Over the centuries some watch manufactures have grown to an almost mythical status, becoming legends, and not only among watch collectors. Their fame has transcended the circle of initiates to gain worldwide recognition. As always with legends however, there remains gray areas. One such example is Patek Philippe. Many have tried to shed light on the history of this Old Maison, inlcuding the Mono team (cf. Nautilus History) but the picture was always somehow incomplete. Now however you have the opportunity to know everything you ever wanted about Patek, with the launch of an official book characterised as the definitive history of the legendary Swiss manufacture. Introducing “Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography” by Nicholas Foulkes – available now via Patek.com.
Many of us know the outline of Patek Philippe’s history: a manufacture created in 1839 by Polish watchmaker Antoine Norbert de Patek (1812-1877) who was subsequently joined by Adrien Philippe before the brand was acquired in 1932 by the current owners, the Stern Family. We can list off various milestones, such as the 1933 Henry Graves SuperComplication, the 1989 Calibre 89, the 1976 Nautilus, the WorldTime watches by Louis Cottier, the dozens of mythical chronographs, the invention of the Annual Calendar… So many things can be said about Patek Philippe. However, like always, some clarity is required. “Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography” by Nicholas Foulkes provides that clarity, shining a light on everything related to the Old Maison..
An acclaimed specialist in art and horology, Nicholas Foulkes is the author of around twenty books. This Biography, officially certified (pun intended) by Patek Philippe and spanning more than 500 pages, describes the evolution of the independent Genevan manufacture from its beginnings in 1839 to the present. Drawing on exclusive interviews with the company’s owners, staff and watchmakers past and present, as well as hitherto unseen documents from the company’s archives, “Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography” traces Patek Philippe’s history from founder Antoine Norbert de Patek’s early life in Poland, his exile, his life in Geneva, his meeting with gifted watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe, and the 1932 purchase of the company by the Stern family, whose members, over four generations, have turned it into the splendid manufacture it is today.
Among other notable anecdotes, the Authorized Biography reveals for the first time, the story of a unique timepiece bought by Queen Victoria for her husband Prince Albert. In addition, Nicholas Foulkes was granted privileged access to interview the widow of famed Swiss jewelry designer Gerald Genta, who was responsible for the design of the first Nautilus model in 1976.
“Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography” is available now from Patek.com only (until mid December) and will then be available at Patek’s retailers worldwide, Patek Philippe Salons and the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, as well as in conventional bookstores and e-commerce sites. For the time being, only the English edition is being released. It will be followed by other languages in 2018.
Some details about “Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography“
- Written by renowned historian, author, and editor Nicholas Foulkes
- Based on exclusive interviews with personalities who played pivotal roles in the history of the company as well as on original documents from Patek Philippe’s archives that were entirely re-curated over a period of more than 20 years
- Contains numerous previously unseen photos including one of a watch loaned to the company by its owner, Queen Elizabeth II
- Over 600 images, including specially commissioned photography by Andy Barter, Richard Foster, Jonas Marguet, and Jennifer Niederhauser Schlup
- 544 pages, 25 chapters, including a 40-page watch reference appendix and picture notes Format 289 x 305 mm
- Published by Preface, part of world-renowned publisher Penguin Random House
- Print run of 10,000 copies published in English, November 2016
- Other language versions to follow as of 2018
- The book can be ordered via patek.com now