“It is very distinctive, it is very stylish – it is very Louis Vuitton… wherever you go in the world you will see people carrying the distinctive Louis Vuitton brand… whether it is a little bag or a huge suitcase. It talks of distinction and taste” – Cherie Blair at the London Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison Opening.
Patek Philippe is to watches what Rolls Royce is to cars. Patek Philippe holds the title for being the best watchmaker in the world. There is a lot of truth in this claim; Patek Philippe is definitively one of a group of makers regarded as the best. The other top echelon Swiss names are :- Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin and the German maker A. Lange & Sohne.
Patek Philippe is considered the best by most aficionados however all the above mentioned brands are special. The question of who is the best is subjective. It is like asking who makes the best car in the world. Is it Rolls Royce, Maybach or Bugatti? One thing is clear and this is all these brands are special.
Patek Philippe pieces constantly sell at auctions for record high prices. These are usually for vintage pieces made in small numbers. Not all Pateks are extremely valuable. Many 1970s quartz Pateks have aged and are now out of flavor as they are quartz and also are in a dated design.
I have owned several quartz Pateks and they represent good value. The only danger is that an old quartz movement may fail and there is only one path for repair – the official Patek agent. This could make for an expensive repair.
The most famous model in the Patek range is the Calatrava series. This range was introduced in 1932 following the Bauhaus design rules of form and function. In my opinion a Calatrava in gold on a leather strap is the epitome of the perfect dress watch. I believe all models of Pateks would make an excellent addition to a collection. With this brand you simply can not go wrong.
Most modern Pateks can be bought for a good discount on the used market. The key is knowing a few trustworthy vintage watch dealers. If the piece is however your only Patek; buying new does also have merit. Due to Patek’s annual volume being so low stock is always hard to find.