Patek Philippe Watches – Quality and Features
If you like luxury, quality and lots of features, you may find Patek Philippe watches to your liking. Founded in 1852, this privately-held Swiss firm may be the final word in luxury timepieces. Sure, lots of companies manufacture expensive wristwatches, and these days, it seems like everyone is incorporating gold, platinum or diamonds into their designs.
What sets Patek Philippe watches apart is their movements, which often feature complications galore. Not all of their models are feature-laden, of course, but if you want to see the best and most elaborate work the art of watchmaking can produce, you’ll find it in this iconic brand.
Read on for the full Patek Philippe watches review.
As befits a company that’s more than 150 years old, the build quality is exceptional. They use rock-hard sapphire crystal to protect the face, and cases are made from stainless steel, platinum and various types of gold.
Water resistance varies from 30 meters to 100 meters, but then again, this company isn’t making diving or sports watches; these are fine art and luxury items, generally worn on special occasions or on business.
Many of their models feature literally thousands of moving parts, and the result is an accurate timepiece that’s going to look great.
For a company that makes ultra-high-end timepieces, it may be surprising to see that Patek Philippe watches are offered for sale with mechanical, automatic, and quartz movements. Quartz isn’t what they’re known for, but their electronic models are the most affordable ones in their product line. They’re also quite accurate and relatively maintenance free.
It’s the manual and automatic movement models that have earned the company their strong reputation, as they have specialized over the years in incorporating lots of features into their models. Their top of the line models often feature a number of complications, including things you’ll never find in other companies’ products.
This company has long led the market in innovation, being the first to introduce models that featured a perpetual calendar, a chronograph, a minute repeater that chimed on the minute, quarter hour or hour and others.
Their celebrated Calibre 89 pocketwatch, made in 1989, included nearly 20 complications, including a display of temperature, the date of Easter, the time of sunrise, the time of sunset, a star chart and more. Some of their more complex models include thousands of intricate moving parts that all work together to produce a beautiful, functional timepiece.
The styling tends to the traditional; many of their models wouldn’t look out of place 50 years ago. They do offer bits of color in their face designs, and cases are available in gold, platinum and stainless steel.
Bracelets are available in those metals and you can also get bands in a variety of fine leathers. They currently offer more than two hundred different models of watches, with both men’s and women’s models. Keep in mind that while they do offer several hundred models, the company only sells 40,000-50,000 units per year, so everything is effectively a limited edition.
They simply don’t make a lot of anything, which just adds to their desirability. If you like traditional styling, you’ll almost certainly find something to your liking.
Like most luxury timepieces, these watches do require some special care. The company recommends that you have your watch inspected annually to ensure that the protective seals against water damage are intact. You should rinse your watch with tap water after exposure to salt water.
The company also recommends that you send the watch back to them every five years for servicing. This will involve disassembly and an examination of the parts in the movement. Worn parts are replaced, and everything is cleaned and lubricated. Watertight seals are replaced and the watch is reassembled and tested for two weeks. The exterior of the timepiece can also be cleaned and polished at this time at the owner’s discretion.
Aside from this, you should store your watch in a cool dry place. Quartz models will have to have the battery replaced every two years. Manual models will need to be wound daily and automatic models should be worn regularly or stored in a watch winder to keep them working properly and displaying the correct time.
You’ll receive a two year warranty by the manufacturer against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This is a typical warranty for high end timepieces, and we should point out that factory defects in Patek Philippe watches are quite rare.
More true than for any other brand, you’ll find prices to range from expensive to extremely expensive. We’ve seen nothing new for sale for less than about $12,000 and prices for some special items can reach $500,000 or more. They do have a lot to offer in the $20,000 to $50,000 range.
The company rigidly controls distribution and pricing, as do most luxury watchmakers. Collectors adore the brand, and you’ll find them paying huge premiums for older models and limited edition items that are no longer available. There’s a good chance that any watch you buy from this company will appreciate in value with time.
You can buy at one of the three company owned stores, which are located in Geneva, London, and Paris. Otherwise, you can officially purchase them only from authorized retailers. There are roughly 100 of those in the United States; they are all high end jewelry stores.
As the company strictly controls both distribution and pricing in order to avoid “diluting” the value of their brand, it can be quite difficult to buy them at a discount. Due to the wide variety and limited nature of the company’s product line, it’s unlikely that you’ll find any single retailer that has everything in stock. You may have to shop around a bit if you’re looking for something special.
Patek Philippe watches offer something for everyone – they’re beautiful, they’re well-built, they work well, they come with a legendary reputation and they’ve got lots of models with gadgets for those who enjoy seeing the best the art of watchmaking has to offer. For those who want the very best in a wristwatch, you can’t go wrong with Patek Philippe watches.