Patek Philippe has announced the completion of a new building on the outskirts of the city of Geneva this year, having started in 2015.
The highly modern architecture of this structure unites all of the manufacture’s Genevan ateliers under one roof, a great advantage given the growing complexity of production operations. It will also house the rare handcrafts professionals and for both basic and advanced training of the employees.
With a length of nearly 200 meters, width of 67 meters, 34 meters above ground, and 10 floors of which four are subterranean, the size of the facility is impressive. It is an expansion of the original 1996 building - all this in measured anticipation of the manufacture's growth in the next 20 to 30 years. It also consolidates the ateliers relocated from Perly to its current Plan-les-Ouates address. These were the goals laid down by company president, Thierry Stern.
The building's modern architecture accentuates the landscape of Plan-les-Ouates. The large-format glazing providing daylight into the work spaces, interacts with white concrete passageways along the entire façade and the intermittent bronze-colored fire escapes in the New York style.
The structure brings to mind that of a huge ocean liner with clearly defined forms. Just like its watches, the subtlety of the ensemble melds with exceptionally refined details such as the slight horizontal curvature of the passageways reminiscent of the gently rounded octagon of the Nautilus case, or the balustrades of the fire escape ladders with a silhouette that resembles the form of leaf-shaped hands.
Back on the topic of production. The enlarged facilities will not be pointing towards the way of increased production, the company categorically states. Nearly 62,000 pieces are produced a year, limited in a natural way by the extremely strict quality directives of the Patek Philippe Seal. This will not change.
Instead, the last independent family-owned manufacture in Geneva wanted to secure efficient and rational production resources to cope with the expanding challenges of the present and the future.
Today, the complicated watches account for nearly half of all models. The "useful complications" (patented Annual Calendar, Weekly Calendar, Travel Time Two-Zone display, World Time) experienced rapid growth and clearly increased the required number of special mechanisms. Also, Patek Philippe’s customer-centric development philosophy resulted in a multiplication effect involving all the mechanisms that simplify the use of the timepieces, that increase operating integrity, and that enhance dependability, especially of grand complications. The result is a growing average number of components per watch.
Thus, the strategy to bring together under one roof its current collection (simple watches, useful complications, grand complications, casually elegant watches, ladies’ watches, jewelry watches) and the product palette of over 160 models that are crafted in series ranging from a dozen to several hundred pieces fitted with an extensive selection of calibers crafted in-house meant the need for more production space.
The occasion also sees the launch of a commemorative watch: The Ref. 6007 Calatrava in steel, with an exclusive design concept and will be crafted in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.