For all of its history Patek Philipe has followed the tradition within Swiss watchmaking of outsourcing various pieces of work to different Cantons, or valleys if you like. This cost-effective system was part of the reason why the Swiss became the dominant force in watchmaking; they sourced the best parts, the most skilled artisans, and brought it all together for final assembly – using mainly women and children for the delicate work of fitting all those tiny springs, plates and cogs together.
Actually English watchmaking was much the same during the 18th and 19th centuries, but I digress.
Now Patek has a brand new factory, with a rooftop restaurant, four floors located BELOW ground, which should deter Ocean’s 11 type heist merchants. Basically, they’ve entrered the modern age, although Patek say they won’t be increasing production beyond about 62,000 units a year. Why would you? A glut of Pateks would only reduce the RRP frankly.
To mark the occasion a run of 1,000 Calatrava models will be produced with a decorated caseback, handsome concentric dial designs and the 324S Cal movement inside the 40mm stainless steel case. It retails at $28,000-ish. Even though it’s very much a dress watch, it also features some Super Lume on the hands and markers.
We will say it again, because it’s worth saying; If you have the money for a luxury watch then you should know that Patek will service, repair or restore EVERY watch they’ve ever made. A stark contrast to Rolex, or many other Swiss brands, who simply wash their hands on historic models and even restrict – or cease – spare parts supply so that it becomes impossible to repair a vintage model except by cannibalising a contemporary example. We don’t agree with it, but to be fair you won’t find Triumph Thailand remanufacturing Bonneville 650 pistons or footrest rubbers.
Patek will even restore any watch they manufactured, going right back to 1839 – their founding year. Impressive. A tip of the hat to Patek for offering that lifetime of care for those who genuinely do want to pass on their watch to the next generation.