I recently asked the same question about Hublot watches for the Borro Blog. The upshot of that examination was that certain things drive collectability, and thus feed in to the appreciation of value. In the case of Hublot it was their use and development of new, exciting materials that are exclusive to their brand, the ability to produce a lot of components in house, and the historical (however recent) significance of the Big Bang model.
Patek Philippe have a long and storied history and hold the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously operational maisons that remains independently owned to this day.
The Fathers of Time
Patek Philippe was not the first brand in the world (in fact, Antoni Patek had another company before he teamed up with Adrien Philippe; for several years he was paired with Franciszek Czapek, whose name now adorns a revived brand since 2011), but it is often regarded as the ‘Big Daddy’ of Swiss watchmaking, and rightly so.
Patek Philippe watches are meticulously handcrafted in Geneva and expertly marketed across the globe. Their reputation is as a top-tier watchmaker that produces products that will stand the test of time.
In fact, this is so much a part of the brand’s reputation that their press material endlessly referencing the notion that the ‘owners’ of these watches are simply custodians for the next generation. It’s a slick angle, and one that perpetuates the idea that Patek Philippe timepieces are heirlooms in waiting.
And in all honesty, there is probably more truth in Patek Philippe’s flagrant insinuation of value appreciation than most any other brand. On their website, they even go as far as to claim that Patek Philippe watches are a good investment.
As with Hublot, there are certain characteristics of Patek Philippe watches that make them arguably sound investments: Inherent quality, the use of precious metals, and almost unrivalled provenance. You know what you’re getting with a Patek Philippe – it’s not just a watch for life; it’s a watch for several lifetimes.
I explored collecting watches as an investment in another article on this site, but one thing from that piece very much rings true when it comes to Patek Philippe, and that’s that every man and his dog knows how ‘collectible’ these watches are.
Remember that watch collecting is a saturated market. Yes, a Patek is one of the soundest purchases you can make in the industry, but don’t expect to be the only one who knows that Patek Philippe watches are a good investment. To trump the crowds of fellow consumers you will have to lock the watch away in a safe, tucked up in a soft cloth and away from direct sunlight.
But if it’s a monetary rather than esoteric return you’re after, then the custodianship of a Patek Philippe is most definitely something you should consider.
If you have an investment worthy Patek Philippe, learn about your options for borrowing against it.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.