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Patek Philippe will launch a new line of watches for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century


Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe SA will present a new line of watches for the first time in almost a quarter of a century. writing Bloomberg. The company’s president, Thierry Stern, said that new elements will appear at the end of 2023 or in 2024.

“The design is ready, the prototype is ready, and I really like it,” the businessman said in an interview at the Geneva Watches and Wonders exhibition.

Patek’s new range of watches will be a milestone for the legendary brand, founded in 1839 and controlled by Stern and his family since 1932. The company launched the previous line in 1999 – it was the Twenty~ 4.

“Creating a new product line is a really difficult task,” said Stern, 52, who personally oversees the development of new watches at Patek.

He didn’t say whether the new models will be sporty, like the Nautilus brand’s most popular Patek watch, or tailored to a business suit, like the Ellipse.
In recent years, Patek has seen an increase in popularity and demand for the Nautilus collection. During the coronavirus pandemic, secondary market prices for these watches have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels and, even after falling sharply over the past year, continue to be very high.
The company responded to the hype by ceasing production of the benchmark Nautilus sports watch (with a steel case and blue dial), which was the manufacturer’s most popular model. Instead, Patek introduced a similarly designed watch in a white gold case worth around $70,000, twice as expensive as the steel ones.
Stern said more modestly priced watches remain a key part of the luxury brand’s portfolio. “We don’t just have to make million dollar watches; we don’t just have very, very wealthy people. There are people who are passionate about watches and can spend a maximum of $30,000 to $40,000 on watches, and that’s already a lot of money,” he explained.
The huge demand for Patek watches also played a role in the company’s decision to cut its retail distribution network by around 30%. Stern says the company produces 70,000 watches a year and simply cannot produce more while maintaining quality.

“Since I cannot increase production, the only way out for me was to reduce the number of outlets so that everyone could have a little more time,” the company president said.

Stern added that Patek does not plan to follow the example of Rolex SA and ensure the authenticity of its watches, which are resold on the secondary market through authorized dealers. “I am a watchmaker, I sell new watches. That’s what I’m good at,” he said.
The chairman of the watch company also announced that his two sons, now 20 and 21, have decided to join the family business and start learning all aspects of it next year – however, “it could take a full decade before any of them are ready to take on major decision-making responsibilities.
Another personnel decision within the company will be the appointment of Laurent Bernasconi as CEO, who has been with the company for nearly 20 years and served as CEO for a long time. This transition has long been discussed, it was announced to employees in 2021.
Asked about his willingness to sell the company, Stern replied in the negative. “If I sell Patek Philippe to any group, I will definitely win. I can sell it for billions. But then I will kill Patek Philippe in less than five years. You can be sure that you will only see Nautilus, as that is what the group would have left behind. That’s not what I want to do,” the businessman explained.
If the brand were to take over a large luxury conglomerate like LVMH or Richemont, he said that would almost certainly be the end of Patek and drive down the value of its collectible watches.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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