HomeInternationalPatek Phillippe's ties with celebrity and popular culture from From Queen Victoria...

Patek Phillippe’s ties with celebrity and popular culture from From Queen Victoria to Cardi B

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

From Joe DiMaggio to Albert Einstein, Princess Diana to Victoria Beckham, watchmaker Patek Philippe has lengthy been a celebrity favourite. But the Swiss model’s popularity has taken an sudden flip lately.

Namedropping luxurious labels could also be nothing new in hip-hop, however lyrical references to Patek Phillippe exploded in 2017. That 12 months, one-third of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 talked about the model, in accordance to music web site Genius.
Travis Scott has rapped about his “two-tone Patek,” Cardi B (pictured prime) “flooded” hers with diamonds and Gucci Mane prompt that his was “gon’ make this crooked judge try throw the book at me.” Young Thug, Migos and Future have all talked about their Patek Philippe timepieces, whereas Lil Uzi Vert has such affinity with the watchmaker that he launched two tracks honoring it, “Patek” and “New Patek.” (“New Patek on my wrist,” he mentioned within the latter, “white diamonds, them sh**s hit pink.”)
The phenomenon coincided with a wider surge of curiosity in watch gathering, in accordance to Nick Marino, senior vice chairman of content material at on-line watch journal, Hodinkee.

“Since Patek Phillipe has always has been one of the most prestigious watch brands, it stood to reason that it would be the one that everyone was talking about,” he mentioned through video name.

“Hip-hop has a long and storied history of shouting out brands that artists like, going back to ‘My Adidas’ by Run-DMC, and it just so happened that watches caught fire.

Rapper Future sports a Patek Philippe watch at the UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball in 2016.

Rapper Future sports activities a Patek Philippe watch on the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball in 2016. Credit: Paras Griffin/WireImage/Getty Images

“Rappers are sensible,” he added. “They know what standing means and they know what exclusivity means. You would possibly anticipate rappers to speak about Richard Mille, as a result of that is a younger, flashy, ‘new cash’ watch model — and rappers love that one too — however I really like that they love the old-money watch manufacturers.

“By positioning themselves as Patek customers, rappers are positioning themselves in the lineage of elites going all the way back to the 19th century. That’s power.”

The model’s place in pop culture is a far cry from its Nineteen Nineties “Generations” advertisements, which featured predominantly White dad and mom and their kids bonding over treasured horological heirlooms. The memorable marketing campaign helped set up the well-known catchphrase, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

As a model that promotes historical past and heritage as markers of high quality, changing into a standing image for the Instagram technology might need sat uncomfortably with the 182-year-old firm. But, Marino mentioned, the watchmaker has not visibly repositioned its model — nor want it fear about changing into too popular: “In a lot of ways, the young audience — the hip-hop audience — has found Patek maybe rather than the other way around.

“This model has been an emblem of luxurious since 1839, so I do not suppose there’s any hazard of them being seen as a flash within the pan,” he said, adding: “Twenty-seventeen was a lifetime in the past in hip-hop, and persons are nonetheless speaking about these watches.”

A watch from the Nautilus range, which contains some of Patek Philippe's most sought after models, on display at 2019 Baselworld luxury watch and jewelry fair in Basel, Switzerland.

A watch from the Nautilus vary, which accommodates a few of Patek Philippe’s most wanted fashions, on show at 2019 Baselworld luxurious watch and jewellery truthful in Basel, Switzerland. Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Indeed, according to Sharon Chan, director of watches at Bonhams auction house in Hong Kong, Patek Philippe’s place in the zeitgeist is “a really constructive signal” for its future.

“Five to eight years in the past, Patek Philippe watches have been principally purchased by older shoppers,” she said over the phone. “But lately, it is all of the youthful technology — the second or third technology (down) from the primary collector shoppers we had.

“Their collecting style and the types (of watches they’re interested in) are quite different. In the past, experienced collectors looked for the most complicated versions of products. Nowadays, they tend to go for simpler functions — something simple-looking or made from different materials. Whereas in the past 80% of our Patek Philippe watches we sold were (made from) precious metals, now, most customers are requesting the stainless-steel ones.”

“Rarely, do (the watches) really just go down to the next generation,” she added. “But it is a brand that connects the generations together.”

More cash, fewer issues

Celebrities’ fixation with Patek Philippe could mirror its standing because the world’s costliest watchmaker — if public sale data are your measure, at the very least. The model is liable for eight of the ten priciest watches ever to go below the hammer, together with a stainless-steel Reference 1518 that fetched over 11 million Swiss francs ($11.1 million) and a pink gold model that smashed estimates to promote for nearly $9.6 million final September.
A Patek Philippe watch formerly owned by Andy Warhol on display at a Christie's auction house in June 2021.

