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Under the Radar: Patek Philippe on Watches and Wonders, the importance of retaining creative control of the firm, and what growing Swiss watch exports means for it

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When it comes to watch manufacturers, one would realise that most of the big players are owned by luxury groups with multiple brands under their belts. But instead of that, our guest for today prides itself as the last family-owned independent Genevan Watch Manufacturer. 

It is also part of the so-called “The Holy Trinity” or “The Big Three” in horology - a term that describes three of the biggest and oldest watchmakers in the world. 

Founded in 1839, our guest Patek Philippe has been perpetuating the tradition of Genevan watchmaking without interruption for close to two centuries. 

As a family-owned independent watch manufacturer, the firm enjoys total creative freedom to entirely design, produce and assemble what experts agree to be the finest timepieces in the world, amassing a repertoire of over 80 patents so far. 

Being an independent and private company also means Patek Philippe was able to make certain decisions that were unimaginable at other companies, such as retiring one of its most popular models, the Ref. 5711 Nautilus watch. 

But what was the rationale behind the move? And with Patek Philippe launching a total of 11 watches at the highly anticipated Watches and Wonders this year, what is next for the firm as it continues to reinvent the wheel? 

On the demand side of things, a Robb Report article citing Watch Pro reported in May that Swiss watch exports grew 4.5 per cent globally, bolstered by a 11.6 per cent rise in the US. The showing was a reversal from the decline seen in March, where shipments to China and Hong Kong fell. 

But what does that mean to Patek Philippe operationally and how long is the waitlist for a first-hand timepiece?

On Under the Radar, The Evening Runway’s finance presenter Chua Tian Tian posed these questions to Deepa Chatrath, General Manager, Patek Philippe Southeast Asia.

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