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Posts Tagged Patek Philippe

Lausanne, from the Dust up at the Foundation of Haute Horologie

by on November 18th, 2015


This week, I’ve had the privilege of attending the 7th Forum de la Haute Horlogerie held in Lausanne, as an expert for the Americas to the Cultural Council. One of the main topics of discussion: What it means to be High (“Haute”)?

In the millenarian arts, it’s an atelier painstakingly hand-embroidering, stitching and crafting one of a handful of dresses for only the greatest of fashion’s well-heeled followers. Is a Richard Mille, made of space age stuff, its hundred case parts quickly carved by CNC and innovative programming, high? All the complications achieved, but the hand of a craftsman pretty much ignored?

So then, how high? As a myopic, high is close. Look at a Patek Phillipe watch from 1900 where the hands alone, have more real handwork than a million dollars of Richard Milles; a dial of fired, hand painted numerals whose flare was the signature of an individual immediately known for his seraph like no other; as clear a statement of his achievement as it was of his own style. Does the watch with simply stamped or cut hands even belong in the same conversation? I believe it doesn’t.

The difference in this step higher, is finish and finish is just that; taking something to its end. To deliver rough machinery is fine for John Deere and Caterpillar, but not for Haute Horologie. It is in fact, nothing but a profit with the loss of honesty. When timekeeping can be a cellphone and complication is conquered with a key stroke, then doesn’t “finish” and art, become the Height that is excellence?

In my own shops, the finish is the “table stakes”, the non-negotiable. Design and complication are the customers choices. Finish, the beauty of the hand that crafts, will always be the Haute in what we make.

Never forget, that for watchmaker or jeweler, real art is where craft and love join.

In an Overburdened World of “Luxury”

by on November 3rd, 2015

I find the title, “luxury,” given out at every turn, something of an insult. It’s demeaning to the buyer who obviously must rely on another’s taste and knowledge to get something good; it implies he’s nouveau or simply “posing”. For the folks who look and care about the way things are designed and made, it’s just unnecessary and trying too hard.


Some great things simply stand out for their staking out of new ground; for performing better or simply being the best of what they can be and to me, that’s luxurious.

Patek Phillipe owns the realm of beautifully made, perfectly functioning men’s dress watches, where you really do expect your family to treasure one forever. This Annual Calendar (Ref. 5205G) is everything in elegance and functional investment that a watch could offer.

A fabulous glass to drink from: Whether you have a fine Bordeaux or simply iced tea, there is something wonderful about slowing the moment down and going to a favorite vessel.

I have very old crystal: some hand-engraved with political or religious declarations, sometimes a sailing ship or royal stag. Anything has to taste better held in history and beauty.

Luxury isn’t a magazine telling you something, it’s reveling in the accomplishment and skills of craftsmen and artists and honestly, toasting them: It’s all about them.


Highlights from Baselworld 2012

by on April 10th, 2012

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Baselworld 2012 was the most exciting and upbeat watch fair in the last five years. Incredible demand from Asia, alongside a strengthening US market, has stoked demand for luxury watches to record levels. Most manufacturers have now recovered from the global crisis and are again expanding in-house offerings, as well as developing increasingly complicated models.

Rolex and Patek Philippe dominated this year’s show. While traditionally conservative, Rolex raised the bar, showcasing the new Sky-Dweller, which features an impressive dual time zone annual calendar. Although it’s a brand new complication for the manufacture, it retains the DNA we expect from a Rolex. This is one of the most innovative and easy-to-use annual calendar movements you will ever see.

Rolex also introduced the long awaited Datejust II with a smooth bezel and a version of the new Submariner without the date display.

On the other hand, Patek Philippe made 2012 the year of the bracelet. Patek added a bracelet to the ever-popular 5396 in both white gold with a blue dial and rose gold with a brown dial. The 5130 World Timer also received a bracelet in rose gold, while the white gold version added a spectacular black center disk- the finishing touches on two truly spectacular watches! Lastly, the 5726 Nautilus Annual Calendar now features a bracelet on both the black version and a new white dial model.

The highlight of Patek’s 2012 collection is the 5204 split-second chronograph perpetual calendar. The 5204 is the much anticipated replacement of the iconic ref. 5004, which many enthusiasts think of as the ultimate collector’s watch. For now simply in platinum, the 5204 features a traditional case design that has been beefed up to 40mm; a clean, easy to read dial; and, spectacular new in-house caliber. This is an exceptional evolution of a venerated classic and will be the new collector’s dream for years to come!

Patek Philippe Ref. 725 Perpetual Calendar Pocket Watch

by on July 22nd, 2011

Patek Philippe Ref. 725 Perpetual Calendar Astronomical Pocket Watch

While big timepieces are the style today, some watches capture the hearts of generation after generation of collectors.

Our Patek Philippe astronomical, perpetual calendar is a “best of best”: where you’ve surpassed the end of the scale to measure greatness. In a format this grand, all the months of the leap year cycle are bold; the enamel night sky and golden moon vivid.

