The history of Patek Philippe is bound up with the stories of three different men; František (François) Czapek was born in 1811 in what’s now the Czech Republic, followed in 1812 by Antoni Patek de Prawdzic who was born in Piaski, near Lublin, Poland. Jean Adrien Philippe was born in 1815 in Eure-et Loire in France. In 1839 Czapek and de Prawdzic (who’d changed his name to Antoine Norbert de Patek after arriving in Switzerland in 1835) founded watchmakers Patek, Czapek & Cie in Switzerland. In 1844, Antoine Norbert de Patek and Jean Adrien Philippe both separately attended the Exposition Nationale des Produits de l’Industrie in Paris, and became friends. In 1845 Patek, Czapek & Cie was liquidated and replaced with Patek et Cie, a partnership between Patek and Philippe. In 1851 they became Patek, Philippe et Cie. In 1868, Patek Philippe created the first Swiss wristwatch, which was sold to Countess Koscewicz of Hungary.
Since then, the company has continued to manufacture fine wristwatches, renowned for their quality and precision, and is one of the last independently owned manufacturers. Good examples of Patek Philippe watches are popular at auction. Of particular interest to collectors are early examples of innovative designs and limited edition pieces, such as watches featuring perpetual calendars, split-seconds chronographs, moon phases, and minute-repeating mechanisms. There’s a buoyant market for Patek Philippe watches in general, but early examples of these innovative models are particularly sought after. Patek Philippe watches remain very collectable, with condition and rarity being driving factors when determining price. Any proven links with famous owners will add to the value, as will original packaging or cases.
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