As with any brand, the public is often left wondering, "who wears this brand?" and when it is an extremely exclusive watchmaker like Patek Philippe with watches that cost well in excess of $40,000, that question "who wears Patek Philippe watches?" can never be too far from anyone's mind. Sure, Patek Philippe watches are expensive, so we can deduce that those wearing their watches have the financial means to do so, but who would own a Patek Philippe watch? What do they do, and who are they as a demographic? Let's explore Patek Philippe's history and a bit about their current standing within the market to understand precisely those questions. And hey, you might even see a suggestion for which Patek Philippe you should buy!
Heritage and History
It's safe to say that no other brand in the industry is as universally revered or respected as Patek Philippe. The Genevan heavyweight reigns supreme in all areas from reputation, quality, and prestige to savoir-faire, thanks to their claim as one of the oldest and most luxurious manufactures in the world. Founded in 1839 by Polish watchmaker Antoni Norbert de Patek, Patek began producing pocket watches in Geneva. Then, in 1845, Antoni joined forces with Adrien Philippe, a watchmaker who was equally well-versed in the craft. As a result, the company was established as Patek Philippe & Cie in 1851.
Patek Philippe adopts a classical and refined approach to their watchmaking by implementing an extraordinary level of craftsmanship into every timepiece they create. Patek's quality has been the driving force behind their success, displaying unmatched artisanal excellence in several aspects of their creations throughout their history. This success initially got Patek Philippe's timepieces onto the wrists of royalty and aristocracy, unlike any other brand.
In the same year, the brand was officially founded as we know it today; in 1851, Queen Victoria herself commissioned a keyless pendant watch. Following the Queen, Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, Queen Elizabeth II, Albert Einstein, Princess Diana, Marie Curie, Pope Pius IX, J.F.K., Picasso, and many other legendary figures from history have worn Patek Philippe's watches.
It goes without being a surprise that a brand as highly regarded as Patek Philippe would find itself on the wrist of history's most influential, important, and famous figures. Besides the fact that they could afford Patek's watches, they rightfully understood that they deserved the very best, a claim that Patek understands about themselves too, which brings us to the market today.
The Modern Market
While it might be a surprise for many people, you cannot simply buy any Patek Philippe watches that you want straight out of a display cabinet in an Authorised Dealer or Boutique like you could 5-7 years ago. Instead, today the brand is more exclusive than ever as Patek dictates whose wrist they find themselves on. As such, their watches are reserved for those with purchase histories or those willing to make long-term investments in Patek's standing within the market and buy their watches for a hefty premium on the secondary market.
This exclusivity has enabled Patek Philippe to become one of the most sought-after watchmakers in the world, and as such, they find themselves on the wrists of the wealthiest and most famous figures we have today. While politicians, dignitaries, and royalty continue to wear Patek Philippe watches, as they always have, we find that Patek Philippe watches are now often found on the wrists of athletes, artists, actors, and watch collectors with significant purchase histories.
As the brand continues to soar in popularity, it will become the case that Patek Philippe's watches become increasingly reserved for people with the social standing deserving of their timepieces, as deemed by the brand themselves. A consequence of their incredible popularity, Patek Philippe has always been on the wrists of those deemed worthy. While it might seem narcissistic for a watch brand to perpetuate, it seems that is the way things are headed as waiting lists become decades-long and required spends just to get onto those lists become ever-inflated.