the nineteenth century by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe, and it has a long history of innovation, with over one hundred patents to its credit. The brand is known for its handcrafted watches and skilled craftsmen who ensure that each timepiece is of the highest quality.

Where it all Began

Both Patek and Philippe were on their own horological journeys prior to their formation. Patek, Czapek & Cie, the forerunner to the Patek Philippe brand, was founded in 1839 by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek. They collaborated for six years, producing several exceptional timepieces. Following the dissolution of their partnership in 1845, they went their separate ways, each producing their own timepieces.

Meanwhile, Jean Adrien Philippe was establishing himself as a driving force behind his inventions, winning a bronze medal at the Paris Industrial Exposition for his keyless winding and hand-setting system. He applied for a patent for this design, which attracted a lot of attention, including Queen Victoria’s.

The Creation of Patek Philippe

Both watchmakers joined forces in 1851 to form Patek, Philippe & Ce- Fabricants à Genève, the forerunner to the brand we know today. Throughout their long career, they continued to supply timepieces to royalty and aristocrats, among others. 

One for a precision regulator, perpetual calendar mechanisms for pocket watches, and the first double chronograph were among the new patents for their timepieces. As a result, the “Duke of Regla” Westminster chime pocket watch was created in 1910, the first complicated ladies’ wristwatch with a five-minute repeater was created in 1916, the first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch was created in 1923, and the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar was created in 1925. 

The world, and also the company, suffered greatly during the Great Depression, and in 1932, Genevan brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern invested in Patek, Philippe & Cie to help them recover. The Calatrava: Ref. 96 debuted the same year. The model 5196, an updated version of the watch, is still part of the Patek Philippe collection today. Many more iconic timepieces were created after that, and patents were filed.

The Stern Family

Henri Stern became president of Patek Philippe in 1958, and his son, Philippe Stern, became president of Patek Philippe in 1993, keeping the company in the Stern family. Patek Philippe’s first annual calendar was released in 1996, and it has been available in various forms and styles ever since. The date function on the Patek Philippe 5396 is expressed through a combination of dial apertures and a sub dial.

Philippe Stern’s passion for timepieces led to the establishment of The Patek Philippe Museum in 2001, which is now regarded as one of the world’s leading horology museums. The “Temple To Watchmaking,” as it is known, houses over five centuries of watchmaking history and houses an antique collection that includes timepieces dating from the 16th century to the Patek Philippe collection, which dates from 1839 onwards. A library with over 8000 publications on time and time measurement is also available at the museum.

The Patek Phillippe for the Modern Era

Philippe Stern has continued to introduce new watches throughout the twenty-first century, including the 10-Day Tourbillon, Ref. 5101P, and the Annual Calendar, Ref. 5250, which features the first escape wheel for a Swiss lever escapement made from a revolutionary new silicon-based material.

Patek Philippe Advanced Research: launch of the silicon-based Spiromax balance spring and Patek Philippe Advanced Research: launch of the Pulsomax silicon-based escapement were among the projects Philippe commissioned.

His son, Thierry, who became president of Patek Philippe in 2009, inherited his passion. The Oscillomax ensemble, which includes the Spiromax balance spring, the Pulsomax escapement, and the GyromaxSi balance, was introduced in 2011.

The styles of Patek Philippe ladies watches have also been pushed forward in terms of design under Thierry Stern’s presidency. In 2009, the CH 29-535 PS movement was integrated into the Ladies First Chronograph, and in 2011, the Ladies First Minute Repeater, Ref. 7000R, was released.

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