To celebrate their 175th anniversary, Patek Philippe introduced a number of top quality limited series. The collection is a tribute to the city of Geneva and its heritage of craftsmanship.
By Britta Rossander
Antoine Norbert de Patek received a warm welcome from the citizens of Geneva right at his arrival in 1835. Four years later he started a watchmaking business under the name Patek & Cie. When he met the French watchmaking genius Jean-Adrien Philippe in 1851 and hired him, and later made him a business partner, he changed the name to the one we know today. Patek Philippe have been loyal to the city and canton of Geneva ever since, and still own the original workshop at Rue du Rhône where they have stayed since 1853.
Patek Philippe has always been known for skilled craftsmanship in every part and have become famous, much awarded and respected for their work. Not only when it comes to the movements, but also the engraving, guilloch, enamel, miniature painting, intarsia, jewelry work and skeletonizing to mention some of the fine arts.
In the 1940’s the company was sold to the Stern family, who right after the acquisition started collecting the finest watches and objects from the different branches of craftsmanship. The family wanted to showcase the best examples of decorative art in a miniature format.
The world famous collection was presented for the first time in 2001, the same year as the premiere of the Patek Philippe museum. Wanting to let the general public see these masterpieces, the Stern family built up a great collection of timepieces ranging all the way back to the 1600’s for anyone who wants to have a look and be amazed. The museum is several stories high and of
course contains a large number of Patek watches – but the historic experience is the biggest thrill of looking over counter after counter during the visit.
Preserving the knowledge and craftsmanship of all the special areas of watchmaking has become a matter of honor to the Stern family. The most skilled craftsmen were drafted to keep the traditions alive. In 1789 there were 200 engravers registered in Geneva – today their number is only about a dozen.
Anniversary models – some quick facts
Of the special watches, the Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175 is the most remarkable of them all. It’s the first double face watch from Patek Philippe and can be worn with either side up, focusing on time and Sonnerie or with the other side’s perpetual calendar. The case is 47 mm and contains a movement with 20 complications and 1,580 separate parts.
The Jump Hour Ref. 5275 in a tonneau shape is a feast to the ear as well as the eye. The jumping hands (second and minute hand) and the hour indication are clearly visible, and a signal sounds with every new hour.
The World Time Moon ref. 5575 and 7175 boil down to what a watch with universal time really is. An innovative moon phase display makes this watch a real gem. The case is 38 mm in diameter.
The Chronograph ref. 5975 och 4675 is the most popular complication for a Patek Philippe watch, for measuring time intervals with calibers developed inhouse. The anniversary watch contains a little more than an ordinary chronograph, and is with its extra scales almost a mechanical computer for the wrist.