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Patek Phillippe & Co, initially known as Patek, Czapek & Co, was founded in 1839 by Antoni Patek, a Polish immigrant in Switzerland and a retired lieutenant in the Polish army and Franciszek Czapek who was a gifted watchmaker. In the early stages, they manufactured pocket watches on individual orders, but later on, they hired at least half a dozen of workers and were able to manufacture around 200 watches per annum. Those pieces manufactured by them were known to be absolute masterpieces which maintained high technical and artistic standards.
But for some reason, disagreements grew between the two partners, making Czapek withdraw himself from the company. As a result, in 1845, Czapek was replaced by Adrien Philippe. The company was known as Patek & Co. Adrian Phillipe, a renowned French watchmaker who invented the keyless winding technology for pocket watches. Their work was soon recognized by many higher personalities in society, and their business started blooming rapidly. With the growth of the business, Adrien Philippe became unhappy that his name was not there in the company name. Therefore on the 1st of January 1851, the company changed its name to Patek Philippe & Co.
You never really own a Patek Philippe. You simply look after it for the next generation.
In the same year, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased a few of their pieces at The World Fair, which was held in the United Kingdom. That incident is considered one of the central pivot points in the history of Patek Phillipe, which paved the way to their success. Patek Philippe stood out from other watchmakers because of their outstanding craftsmanship and the unique work of art engraved in their watches.
In 1836 Patek Philippe made their first wristwatch for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. After the demise of Antoni Patek, one of the sons-in-law of Philippe took his position and later, before the passing of Philippe, Adrian Philippe handed over his position to his youngest son.
Later in 1932, The Charles and Henry Stern watch agency in the USA bought Patek Philippe & Co, and they still own the company. After Sterns took over Patek Philippe in 1936, they started importing watches of Patek Philippe from Switzerland to the USA. This opened doorways for Patek Philippe to enter the North American market, considered the best collectable market.
After that, they released various notable watch models such as “The Calatrava” wristwatch in 1932, the Heures Universelles collection, which was introduced in 1939, The Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 1941, and The Nautilus in 1976, which is considered one of the most iconic designs of Patek Philippe even today, The Sky Moon Tourbillon in 2001 which was a fundamental model with 12 complications and much more.
Apart from that, Patek Phillip has released special edition watches for their anniversaries. They released The Caliber 89 to celebrate their 150 th Anniversary and The Grand Master Chime to celebrate their 175 th Anniversary.