Patek Philippe is renowned for their supreme mechanical prowess. They’ve created some of the most intricate manual watches ever made. Patek Philippe helped pioneer countless complications, like the perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater. Buying a Patek Philippe watch means you'll own a timepiece that’s one of the finest in the world. See what celebrated models we have available in our collection of exceptional used Patek Philippe watches for sale.
Polish immigrants Antoine Patek and Francios Czapek founded their company in 1839. In the early years, they specialized in making bespoke pocket watches for royalty and other elite members of society. After just a short time, Patek attended the Exposition Nationale des Produits de L’Industrie in Paris, France in 1844. It was here that he met a man named Adrien Philippe. Philippe had just been awarded a bronze medal for his innovative keyless winding and hand-setting system. Within a year, Patek and Philippe decided to go into business together, officially forming the Patek Philippe brand in 1845. That same year, the duo produced their first pocket watch together using Philippe’s keyless winding and hand-setting system.
For the next few years, the company continued to serve their high-class clientele. However, Patek knew that the brand needed to think bigger and grow their international reputation. So, in 1851, he traveled to the United States and began working with Tiffany & Co. This partnership has continued to this day.
The brand’s aspirations to build their international presence quickly paid off. In 1853, Patek Philippe participated in the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations in New York City. Here, they received a silver medal for their creations. Just two years later, the brand received another silver medal at the World’s Fair in New York City.
The company was beginning to pick up speed, and Patek wanted to keep up their momentum. He continued to cultivate their partnership with Tiffany & Co. In addition, he traveled to cities all around the United States until he accumulated orders for 150 watches. His persistence and perseverance made a lasting impression on Tiffany & Co. and the American market. Ever since, Patek Philippe has maintained this highly regarded reputation.
During Patek’s travels and focus on the business, Philippe remained committed to the development of the brand’s watches. In 1861, he finalized and patented his keyless stem-winding and setting mechanism. Two years later, he published a book on keyless timepieces. That same year, he produced their first pocket watch with a tourbillon and invented a mainspring called the “slipping spring.” Then, in 1868, the first Patek Philippe wristwatch was born. It included an impressive perpetual calendar, split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater.
In 1877, the brand lost its dedicated original founder, Antoine Patek. A few years later in 1885, Philippe brought his son Emile Joseph into the business. He began to train him as his successor. Nearly a decade later in 1894, Adrien Philippe passed away as well.
Into the twentieth century, Emile Joseph continued his father’s legacy, maintaining Patek Philippe’s place as a leader in the industry. Then, in 1932, the Stern brothers, who owned a dial manufacture in Geneva, purchased the business. During the Stern family’s leadership, Patek Philippe has created some of the most iconic models. They introduced the first Calatrava in 1932. By 1968, they had debuted the first model in the Golden Ellipse collection. Then, they added the Nautilus to their catalog in 1976.
In 1989, Patek Philippe celebrated their monumental 150th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, they debuted the most complicated wristwatch ever made, the Reference 3974. This timepiece featured a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and moon phases and remained in production until 2000.
To this day, Patek Philippe continues to thrive under the Stern family leadership, and their watches continue to be some of the most highly sought after around the world. In June 2019, at Christie’s An Evening of Exceptional Watches, the top lot was none other than a Patek Philippe. The Reference 3448 sold for a record-breaking $1,155,000. In addition to special models like this, models like the Nautilus have reached cult status. So much so, Patek Philippe can’t keep up with the demand. Buyers and collectors may sit on a waiting list for years to get the coveted model. As a result, used Nautilus models have become increasingly popular in the pre-owned market.
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