Patek Philippe makes some of the most desirable luxury watches in the entire world. Those who really understand luxury watches are blown away by the company’s attention to detail as well as their inherent style. Auctions have been known to sell just one Patek Philippe for an astonishing eight-figures ($24 million to be exact.) So what exactly is their secret, and is it worth all the hype? It’s time to delve a little further into the manufacturer’s secrets so you can make your own decision.
It’s in the Family
Part of making a successful product means ensuring consistency. In a world of updating technology, that’s not always easy to do. With every new breakthrough in machinery or equipment, companies struggle to find a way to adjust to methods of how to make their product better without compromising the original quality that made their watches so beloved. But the Stern family has been keeping the company going for four generations, and their strategies have stayed the same since the early 1930s. With around 55,000 watches made a year, their production numbers keep supply low which only pushes demand higher.
Who They Cater to
The Stern family creates watches that make a statement, so they believe their company doesn’t have to add any more to the noise. This means no celebrity endorsements or other obvious advertising techniques. The person who wears the watch is a person who isn’t afraid to pay for quality. Customers of Patek Philippe are well-rounded people who appreciate culture, travel, and the finer things in life. Those who enjoy these watches aren’t trying to prove anything — they just happen to feel that Patek Philippe has a little more to offer than other brands. They know that they want from the moment they see it, and they don’t need anything more than that.
Part of Patek Philippe’s success is the control the Sterns have over production. If you would like to own a Grand Complication watch, then you’ll need the personal approval of the family. They do this because the watches aren’t exactly easy to make, so they need to keep the rate or production at a number they’re comfortable with. But this tactic also serves to push the rate of demand ever higher for watches of this caliber. And because you can’t find another watch of this caliber on the market, the demand stays high. If your watch happens to have chime complications on it, then you can bet Mr. Stern himself tested the sound before you ever held it. He’s following in the footsteps of the previous generations of his family. It’s the only way to ensure that each watch will meet the wearer’s expectations the first time around.
A watch to some people is just a way to tell time, but to others, it’s a modern miracle. It’s not necessarily a statement so much as it is a tribute to precision. Patek Philippe focused on complications as a way to elevate the luxury. From stopwatches to alarms to tracking the phases of the moon, the wearer can appreciate the timeless value that a watch can bring. Far from the bulky smartphones that everyone can be seen carrying (smartphones that will need to be replaced every few years), a Patek Philippe sticks to the principles that made them so successful. They focused on tweaking the mechanics of the watches to edge ever closer to actual perfection.
From design breakthroughs in restaurants to sometimes shockingly high price points, Patek Philippe continues to give their customers unique tales that only add to their mystique. The Nautilus, for example, is made from the same steel that WWII tanks used. Strong and surprisingly light, it gives the Nautilus a unique quality that gentlemen can’t necessarily find anywhere else. The Sterns continue to reinvent their watches little by little, while still honoring their old traditions. Even with the addition of 3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD) tactics, each and every step of the watch-making process is painstakingly micromanaged for the very best in quality. It’s why they’re able to service any Patek Philippe model from 1839 or after.