On May 1st, 1839, Antoine Norbert de Patek, Francois Czapek, and Thomas Moreau founded Patek, Czapek & Cie. Six years later in 1845, Czapek departed the company and started his own brand while Antoine was joined by French watchmaker Adrien Philippe. In 1851, they renamed their joint venture Patek, Philippe & Cie and in 1868, they created the very first Swiss wristwatch, made for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.
Since its founding, Patek Philippe has made and patented some of the grandest complications in the world. In 1881, they received the patent for the perpetual calendar in pocket watches and in 1902, the patent for the world first double chronograph (or rattrapante). Between 1910 and 1925, Patek Philippe created the Westminster Chime pocket watch, developed a ladies five-minute repeater wristwatch, a double chronograph wristwatch, and a perpetual calendar wristwatch. Everyone from John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, and Pablo Picasso to royalty like the Sultan of Oman have all donned a Patek Philippe timepiece.
Patek Philippe is the last independent, family-owned watchmaker and still operates in Geneva to this very day. The advertising statement “You never actually own a Patek Phillipe. You merely look after it for the next generation” is a true one. Nearly everything they create becomes an instant classic, be it a simple time-only watch from the Calatrava line or a complex Grandmaster Chime. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Patek Phillipe in the annals of watchmaking history and they have the distinction of being the first name in the “Holy Trinity” of watchmakers.