On the corner of Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers and Rue du Colonel-Coutau, there’s a lot to watch. Observing time on machinations that go as far back as the 16th century, a visitor can lose track of the hours passing by in the outside world. Home to the most complicated timepiece ever constructed, this Swiss collection is worth one’s time.
The Patek Philippe Museum story begins in 1839 when Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek began manufacturing clocks in Geneva. Partnering with French horological inventor Adrien Philippe in 1851, the Patek Philippe luxury watchmaking brand as it’s known today was born. Renowned for their intricate designs and complex machinations, the company only releases a certain amount of watches per year – making them highly sought after by collectors and everyday watch wearers alike. Out of the top ten most expensive watches ever sold in international auctions, nine are from the assembly lines of Patek Philippe.
Born into the modern family running the Patek Phillipe business, Philippe Stern collected watches from a young age before becoming company president from 1993- 2009. At first, consisting of Patek Philippe pieces, Stern’s collection broadened in the 1980s to historical clocks and timepieces, and in 2001 the Patek Philippe Museum was opened to showcase the sizable assortment of watches along with company history. Today, the museum houses over 2,500 watches and clocks dating back over six centuries. The institution’s exhibitions include the Caliber 89 pocket watch, manufactured in 1989 by Patek Philippe, containing 1,728 components, calculating split seconds, and even marking the current date of the Easter holiday.
If one is inspired by the collection of this museum and wishes to make a purchase, a long wait might ensue due to the brand only releasing a small batch of watches each year. Thankfully, there’s no limit to the amount of yearly visitors at the museum.