Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 as Patek, Czapek & Cie, by Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek. In 1845, Patek, Czapek & Cie became Patek & Cie when the former was liquidated and Jean Adrien Philippe, a French watchmaker who invented the keyless winding and hand-setting system, was invited to join the company. Five years later, the company unveiled the smallest watch at that time, No. 3503—a four-inch pocket watch, at the Great Exhibition in London. That same year, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie.
The company produced its first pocket watch with a tourbillon, No. 25 298, in 1863, as well as a patented “slipping spring”, invented by Philippe. Perhaps one of the brand’s most famous early watches is the first Swiss wristwatch with a baguette movement paired with a yellow gold bracelet. The watch was sold to the Hungarian Countess Koscowicz. In 1902, the company was awarded a patent for its first double chronograph. Among Patek Philippe’s most notable watches include the world’s most expensive watch, ‘The Graves’ supercomplication pocket watch, which sold for US$11million at an auction in 1999; the Nautilus, one of the pioneers in the luxury sports watch category; and the Ladies First collection, a line of technical timepieces made exclusively for women.
In 1932, Jean and Charles Henri Stern owners of a fine dial manufacture in Geneva, invested in the company and it would remain in the family’s hands to this day with fourth-generation Stern, Thierry, at the helm since 2009. The manufacture also has its own proprietary quality assessment, the Patek Philippe Seal, governed by strict regulations and applicable to the entire timepiece. It is the only seal in the industry, which guarantees lifetime maintenance of any Patek Philippe watch in the world.
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