As anniversaries go, Patek Philippe’s 175th birthday bash, held Oct. 13 at the watchmaker’s manufacture in Geneva, was grand in more ways than one.
The family-owned firm, revered for producing complicated watches sought after by collectors worldwide, introduced a collection of commemorative timepieces highlighted by the Grandmaster Chime (Ref. 5175). The double-face wristwatch, which comes in a 47 mm 18k rose gold case, is packed with 20 complications, including grand and petite sonneries, minute and date repeaters, a perpetual calendar, and second time zone. The model will be made in seven examples, six for global distribution and one for the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, each priced at 2.5 million Swiss francs ($2.6 million).
Courtesy Patek Philippe
“Tonight we will be pleased to show the result of seven years of hard work in terms of the movement,” Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern told a group of 300 journalists gathered at the firm’s headquarters in Plan-les-Ouates, a municipality of the canton of Geneva.
“We are talking about one piece, but you will see many others,” Stern said. “It’s about simple beautiful design, about the choice of the dial or hands. All that has to be done by people who love, who are passionate about Patek…. All of them taught me a lot of things. Not about how to make money, but about how to make beauty. If you make beauty, you will last.”
The evening also saw the introduction of numerous commemorative models, including two Multi-Scale Chronographs (Refs. 5975 and 4675), two World Time Moon models (Refs. 5575 and 7175), a Chiming Jump Hour (Ref. 5275), and a number of limited-edition Rare Handcrafts models that pay homage to specialized artisanal skills such as engraving, guillochage, enameling, marquetry, stone-setting, and skeletonizing.
Courtesy Patek Philippe
Prior to unveiling the timepiece, Thierry Stern’s father, Philippe Stern, made clear that at a time when the watch industry is facing unprecedented consolidation, Patek Philippe will remain independent.
“I can assure you that Patek Philippe is not going to change its philosophy or its strategy with Thierry,” he said. “Our priority is always to focus on quality. All agreements have been taken in order to be sure that for the next 25 years, if not more, Patek Philippe will stay a family business.”
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