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What Makes Patek Philippe Watches so Valuable?

Why are Patek Philippe timepieces so expensive? Seven Factors That Made the Brand Successful 

Most people would agree that Patek Philippe is the best-known brand among all significant Swiss watchmakers. Why is this the case? The Editorial Director of WatchTime's German sister magazine Chronos, Rüdiger Bucher, outlines seven factors that have contributed to Patek Philippe's success.


Reason #1: Expertise

Every facet of fine watchmaking has been mastered by Patek Philippe, from the hand-winding two-hand watch to the "basic" complications with features like an annual calendar or second time zone to the intricate masterpieces with minute repeaters, tourbillons, and split-seconds chronographs. The utilisation of contemporary, high-tech machinery and expert artisan craftsmanship go hand in hand.

Reason #2: Tradition

Achieving this degree of skill takes time. Since Patek Philippe has been around for 177 years and has made watches consistently during that time, a tremendous amount of experience has been passed down from one watchmaker generation to the next.

Reason #3: Vision for the future

Despite having such a long history, Patek Philippe is not tied to its past. On one hand, the firm upholds the principles of the ancient craft of watchmaking while making significant investments in the use of modern materials, technologies, and production techniques. The company has also made a conscious effort to develop new styles, such as the 2015 pilot's watch, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time as shown below.

Reason #4: Quality

The most valuable resource of Patek Philippe is quality. The company as a whole is built to support it. The company enforced strict criteria that frequently go above and beyond typical industry standards with the launch of the Patek Philippe Seal in 2008. However, the dedication to quality extends beyond the timepieces themselves. The highest standards are set for personnel training at Patek Philippe, from the watchmaker to the salesman, and this includes customer assistance that spans both sales and service.

Reason #5: Family-owned company

Since its founding in 1839, Patek Philippe has been run by the Stern family, who are currently in their fourth generation of ownership. As a result, the company's ideology and practices are quite consistent. It also rules out the prospect of drastic course changes brought on by a new management team, ensuring that the successful path will undoubtedly continue. This guarantees sustainability, which is strongly related to the next point.

Reason #6: Value

Anyone who buys a Patek Philippe is aware that if they decide to sell it later, they most likely won't lose any money. And while there is no way to forecast this in specific circumstances, it is certainly likely that the watch's value may grow over time. But it's still comforting to know that even though most people buy watches for personal enjoyment rather than with the intention of selling them right away.

Reason #7 for the success of Patek Philippe: Perfect decoration

During the manufacturing process, the hand-applied embellishment is of a high calibre in terms of both technique and aesthetic. Even small components like wheels require between 40 and 60 steps. Enamel painting, really delicate engraving, setting precious stones, and inlays are only a few examples of the artisanal techniques that are important.