A Patek Philippe watch previously owned by Andy Warhol on show at a Christie’s public sale home in June 2021. Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Considered among the many most intricate mechanical watches ever produced, the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication grew to become the world’s costliest timepiece when it bought for 23.2 million Swiss francs ($24 million) in 2014. That report was comprehensively smashed 5 years later by an unworn Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010, created particularly for a charity public sale in Geneva, that fetched 31 million Swiss francs ($31.2 million).
Founded in Geneva as Patek, Czapek & Cie (the present identify was adopted after Polish co-founder Antoni Norbert Patek partnered with Frenchman Adrien Philippe), the model claims to have been making watches “without interruption” since 1839. Queen Victoria was among the many watchmaker’s early shoppers, buying considered one of its “keyless” watches — the primary on the planet to function with out prior winding — at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851.
An undated photograph offers a glimpse into Patek Philippe's factory in Geneva.

An undated {photograph} provides a glimpse into Patek Philippe’s manufacturing facility in Geneva. Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

New expertise would proceed underpinning Patek Philippe’s attraction among the many period’s wealthy and well-known. In 1868, the corporate produced what it believes to be the world’s first wristwatch for the Hungarian Countess Koscowicz (a declare hotly disputed by rival Breguet, which says a 1810 timepiece it made for the Queen of Naples was the world’s first). Patek Philippe has since been awarded over 100 patents, from the primary perpetual calendar mechanism for pocket watches to “time zone” watches that featured a second hour hand for worldwide jet-setters.

But its most unique vary has confirmed to be considered one of its least difficult: the Nautilus.

Designed to resemble a ship’s porthole, Nautilus watches value upwards of $30,000 every, with costs on the secondary market usually considerably greater. Following popular ranges like 1932’s Calatrava, the gathering launched in 1976 and has been worn not solely by royalty and rappers, however enterprise moguls, athletes and Hollywood stars.

More lately, Drake has proven off his emerald-laden Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5726, custom-designed by late designer Virgil Abloh, whereas Kylie Jenner is usually pictured sporting a white gold diamond-encrusted Nautilus Reference 5719. The Nautilus additionally makes common appearances on Instagram, ranging from the refined (see John Mayer sporting his in a mirror selfie) to the not-so-suble (see actuality star Scott Disick ready outdoors a then-unopened Patek Philippe retailer alongside the caption, “What time ya opening @patekphilippe?”).
It is the chrome steel Nautilus Reference 5711, specifically, that has acquired cult standing in celebrity circles. In 2019, the New York Times reported that solely “carefully vetted clients” could be added to a ready record — after which they would wish to wait up to eight years to buy one.

Then, final 12 months, the corporate supplied an sudden response to the demand: it discontinued the 5711.

In the aforementioned Times article, firm president Thierry Stern, whose household has run the watchmakers since 1932, prompt that Patek Philippe didn’t need to be seen as a one-model model. “We make about 140 different models at Patek Philippe, and the basic Ref. 5711 in steel is just one of them,” he was quoted as saying. “We have many other models that are more complicated and arguably more beautiful.”

The 5711 nonetheless made a quick reappearance in late 2021, with the discharge of a limited-edition olive-green model and a Tiffany & Co. collaboration within the US jeweler’s iconic blue. But — for now at the very least — the mannequin seems to have been scrubbed from the model’s web site, the place the coveted 5711 is conspicuous by its absence amongst over 25 different sorts of Nautilus.

Aura of exclusivity

Waiting lists and hovering resale costs clearly bolster the model’s aura of exclusivity. But the shortage could also be a real matter of provide and demand. While Rolex is assumed to produce within the area of 1,000,000 timepieces a 12 months, Patek Philippe’s annual output could also be as little as 50,000, Chan mentioned.

Actor Kevin Hart, seen wearing a Patek Philippe Celestial watch at the German premiere of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" in 2017.

Actor Kevin Hart, seen sporting a Patek Philippe Celestial watch on the German premiere of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in 2017. Credit: Brian Dowling/WireImage/Getty Images

“Everyone thinks (waiting lists are) a marketing strategy, but because the demand has increased in such short time, they really cannot meet it. Over the past two years, my watch circles are seeing 10 times the normal requests for the Nautilus or the Aquanaut,” she mentioned, referring to one other popular vary launched in 1997.

“That’s just my little circle, so can you imagine, all around the world, how many people are trying to get one or two or three for themselves?”

If the watchmaker have been to ramp up manufacturing, it’d come at the price of high quality, which may itself threaten the model, added Hodinkee’s Marino.

“What any elite watchmaker will tell you is that they produce as many as they can to maintain the level of quality that their customers expect,” he mentioned. “Now, could Patek produce a ton more watches and put their name on it? They could. But then it wouldn’t be Patek anymore. The limited nature and the craftsmanship is what you’re paying for to begin with.”

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