A Patek Philippe is expensive. You’re buying into the Swiss brand’s rich heritage and a leader in the world of fine watchmaking. A company that prides itself on being a master of all the skills required for creating the most complicated and aesthetically stunning timepieces.

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At the recent Christie's Auction in Hong Kong, three separate Patek Philippes sold for close to £1 million each. So, what makes them so valued and desired, by both wearers and connoisseurs?

Established in 1839, the company considers itself a custodian of watchmaking traditions. Their pieces are works of art featuring the highest quality engineering. And they are hand-finished, from the case to the precise mechanical movements. A basic watch can take nine months to complete. 

There are a limited number of specialists who are able to ensure the flawless running of a watch or, to decorate it. Patek Philippe recruits specialist engineers and artisans who, in turn, are trained in centuries-old watchmaking techniques. Skills passed down through generations.

The Geneva manufacturer also creates and engineers all movements and external components in its own workshops. The individual parts of the movements and cases are produced, finished, and assembled in-house. They have complete control over each piece produced, from the first sketches to final assembly.

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Every single detail is considered to ensure the best possible product. All elements of a timepiece, including the movement, the inside and outside of the case, dial and pushpieces are immaculately finished.

This level of competence ensures Patek Philippe stands unmatched in its field. Their timepieces are renowned for a standard of excellence, embodied in the Patek Philippe Seal. This benchmark is applied to all their mechanical watches, guaranteeing the company’s quality criteria have been met - the strictest in Swiss watchmaking. 

Little wonder the family-owned company services and repairs all of its watches ever made.

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The Nautilus collection is  perfect for the purpose of illustrating case and bracelet hand-finishing – and in particular, polishing techniques. After machining, it takes around 55 different hand-finishing operations to complete its case and bracelet.

Upholding the great Swiss watchmaking tradition, Patek Philippe are also advocates for conserving the artistic skills needed in decorating timepieces. As far back as the 1600s, Geneva watches were recognised for their fine workmanship and their engraving and enamel decoration. They were considered Switzerland’s most beautiful and aesthetically sophisticated creations. 

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Every year, the brand presents a range of creations produced as one-offs or as limited editions, reflecting extremely diverse sources of inspiration. With pieces comprising wristwatches, pocket watches and dome table clocks, the Patek Philippe contemporary collection shines the spotlight on a wide variety of rare decorative handcrafts.

They create around 40 one-of-a-kind, with new models incorporating rare handcrafts also joining the regular collection. The aim is to project a strong, unique identity founded on tradition.

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These timepieces are obviously highly in demand. Whether it’s a new model added to a current collection or, a one-of-a-kind piece, these pieces will always be rare. Very few artisans have the skills to design at this level, especially on such small surfaces. 

These rare handcrafts are a testament to their abilities, always meeting the Patek Philippe haute horlogerie standards.

This contemporary collection shines the spotlight on a wide variety of rare decorative handcrafts. Patek Philippe remains an authority in watchmaking artistry - their museum houses some of the finest examples of this craft. It’s not for nothing it’s widely recognised as one of the finest horological museums in the world.

No wonder people are prepared to invest in a Patek Philippe, the timepiece ‘You never actually own. You merely look after it for the next generation.’.



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Our Links:

Click on the links below and get one of these fantastic Patek Philippe watches at Global Watches now (stock subject to change):

- Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A (Double Sealed) 

- Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1a (Grey)

- Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A-014 (Blue) 

Read our blog: A Journey Through Horological History 

External Sources:

Patek Philippe Savoir Faire

Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts 

Patek Philippe Museum: Sanctuary of watchmaking artistry