Why is Patek Philippe so expensive? Patek Philippe is a Swiss watch manufacturing company based in Geneva, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1839 by Henri Philippe Patek and his sons Paul and Cesar as A. C. Patek & Fils S.A., but the family now runs it as a privately held company that is the only authorized manufacturer of watches bearing the Patek Philippe name. Patek Philippe is known for its extremely expensive watches and among collectors, the brand enjoys a legendary status. While the company never publicly discloses production figures, some estimates suggest it produces around 175,000 watches per year. Patek Philippe watches are generally considered to be among the most complicated-to-service, and most desirable in the world across all price ranges.
Patek Philippe is commonly cited as the most expensive watch brand in the world. A Patek Philippe 18K pink gold watch (made in 2008) is estimated to retail at $5,000,000 while a Patek Philippe “Grand Complication” with an ultra-rare perpetual calendar and an eight-day power reserve (a wristwatch model) is priced at a staggering $30 million. It is said that Patek Philippe watches are “among the most sought-after and collectible luxury watches”.
So why is a Patek Philippe watch so expensive? Here are the top 10 reasons.
1. Quality and craftsmanship
Patek Philippe watches are recognized as “particularly well-made.” The company is known for making many of its watches with parts made by third-party manufacturers in Switzerland, France, and Japan. While these parts are not cheap, they are no doubt of high quality. Many Patek Philippe watches are assembled with some form of gold-plated metal (usually rhodium or platinum). The company has an established track record of high quality and this is usually reflected in the price.
2. Older watches are arguably more valuable
Collectors have high regard for Patek Philippe watches that have stayed longer in the market, with the majority having been originally purchased from the 1950s to 1970s, or even earlier (some dating back to World War I). There are two reasons for this. One, of course, is the fact that these watches have been passed down from one generation to another. This allows the owners to get a sense of history in the watch and gives them a greater sense of appreciation. The other reason is that these watches are less common in the market. In addition, there is an increasing demand for older models of Patek Philippe watches today due to their rarity, which also contributes to higher values later on.
3. Claiming “intangible assets”
Patek Philippe is known for its claim of ownership on aspects of its watches that are not tangible, such as the concept and design. For example, the company holds specific patents on certain parts and features in its watches, including various technical features such as the self-winding mechanism that powers the movement inside each watch. This recognition is likely the reason why Patek Philippe watches have higher resale values compared to other brands and due to their exclusivity, they are sought after.
Patek Philippe makes a range of watches with custom-made movements and cases, which can be specially made to order. This customization process tends to require some time and cost, but the unique designs tend to appeal to collectors. Because Patek Philippe watches are so customized, it is known that the brand’s owners have “the ability to dictate price”.
5. Watch dials are often more valuable than watch cases
Patek Philippe watches are most commonly made from gold or platinum, and the watch dials are one of the most valued parts of the watch. The timepieces with traditional dials have an art deco-style design, with a three-quarter movement (meaning a 45-degree angle when viewed from top to bottom) and it is made up of about seven concentric circles (the outermost circle being circular). Patek Philippe watches are known for the high quality of their dials. Some collectors have bought just the watch dials separately.
6. The majority of Patek Philippe watches are hand-made
Patek Philippe watches are generally considered to be luxury items, and their price tags reflect that classification. The company produces about 175,000 watches per year, but the majority of watches are made entirely by hand. Consequently, the price tends to correlate with the amount of labor required and the cost of this labor.
7. Patek Philippe watches hold historic value too
Some Patek Philippe watches have sold at auction for millions of dollars. Many prestigious and rare Patek Philippe watches have fetched record prices, particularly when they are sold at auction. The company is known as a leader in watchmaking and this reputation is likely what contributes to these high prices.
8. Patek Philippe has limited production runs per year
The company produces many models of watches, but they do not produce a large quantity at any given time. For example, the last time that Patek Philippe produced more than 300 watches per year was in 1991. The company has stated that it will not produce more than 500 watches per year despite the growing demand for its products. This consistency in production helps to prevent too much supply and therefore, keeps prices high.
