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First Look

We celebrate Patek Philippe with an exhibition of its very best calendars, chronographs and travel watches

By Sarah Jayne Potter   |   3 minute read


In 2021, a number of Watches of Switzerland showrooms will be presenting an exclusive Patek Philippe Exhibition.

Patek Philippe is famous across the world for producing timepieces of exceptional quality and reliability. Its researchers, designers and engineers guarantee perfection at every stage of creating their watches – from the first sketches to the assembling of the movement. And this long-standing commitment to excellence is why the family-owned watch manufacturer has such a proud history of supplying watches to royalty and the aristocracy, not least Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

We are celebrating Patek Philippe’s master craftsmanship with a dedicated exhibition, and we have selected some of its finest pieces to highlight the intricacies of its exquisite watchmaking. We’d be delighted to welcome you to our luxurious showrooms to experience the Patek Philippe Exhibition Collection, celebrating the best of its calendars, chronographs and travel watches. Book an exclusive personal appointment with one of our experts to explore the exhibition.

Patek Philippe is known for impeccable craftsmanship, hand-finished detailing and unmistakable design. But the brand’s focus isn’t solely on aesthetics – the Genevan watchmakers are also horological pioneers.

From its earliest days, the company created by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Jean Adrien Philippe was achieving patents for its complications, including the first perpetual calendar mechanism for pocket watches in 1889 and the first double chronograph in 1902.

The brand turned its creative focus towards producing tool watches for pilots and the military in the years leading up to the Second World War. The 1930s was also the decade in which it joined forces with the brilliant Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier to create its first World Time model. Using Cottier’s mechanism, the watch could display the time in cities across the world by way of a 24-hour inner ring and an outer ring labelled with locations in each of the world’s 24 time zones.

A few years later, in 1941, Patek Philippe began regular production of the perpetual calendar wristwatch. Its design set a new tone throughout the world of haute horlogerie, not only for the convenience of the perpetual calendar itself but also for the style of the complication, which is still recognisable in dials produced today.

By the mid-1950s, the brand was looking to expand its tools for travellers, and Cottier was called upon to design a second-time-zone watch that could be read at a glance and updated without having to take it off your wrist or stop the time. By 1961, the brand was making a Travel Time with dual hour hands that simultaneously displayed the time in two time zones (the extra hour hand could be adjusted easily with a pushbutton, or hidden under the ‘local’ hand when not travelling). It’s a perfect example of how Patek Philippe mixes innovation with beautiful design – a recipe that it still follows to this day.

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