1839: Antoine Patek, a Polish businessman, and François Czapek, a Czech watchmaker, established Patek, Czapek & Cie in Geneva.
1851: Jean-Adrien Philippe became a partner in the company he had joined in 1844. Following the departure of François Czapek, it was renamed Patek Philippe & Cie.
1932: Dialmakers Charles and Jean Stern bought the company, which became Patek Philippe SA. It still belongs to the Stern family.
Patek Philippe belongs to the very small circle of historical Fine Watch brands. Established in 1839, since 1932 it has been in the hands of the Stern family. From its earliest days, Patek Philippe showed a remarkable capacity for innovation and excelled in the artisanship required to create a beautiful watch. This dual expertise was backed by sharp business acumen. Patek Philippe quickly became a favourite among a wealthy international clientele who commissioned bespoke watches from the Manufacture. One of these discerning patrons, the American financier Henry Graves, took delivery in 1934 of a pocket watch with 24 complications, a record for that era.
Placing quality uppermost, for many years Patek Philippe had its watches certified by the Poinçon de Genève. In 2009 it instead created its own standard of quality, the Patek Philippe Seal, which applies to every stage from the manufacturing to the sale of the watch. Since the mid-2000s, Patek Philippe has dominated the auction market. The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva holds one of the richest private collections of timepieces in the world.
Based in Geneva but with production sites spread throughout the Arc Jurassien, Patek Philippe is renowned for its command of complications, in particular striking watches. While perpetuating traditional watchmaking skills, it also embraces new technologies, such as silicon. Accordingly, in 2011 Patek Philippe endowed a research chair in micro- and nanotechnologies at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.