In pristine condition from 1951, one of Patek’s best is ready to be engraved for the first time ever.

Seen at right: Patek Philippe perpetual calendar keyless, open-faced pocket watch (ref. 725), featuring a m. 17”’-170, rhodium-plated with “fausses-côtes” decoration, 18 jewels, straight line lever escapement, adjusted for heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions, blued steel Breguet balance spring with swan neck regulator; three-body, “variée carrure plate” with a concave bezel; silver dial with applied gold Arabic numerals and gold “feuille” hands; perpetual calendar complication with sub-dials for days-of-the-week, month with leap year indication, date and seconds with moon-phase display aperture; and 46mm, 18k yellow gold case with a polished gold case back.

You Won’t See These Tickers Anywhere Else

by on September 30th, 2010

A Pendant Watch fit for royalty. Queen Victoria bought a Patek Philippe similar in style to this watch in 1851. This blue enamel and diamond-set pendant watch is a functional objet that brings a little bit of the 19th century to the 21st century.

Shopping for a vintage or estate watch is much like treasure hunting: it involves a little bit of luck and lot of being at the right place at the right time. When you look inside the Betteridge Estate and Vintage Watch case, we make the job a little bit easier for you by putting all our favorite discoveries in one place for you to explore. You never know what you will find, and the value of buying a vintage or pre-owned watch cannot be matched.

As I travel the world looking for the rarest and most exciting timepieces ever made, my goal is to share the same sense of discovery and excitement with you that I feel when finding a uniqye watch. But be warned: the more you learn about watches, the more addicted you will become to the idea of owning a collection yourself! Just take a look at the collectors hovering around our vintage and estate watch case the next time you are in the Greenwich store, and you will understand… When you look inside this wall case, you will be treated to a revolving museum of timepieces ranging from the 1850s to watches made in the 21st century. I emphasize ‘revolving’ because many pieces only sit in the case for a few hours before finding a new home!

Real Men Wear Rose: Patek Philippe Ref. 1579

by on September 30th, 2010

Patek Philippe Ref. 1579

Patek Philippe Ref. 1579, Circa 1946

This Patek Philippe Ref. 1579 was made in 1946 and features a rare rose gold dial in a rose gold case. At 64 years old, this watch is not only one of the best looking chronographs ever made, it is a mechanical work of art that keeps time as well as any modern mechanical wristwatch!

Mechanical Art

by on September 30th, 2010

Shark-like Perfection: Some watches are instant classics the day they are made. This Patek Philippe Ref. 5100J made in the year 2000 is coveted for its ten day movement, large size, and stylistic case shape inspired by the manta ray.

The benefits of buying vintage or estate watches are not just limited to value and the breadth of the collection. With a vintage watch, you are buying a piece of history, a mechanical work of art that will never be made again. Take a look at the case construction of a vintage watch and you will discover the look and feel of an era past. Much like the signature sweeping tail-fins of a vintage car from the 50s or 60s, there are components of vintage watch case design that will never be recreated in the same way. The dials of vintage watches also tell a story about time past – imagine a day when people needed to actually tell the time, and tell others something about themselves. The result was high-quality and high-fashion.

My New Patek Philippe Reference Guide

by on September 30th, 2010

The Patek Philippe in America Reference Guide, by John Reardon

The Patek Philippe in America Reference Guide, by John Reardon

In 2008, my first book ‘Patek Philippe in America’ was published in a limited edition of 1500 copies. The 400 page historical tome explores the historical context of the Patek Philippe’s 19th and 20th century watches. Now, after two years of work, the follow-up book “The Patek Philippe in America Reference Guide” was just released. This book presents the spectrum of Patek Philippe’s production from 1935 to 1995. Together, these two books will make you an instant expert in all things Patek Philippe!

Patek Philippe in the 60’s: It’s Hip to be Square

by on July 31st, 2010

Patek Philippe Ref. 2488

Patek Philippe Ref. 2488, $8,950

During the early 1960s, it was considered very fashionable and even a bit avant-garde to wear a bold, square wristwatch. Stylish men quickly abandoned the traditional, round wristwatch of the 1940’s and 1950’s, inspired by the new futuristic look.

A square watch makes a statement of confidence, style and distinctiveness best represented by the mid-20th century, square-faced Patek Philippe. Iconic watches such as this Ref. 2488, represent enduring value, snappy style and fine timekeeping; and it certainly serves as a great conversation starter at the office or your next cocktail party.

Noisy Watches

by on July 31st, 2010

Patek Philippe 5079J Minute Repeater

Patek Philippe Ref. 5079J Minute Repeater

All the very best things I’ll guard and happily live with.

Recently, we bought a Patek Phillipe minute repeating wrist watch with cathedral gongs; one I can actually hear chime the time with my one good ear: great Patek’s are the meat on John Reardon’s plate, as he continually finds and buys both the rare and the wonderful. I do miss the days when I could hear them tick…