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Patek Phillippe’s celebrity and pop culture relationships from Queen Victoria to Cardi B

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

From Joe DiMaggio to Albert Einstein, Princess Diana to Victoria Beckham, watch maker Patek Philippe has long been a celebrity favorite. But the Swiss brand’s reputation has taken an unexpected turn in recent years.

Naming luxury brands may not be anything new in hip-hop, but lyrical mentions of Patek Phillippe exploded in 2017. That year, a third of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 mentioned the brand, according to music website Genius.
Travis Scott has to hit about “Two-Tone Patek,” Cardi B (pictured above)”flooded“hers with diamonds and Gucci Mane suggest that he had “gonned” this crooked judge to try and throw the book at me. Young Thug, Migos and Future have all mentioned their Patek Philippe watches, while Lil Uzi Vert has such a relationship with the watch maker that he has released two tracks honoring it, “Patek” and “New Patek.” (“New Patek on my wrist,” he says in the following sentence, “white diamonds, they’re pink.”)
According to Nick Marino, senior vice president of content for the online watch magazine, this phenomenon has coincided with a broader increase in interest in watch collecting. Hodinkee.

“Since Patek Phillipe has always been one of the most prestigious watch brands, there’s a reason it’s the brand people are talking about,” he said via video call.

“Hip-hop has a long and long history of shouting out brands that artists like, going back to Run-DMC’s ‘My Adidas’, and what happens is the watch catches on fire.

Rapper Future wears a Patek Philippe watch at the UNCF Mayor's Mask Festival in 2016.

Rapper Future wears a Patek Philippe watch at the UNCF Mayor’s Mask Festival in 2016. Credit: Image Paras Griffin / WireImage / Getty

He added: “The drivers are very smart. “They know what status means and they know what exclusivity means. You can expect rappers to talk about Richard Mille, because it’s a young, flashy, ‘new money’ watch brand – and rappers love it too – but I love that they love old watch brands.

“By positioning themselves as Patek customers, rappers are positioning themselves in the lineage of the 19th-century elite. That’s power.”

The brand’s place in popular culture is a far cry from the 1990s “Generations” commercials, in which white parents and their children were bound together by precious heirlooms. price. The memorable campaign helped establish the famous mantra, “You’ve never really owned a Patek Philippe. You’re just taking care of it for the next generation.”

As a brand that values ​​history and heritage as markers of quality, being a status symbol for the Instagram generation can be uncomfortable for the 182-year-old company. However, Marino says, the watch maker hasn’t explicitly repositioned its brand – nor need to worry about becoming too popular: “In many ways, the young audience – hip-hop audience – have found Patek perhaps more than vice versa.

“This brand has been a symbol of luxury since 1839, so I don’t think there is any danger of them being seen as a flash in the pan,” he said, adding: “Twenty seventeen is a lifetime ago in hip-hop and people are still talking about these watches.”

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

A watch from the Nautilus line, containing some of Patek Philippe’s most sought-after models, is on display at the Baselworld 2019 luxury watch and jewelry fair in Basel, Switzerland. Credit: Image Stefan Wermuth / Bloomberg / Getty

Indeed, according to Sharon Chan, watch director at Bonhams auction house in Hong Kong, Patek Philippe’s position in the fashion world is “a very positive sign” for the future of the brand.

“Five to eight years ago, Patek Philippe watches were mostly bought by older customers,” she said by phone. “But lately, it’s all been younger generation – the second or third generation (and below) from the first collector customers we have.

“Their style of collection and the model (watch they are interested in) are quite different. In the past, experienced collectors used to look for the most complicated versions of a product. Today, they tend to be more inclined to do so. looking for simpler functions – something that looks simple or is made of different materials While in the past 80% of the Patek Philippe watches we sell are (made of) precious metals, now, most customers are asking for stainless steel watches.”

“Rarely (the watches) really move on to the next generation,” she added. “But it’s a brand that brings generations together.”

More money, less hassle

Celebrities’ attachment to Patek Philippe may only reflect its status as the world’s most expensive watch maker – at least if auction records are your yardstick. The brand is responsible for 8 of the 10 most expensive watches ever underrated, including the reference 1518 in stainless steel that was fetched. 11 million Swiss francs ($11.1 million) and an estimate-breaking rose gold version for sale at nearly 9.6 million dollars previous September.
A Patek Philippe watch formerly owned by Andy Warhol is on display at Christie's auction house in June 2021.

