Every spring when the Swiss Watch Exhibition comes, watchmakers will come out of their respective workshops and dedicate spiritual things created from the watchmaking palace in the past year for the appreciation of the world. They are the inheritors of craftsmanship in this era. They are artists who live by tempering and polishing time. We walk into the top watch factory of Patek Philippe to reveal the legendary story of ‘making watch for God’ that has been bred from this mysterious art sanctuary.
Large spin sculpture at the entrance of the Stern family’s White Fort Patek Philippe factory
Patek Philippe Patek Philippe’s factories and museums have long been regarded as holy places for watch lovers and collectors. Each production stage implements the highest technical standards accumulated in the 500-year-old watchmaking tradition in Geneva, Switzerland. Of the tens of thousands of watch factories in the world, only Patek Philippe has reached the level of ‘Geneva Quality Seal’ for all its mechanical movements. This is the most fundamental proof of Patek Philippe’s classic sayings.
Patek Philippe pendulum clock hanging on the right side of the factory hall
The Grand Patek Philippe factory was built in 1996, next to the Stern family’s private castle on the outskirts of Geneva (nicknamed ‘White Castle’). At that time, the brand’s business managers gathered dozens of near-workshop locations in the old city of Geneva into new large-scale factories in the southern suburbs. This not only greatly reduced production costs, but also established the image of everyone at Patek Philippe at the end of the 20th century. This move was later emulated by many Swiss brands and they have built their own ‘big factories.’ At the gate of the Patek Philippe factory stands a giant spiral sculpture symbolizing the spirit of the brand, commonly known as ‘Da Xuan’. In front of this bead-polished sculpture, you can appreciate the small life in the long river through its abstract shape. Stepping into the gate, the left side of the hall is a three-storey ’89 movement (the world’s most complex pocket watch movement)’ relief, and on the right is a giant pendulum clock. Then there is the main board workshop, plywood workshop, gear workshop … everything is available.
Geneva stripes decoration of Patek Philippe 5711 watch movement
The story in the sanding shop is the most moving. Today, many of the processes of watchmaking have been completed on CNC machines, and the polishing process that best reflects the essence of traditional watchmaking still relies entirely on manual work. Every watch must detect the finest parts under the microscope, and it can’t start the next grinding work until the grinding is consistent with every detail of the standard parts.
Patek Philippe watchmakers are assembling Star Calibre 2000 pocket watches with a unit price of more than 10 million yuan
Outside the door of the most mysterious and complex watch assembly workshop on the top floor, the portraits of the brand’s heavy-weight products are hung. They are of extraordinary taste and high value, including: Star Calibre 2000 pocket watches, Ref.5002 and 5102 ‘Tianyue’, etc. Graduated from the top floor of Patek Philippe factory. The masters here only speak French, which is a special way for Patek Philippe to reflect its pedigree.
Mechanical engraving machine
The Patek Philippe 5119 classic bezel of Paris is made by mechanical engraving machine