There are a number of fine Swiss watch companies in the world that have a reputation for excellence. Each company has its own unique standards and qualities for which it is famous. Today we’d like to make a brief introduction of the Patek Philippe company, and the history of watches.
A Short History of Watches
In Europe in the 16th Century, the obvious need for carrying about a time keeping device resulted in the first wearable clock. The concept that a clock could be portable had been around since the previous century, but as technology advanced, clocks could become smaller. This advancement resulted in small clocks worn around the neck as a pendant.
Peter Henlein, a German clockmaker miniaturized torsion pendulums and coil springs, making smaller timepieces possible. These small timepieces became known as Nuremberg eggs, since they originated in that part of Germany where Peter Henlein lived.
Supposedly when Charles II of England introduced waistcoats in 1675, the watch transitioned from being worn around the neck to being carried in pockets. Practically, the larger pendant watches were too large to be carried in pockets, so the shape and size shrank at this point.
Soon, watch fobs became popular, and by the late 1800s, Prince Albert had introduced the “Albert Chain” which secured the watch to a person’s clothing, by pinning it into place.
Watches during this era were wound using a key inserted into the back of the watch, rather than by using a knob, like we are familiar with on mechanical movement watches of today.
The first wristwatch is believed to have been created by Abraham-Louis Breguet for the Queen of Naples in 1810. There is, however, evidence of “arm watches” dating back to the 16th Century when Robert Dudley gave one to Elizabeth I of England.
The World’s Finest Watches
Swiss Watches are, of course, the most famously well-made, fine watches. Many of the companies have been around since the mid-1800s, and maintain their standards of absolute excellence today. Fine companies include:
- Audemars Piguet
- Tag Heuer
- Vacheron Constantin
- Patek Philippe
The History of Patek Philippe & Company
In 1839, in Geneva Switzerland, Antoni Patek, a Polish man, began his career in watchmaking by making pocket watches with a fellow Polish immigrant. They parted company in 1844, but in 1845, Patek joined his business with French watchmaker Adrienne Philippe. Philippe was the inventor of the keyless winding mechanism. They officially founded their business, Patek Philippe in 1851.
Patek watches popularized various complications, or functions, of watches over the years, including the perpetual calendar, chronograph, split second hands, and minute repeater.
Patek Philippe watches were introduced to the American marketplace in 1935, by the Henry Stern Watch Agency. Just prior to this introduction, however, Patek Philippe custom designed one of the world’s most expensive watches for an American banker, Henry Graves, in 1933. This watch known as the Henry Graves Supercomplication, has 24 complications, and today is valued at $24 million.
A Patek watch was a fine watch for business and formal living only until 1976 when the Patek Philippe Nautilus was introduced as one of the world’s finest sports watch.
Patek Philippe Collections
Patek Philippe watches come in a variety of elegant designs, each a part of a powerful collection of the finest quality watches.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Collection
One of the finest sports watches in the world, the Patek Nautilus comes in a variety of materials ranging from steel to rose gold, or white gold, to two metal combinations. These beautiful watches are designed for those with active lifestyles who don’t want to compromise with a lesser quality timepiece. The Nautilus line has over 30 designs for men or women.
The Patek Philippe Grand Complications Collection
Patek Philippe is known for crafting watches with the most complications at the highest quality levels.
With nearly 4o designs in the grand complications collection, a Patek Philippe Grand Complications watch will provide the most options for your timepiece. The line comes in a number of materials, ranging from rose gold to platinum, and a vast number of complications, or functions, for the watches.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Collection
31 designs in the Calatrava line offer a variety of straight forward, elegant options for those without need of all of the complications like sunrise times and moon phases. These beautiful designs are available in rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, and platinum, with a variety of elegant leather straps in various colors.
Exploring the Finest Watches
Patek Philippe has been chosen as one of the finest watchmakers in the world for a reason. Their various collections are each intricately designed, hand finished, and beautiful. As you investigate the world of Swiss made watches, be sure to explore the many collections from Patek Philippe. You may find the perfect watch that you’ve been looking for.