A Patek Philippe watch formerly owned by Andy Warhol is on display at Christie’s auction house in June 2021. Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Considered one of the most complicated mechanical watches ever produced, the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication became the most expensive watch in the world when it sold for 23.2 million Swiss francs. ($24 million) in 2014. That record was completely broken five years later by a shirtless Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010, created especially for a charity auction in Geneva, taken. 31 million Swiss francs ($31.2 million).
Founded in Geneva as Patek, Czapek & Cie (current name adopted after Polish co-founder Antoni Norbert Patek partnered with Frenchman Adrien Philippe), the brand claim has been producing watches “without interruption” since 1839. Queen Victoria was one of the watch brand’s first customers, having purchased one of the “keyless” timepieces – the watch. The first in the world to work without pre-winding – at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.
An undated photo provides a glimpse of Patek Philippe's factory in Geneva.

An undated photo provides a glimpse of Patek Philippe’s factory in Geneva. Credit: Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

New technology will further strengthen the appeal of Patek Philippe among the rich and famous of the era. In 1868, the company produced what it believed was the world’s first wristwatch for the Hungarian countess Koscowicz (a claim hotly disputed by rival Breguet, speak the 1810 watch made for the Queen of Naples was the world’s first watch). Patek Philippe has since been awarded more than 100 patentsfrom the first perpetual calendar movement for a pocket watch to a “time zone” watch with a second hand for an international jet gauge.

But its most exclusive range has proven to be one of the least complicated: the Nautilus.

Designed to resemble the windows of a ship, Nautilus watches cost upwards of $30,000 each, with prices on the secondary market often significantly higher. Following popular lines like 1932’s Calatrava, the collection debuted in 1976 and was worn not only by royalty and rappers, but also by business moguls, athletes and Hollywood stars.

More recently, Drake has shown full of emeralds Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5726, designed by the late fashion designer Virgil Ablohwhile Kylie Jenner is regularly photographed wearing a white gold diamond-encrusted Nautilus Reference 5719. The Nautilus also makes frequent appearances on Instagram, from the subtle (see John Mayer wearing the selfie mirror) for the non-rent (see reality TV star Scott Disick wait outside an unopened Patek Philippe store with the caption “What time do you open @patekphilippe?”).
In particular, the Nautilus Reference 5711 stainless steel watch has gained a cult status in the celebrity world. In 2019, New York Times report that only “well-tested customers” will be added to the waitlist – then they’ll need to wait up to eight years to buy one.

Then, last year, the company came up with an unexpected response to demand: it discontinued the 5711.

In the aforementioned Times article, company president Thierry Stern, whose family has run watch manufacturers since 1932, argues that Patek Philippe does not want to be seen as a one-model brand. “We produce about 140 different models at Patek Philippe, and the Ref. The basic steel 5711 is just one of them. “We have many other models that are more complex and arguably more beautiful.”

However, the 5711 made a brief comeback in late 2021, with the release of a limited-edition olive green and collaboration with Tiffany & Co. in the iconic US jeweler’s blue. But – at least for now – the model seems to have been dropped from the brand’s website, where the 5711 is conspicuously coveted by its absence among more 25 other types by Nautilus.

Exclusive aura

Waiting lists and inflated resale prices have clearly reinforced the brand’s exclusivity aura. But scarcity can be a real matter of supply and demand. Although Rolex is said to produce in the region of one million watches per year, Patek Philippe’s annual output could be as low as 50,000 pieces, Chan said.

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

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

“Everybody thought of (waiting list) as a marketing strategy, but because of the increased demand in such a short period of time, they really couldn’t meet it. Over the past two years, my watch community has received a lot of attention. see 10 times the usual requirement for the Nautilus or the Aquanaut,” she said, referring to another popular range launched in 1997.

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

Hodinkee’s Marino added: If the watch maker ramps up production, it could come at the expense of quality, which could threaten the brand.

“What any elite watchmaker will tell you is that they produce as much as possible in order to maintain the level of quality that customers expect,” he said. “Now, can Patek make tons more watches and put their names on them? They can. But then it won’t be Patek anymore. Limited nature and craftsmanship is what you are. pay to start.”

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