The prestigious Swiss luxury watch company, Patek Philippe (pronounced pa-tek • fee-leep), saw its beginnings in 1839 in Geneva with the partnership of watchmaker Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek. As a result of ongoing disagreements, the two separated and the company was dissolved in 1845. Patek joined forces with watchmaker Adrien Philippe and in 1851 the two became Patek, Philippe & Cie (Company). Patek Philippe, in 1868, designed the first Swiss wristwatch. The Countess Koscowicz of Hungary was the recipient of that historic timepiece. Since 1932, Patek Phillipe has been owned by the Swiss Stern family. Its current president, Thierry Stern, proudly proclaims to the world that in order to guarantee high quality and exclusivity, Patek Philippe purposely limits the number of products manufactured yearly by only 1-3 percent per year! In a list of the top ten most expensive watches ever sold at auction as of 2018, seven are Patek Philippes. The most expensive watch ever sold at auction worldwide is the Patek Phillipe Henry Graves Supercomplication. It sold in Geneva for a record-setting $24 million in 2014 at Sotheby’s Geneva Auction! Notable Patek Philippe timepiece owners have included Leo Tolstoy, Pope Pius lX, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Nelson Mandela, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth ll. FYI: The production of a single watch movement’s components at Patek Philippe involves 1,200 to 1,500 individual steps and 1,035 employees are involved in the production of 1 timepiece! As their company slogans states: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”
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