Handcrafting a Continuity
ASIDE FROM CREATING BEAUTIFUL WATCHES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION, PATEK PHILIPPE IS ALSO DEDICATED IN PRESERVING ELABORATE HANDCRAFTS ASSOCIATED WITH WATCHMAKING, THAT DATES BACK TO THE 16TH CENTURY
Patek Philippe has been preserving age-old decorative skills that have been directly associated with horology for more than four centuries. The Stern family is dedicated in protecting these artistic skills for future generations. “Patek Philippe has always tried to preserve artistic crafts even when there was little demand. We would always provide artisans with work so they could maintain their dexterity and traditions,” says Philippe Stern, the stalwart behind the brand. His son Thierry agrees, “The beauty of handcrafted pieces is that the hand of the craftsman is indispensable.” This is why Patek Philippe retains the talents of artisans that are rare to find today, like chainsmiths. “Once upon a time, chain smithing was all the rage. Today, we have two working for us to keep it for the future,” says Philippe. Aside from chain smithing, other crafts under Patek Philippe’s protection include marquetry-making, enamelling, gem- setting, guilloché and engraving. Each year, Patek Philippe produces around 40 one-of-a-kind works of rare handcraftsmanship. The regular collection is also enriched annually with new models decorated by artisans at the top of their game. The Sterns themselves are involved, especially Thierry and his wife Sandrine, the head of watch creation for the brand. Patek Philippe continues to commission work from gifted artisans to preserve these age-old decorative skills and maintain their dedication to rare handcrafts. Safeguarding these ancient professions comes with its own rewards, as Thierry and Sandrine attest to in interviews. “In the creation of rare handcrafts, the key is pleasure: the pleasure of creating, of bringing to life, and obviously of sharing these objects within our family or with our clients,” concludes Sandrine in describing why the entire Patek Philippe family is steadfast in this noble act of art conservation.