Patek Philippe requires no introduction, being arguably the most renowned Swiss luxury watchmaker in the world. It’s also one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world, setting an unprecedented standard in terms of design, quality, and performance in its watches. It also happens to be one of the very few brands that don’t care for marketing and advertising.

Patek Philippe
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175R.

The likes of IWC, Omega, and Audemars Piguet are just a few of the many names that spend millions on advertising and marketing each year, yet Patek Philippe rarely ever participates. Being only one of the three longest-serving watchmakers in the world, Patek Philippe doesn’t believe in needing to spend an exorbitant amount on trying to get its name at the very top of everyone’s lists. However, it does dabble when needed but for the most part Patek Philippe would rather stick to what it knows best, which is the brand itself.

Patek Philippe
The headquarters of the Swiss luxury watchmaker. (Image Credit: Financial Times)

It already knows it’s at the pinnacle of Swiss haute horlogerie; just ask anyone with a mild obsession over luxury Swiss watches. Patek Philippe spends the minimal amount needed for both advertising and marketing but it’s still capable of making the world’s highest quality watches. This is due to the fact that it has remained as a family-owned watch manufacturer since 1932 by the Stern family.

But how hard would it be to get your hands on your first Patek Philippe? After all, it has over 400 retail locations across the globe as well as over a dozen distribution centres across Asia, North America, Europe, and Oceania. There are three main avenues one can look into — the Patek Philippe Salons, its Authorised Dealers, and of course, the secondary market dealers. It also helps to brush up on your knowledge of the watch collections that Patek Philippe has to offer.

Patek Philippe
The Patek Philippe Nautilus remains to be one of its most popular collections to date. (Image Credit: GQ)

This ranges from the entry-level Calatrava to the more popular Nautilus and Aquanaut families. Of course, there are also more impressive offerings like its Complicated or Grand Complication pieces. The majority of first-time buyers will gravitate towards either one of the three mentioned earlier but only the Calatrava will be available at its authorised dealers. If you’re looking to purchase either the Nautilus or the Aquanaut in the future, you need to first buy the Calatrava and let the authorised dealer know that you are looking to invest in more highly demanded pieces.

Patek Philippe
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo White Gold 5168G in Khaki Green made its debut during Baselworld 2019.

This is because both the Nautilus and Aquanaut pieces are hard to obtain from authorised dealers. Don’t be surprised if you are judged and deemed “unworthy” of being considered, as Patek Philippe takes its clientele very seriously. This is to put off potential buyers from the secondary market, where many Nautilus and Aquanaut models are being sold way above its original retail price.

To get onto the waitlist, you will be put through a small screening process to prove that you are a local client and in no way affiliated with the luxury watch industry. Another way to help ease the transaction is to build a good relationship with the authorised dealers, as they are the gatekeepers between you owning your very own collection. The best way to get onto the waitlist is to let it be known that you intend to keep the watch for personal use. The last thing a brand as prestigious as Patek Philippe wants is to see its watches on the secondary market, going for three times its retail price.

Now that you’re equipped with the insider know-how on purchasing a Patek Philippe timepiece, it’s time to go forth and invest in one for your future generations to inherit. As the saying for all of its advertising and marketing campaigns go: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

Wi-Liam Teh
Senior Writer
Wi-Liam is a geek at heart with a penchant for tattoos. Never without a drink in hand (preferably whisky, gin, or Guinness), he is also a writer by day and a keyboard warrior by night. On his day off, he masquerades as a streetwear and sneakerhead enthusiast while his bank account says otherwise.