9. Patek Philippe watches have been part of history too
Patek Philippe has been making watches since 1839 and it has often been a part of history and the lives of influential people. For example, Patek Philippe watches have been worn by notable people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Charlie Chaplin, and Harry Winston.
10. The company’s owners, were partners with the House of Stern
Patek Philippe’s owners are descendants of Alfred Neiman (1924-1940), who had a different surname than those he worked with after arriving in Geneva to start his business. His descendants chose to honor him by keeping the name “Patek and Co.” Hence, the founders of Patek Philippe have roots in a partnership and they are not just watchmakers by trade.
With so many reasons to buy a Patek Philippe watch, it is no wonder that these watches are highly valued today. A person can tell you how much it will cost, but unless you have an appreciation for the art behind these watches, you may not be able to understand why they are so valuable. One can only hope that this article provided you with a few new ideas on the topic.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it worth buying a Patek Philippe?
If you are considering purchasing a Patek Philippe watch, it is wise, first, to understand all the options that are available and then to scrutinize them. Choosing a Patek Philippe watch includes considerations of size, dial material (most notably, mother-of-pearl), type of movement, and diamonds or other precious stones. These factors determine the price range. The main consideration is what you plan on using the watch for to decide which is most important to you.
Your watch collection should not just consist of Patek Philippe watches. Other luxury watches are of the same caliber in terms of quality and craftsmanship. A good example is Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Watches. Audemars Piguet is available in three collections: Millenary, Royal Oak, and Offshore. In terms of functionality, they all have the same features with only minor differences such as size and water resistance. They all offer automatic movements with an additional hand showing the date.
Other luxury watches to consider include Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, IWC, Jaeger Le-Coultre, and Rolex. Each watch has its uniqueness which makes it worthwhile. You may want to consider a watch in a different collection than what is considered normal wear. This allows you to express yourself in your choice of watch. You can carry two or three Patek Philippe watches if you have a variety of designs and colors together.
Is Patek Philippe the most expensive?
Patek Philippe is the most expensive watch in the world today. But what does that mean? Well, a Patek Philippe can sell for up to $3,995,000! The company began in 1839 when two Hungarian brothers were working on pocket watches and used pocket watch parts. They made very high-quality timepieces and they are still around today with more than 200 watches being produced each timepiece!
Pateks can be considered an art form because of their complicated mechanisms and beautiful faces with intricate detailing. No one who knows watches will argue that Patek Philippe has produced the highest quality timepieces in the world.
The company has worked with the most expensive materials available on earth, even gold from the 24 karat mark. They have worked with leather and alligator leather for straps, precious stones for adornment, and even went as far as 24 karat gold for some of their watch covers. The most expensive Patek is worth $3,995,000.
Patek is a Swiss company that focuses on precision and quality. They are known for their complications, which are detailed mechanisms inside the watch that allow it to do things like measure celestial events. They were also one of the first companies to create watches with perpetual calendars in them as well as chronographs/stopwatches that are capable of telling time down to one-hundredth of a second.
If you are in the market for a fine timepiece, you might want to consider a Patek Philippe. They are one of the last companies left that has mastered the art and craft of watchmaking, and they have been doing it for 160 years! Their watches made today cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but consider this about a Patek: It will last for generations.
Why is Patek more expensive than Rolex?
It is a very fine question to ask, and it requires a lot of studying up on the details. You must consider the designs and discern between them. Additionally, you must look at their manufacturers and where they are made. Also, you have to consider the quality of each watch. For Patek Philippe, they must invest in many more technologies than Rolex. This is because the brand is quite expensive and well respected.
Many people do not know that Patek Philippe watches are hand-made one by one in Geneva, Switzerland. This is a very expensive part of the world to live in. It is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world when it comes to living standards. It is Switzerland where all of the best watch brands are made. This is not because the Swiss are naturally better at making watches, but because they have more time to invest in the different technologies.
Who owns Patek Philippe?
The Swiss Stern family