As the Jet D’Eau crashes down upon Lake Geneva, some of the most outstandingly stunning watches in the world are been painstakingly pieced together a few short kilometres away. Patek Philippe watches are considered by many to rank among the most prestigious watch brands in the world. As central London pawnbrokers, we have the luxury of examining many brands but Patek Phillipe stands out from other brands for their sheer mechanical brilliance and meticulous attention to detail.
Not many things in life links Pope Pius IX to Queen Victoria, but it seems that their mutual appreciation of Patek Philippe timepieces does just that. Loans on Patek Phillipe watches are straightforward for pawnbrokers in London, like Hopkins & Jones – the quality underwrites the investment. Yet what makes the story of the Patek Phillipe brand so fascinating?
The Patek Philippe story stretches back beyond many other watch brands and speaks of a Europe of a different time. Antoni Patek had criss-crossed his way across Europe and Prussia, fighting in the Polish army, before settling in Geneva to make watches with Czech partner, Franciszek Czapek. Not all partnerships are meant to be and – following an acrimonious split in 1844 – Patek began to work with French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, the inventor of the key-less winding mechanism.
A clever business partnership, the Patek Philippe brand is still considered to be one of the most important brands of luxury watches in the world whereas Czapek’s solo venture ceased trading in 1869.
Since it’s conception in 1845, Patek Philippe has secured more than 80 patents for a great many of their movements, cases, hands, dials and appearance. Many of these patents have inspired and informed progress and development throughout the watch making community. Phillipe developed one of the greatest innovations in timepieces when he created the keyless watch, removing the need for a tiny – and very fiddle some – watch key. Integral to the watch, keys were no longer lost or easily broken. In addition to the double chronograph patent and the first self-winding wrist prestige watch in 1953, Patek Philippe have developed many innovations that it’s hard to believe are such recent additions to chronology. In 1959, the brand launch the time zone watch that made it possible to track times across the world while, in 1985, they developed a mechanism by which the ever-moving Easter date could be determined.
One of Patek Philippe’s more mind-boggling patents demonstrates just how seriously the brand takes precision. Philippe Patek expects their watches to last more than one life time. This means that – as well as a superb heirloom – this prestige watch is expected to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the Gregorian calendar. The Patek Philippe secular perpetual calendar means that the watch keeps the full 400-year cycle of the Gregorian calendar and – at the end of every century – the mechanism decides whether it is a leap year or not. This means that a Patek Philippe is precise to the second as well as the century at any given moment in time.