Watchmaker Antoni Patek started making pocket watches in 1839 in Geneva, along with his fellow Polish migrant Franciszek Czapek. They separated in 1844, and in 1845 Patek joined with the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, inventor of the keyless winding mechanism. Patek Philippe & Co was founded in 1851.
Patek Philippe made the first wrist-watch in 1868. The company pioneered the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches.
Like other Swiss manufacturers, the company produces mostly mechanical movements of the automatic and manual wind variety, but has produced quartz watches in the past, and a digital wrist watch, the Ref. 3414.
Patek Philippe is notable for manufacturing its own watch components. Patek Philippe timepieces have recorded some of the highest prices in worldwide auctions. The company produces about 40,000 watches annually. Patek Philippe has been owned by the Stern family since 1932. It is presently run by Thierry Stern.
No other watch brand compares in prestige to the storied Patek Philippe. While brands like A. Lange & Sohne, Jaeger LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin may aspire to the coveted reputation of Patek Philippe, none come close to the desirability of owning a Patek. Watches produced by Patek are considered by many collectors to be recession proof. Timepieces produced as recently as the 1950s and 1960s routinely sell for over a million dollars at auction.
Patek offers an extensive collection of watches including the Calatrava, Twenty4, Golden Ellipse, Gondolo, Aquanaut, Nautilus and of course its complicated watches including Grand Complications that feature celestial charts, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars. In short, Patek Philippe is unrivaled in all of watchmaking.