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Thread: Patek Philippe article on their "decline" in movement finishing/anglage.

  1. #1
    Master
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    Patek Philippe article on their "decline" in movement finishing/anglage.

    I came across this thread on Watchprosite and not only found it interesting but had no idea that this existed with PP:

    https://www.watchprosite.com/page-wf...open_bLoB_s-0/

    I'd still like to own one though

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    That was a great read - love it can someone can see through the BS and provide a persuasive and logical argument to back it up.

    I'll second your, "I'd still like to one one" comment.

  3. #3
    Master Papa Hotel's Avatar
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    You learn something new every day. I had no idea this was a thing until now, but now I love it.

  4. #4
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Hell of a good read; "BigFatPauli" is an entertainment all on his own. And a sad read, because real watchmaking is already an endangered species, but when word reaches the "it's-an-investment" brigade that the cost of an average car will still only buy you a machine-made watch, confidence will be knocked...

  5. #5
    Master
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    That is why I prefer my old Geneva Seal PP over the new self-certified ones

  6. #6
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    I would really love to own that model. To me the movement is technically interesting and quite beautiful to look at. Obviously not haut-de-gamme finishing but Patek are not in that market any more. Nobody buys a modern Patek for the hand finishing, not when Gauthier, Voutilainen etc do it to a level that Patek could never hope to compete with as a volume manufacturer.

    Value for money is another question of course and quite subjective. If I did spend that much on a single watch though, the Patek would definitely be on my short-list.

  7. #7
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    You could always go for a double geneve seal (movement and case)? But I still like my Patek (also geneve seal)





    Based on that article (I haven’t fact checked it yet) it seems a bit sad PP has moved away from hand finish at that price point. Maybe it’s a case of function over form?

    Just checked why PP broke away from geneve seal - this makes interesting reading - seems a little biased though? http://en.worldtempus.com/article/pa...lity-5416.html
    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 28th April 2021 at 15:37.

  8. #8
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    Yes, a Geneva seal would be my choice should it ever arise and I have never seen one for the case but I assume, that must be quite rare.

  9. #9
    Craftsman jonasy's Avatar
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    Don’t really understand the article, Patek has never offered the best finishing so what’s the news?

  10. #10
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonasy View Post
    Don’t really understand the article, Patek has never offered the best finishing so what’s the news?
    Could you elaborate? (Serous question).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by stix View Post
    I came across this thread on Watchprosite and not only found it interesting but had no idea that this existed with PP:

    https://www.watchprosite.com/page-wf...open_bLoB_s-0/

    I'd still like to own one though

    Very interesting article regarding the Vacheron etc having better hand finished movements than the Patek- but like the op writes- most Patek buyers won’t care less about the finishing!
    However if they start knocking out inferior products it’s a real black mark against Patek considering their status in watchmaking......;still, they will never compete with Panerai and the Brooklyn Bridge LE $20 ETA movements.

  12. #12
    Master Rinaldo1711's Avatar
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    Very interesting and instructive.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Hell of a good read; "BigFatPauli" is an entertainment all on his own. And a sad read, because real watchmaking is already an endangered species, but when word reaches the "it's-an-investment" brigade that the cost of an average car will still only buy you a machine-made watch, confidence will be knocked...
    Brutal. And convincing.

    I withdraw my as yet unstated interest in the brand!

  14. #14
    when did they start to decline? how recent is it?

    it is amazing to think that of PP, the concept of, well they they don't do the best finish, well what is it then that makes them the best, this whole USP of PP it to make these beautiful finest finished watches

    Quote Originally Posted by farmkid View Post
    However if they start knocking out inferior products it’s a real black mark against Patek considering their status in watchmaking......;still, they will never compete with Panerai and the Brooklyn Bridge LE $20 ETA movements.
    interesting you mention panerai, i got a loupe out and had a look at the finish on their in house movements, they all seem better finished then the patek they were showing, the finish on my panerai daily wearer is so much better, mind you i did meet the watchmaker who made it ( i really wish i'd kept his contact details) it did take him six months so i;m guessing he had time to sort out the finish

  15. #15
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    Very interesting, thanks.

    It made me realise I didn't know what 'good finishing' is, beyond looking generally shiny and nice.

    I read this on the Geneva Seal criteria ,https://quillandpad.com/2017/03/05/p...s-geneva-seal/

    Very interesting and I get the general idea but a little over my head in places. If anyone knows of any more visual articles for those who don't know their pinion leaves from their pivot shanks that would be great?

    Also are there other schools of thought on finishing at this level or are the principles generally applicable? In different places perhaps (Japan, Germany etc)?

    Sent from my SM-G973F using TZ-UK mobile app

  16. #16
    Really interesting read - thanks for posting. PP have never been my cup of tea visually and now I can sleep easily knowing I'm not missing any hidden depths :-).

  17. #17
    Speaking of Geneva seal it’s interesting the article doesn’t mention Chopard who have a platinum watch with Geneva seal for 23K

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpgkennedy View Post
    when did they start to decline? how recent is it?

    it is amazing to think that of PP, the concept of, well they they don't do the best finish, well what is it then that makes them the best, this whole USP of PP it to make these beautiful finest finished watches
    IMO the decline in the quality of some (but not all) Patek watches began some 20odd years ago when they started using platform movements like the 240 and 315/324 that are obviously design with cost cutting as a priority. Finishing on these movements is merely adequate, always has been.

    That said, PP finishing is still very good today and on some watches is superb. (Look at a modern ref 5370). They have fallen behind relatively as some manufacturers moved the goal posts to satisfy the display back craze, but on higher end pieces I have seen no evidence of a decline per se.

    The interior anglage fixation is a bit of a red herring. Remember that sharp interior angles serve no functional purpose and their aesthetic properties are purely subjective. They are used to demonstrate hand finishing skills and typically introduced for that purpose alone, they are a purely artistic flourish. Patek never really went in for that; they are somewhat conservative in that sense. I can’t think of a Patek movement that deliberately inserts unnecessarily sharp interior angles no matter how far back I go.

  19. #19
    One of my family members has his and hers matching Calatravas, and honestly, I was not that impressed with the finish, the dial looked really cheap and if you did not know about watches you would not think the cost what they did. The backs showing the movement (only on the female version from memory) was spectacular and the movement was beautiful. The most annoying part is PP actually lost her previous watch when it went to get a service and PP offered them anything with no waiting list and 50% off. The bad part is he never told me this and got the women Calatrava again :-(, he could have got so many nice watches at a massive discount. This was a good 10 years ago now, so not the same demand as now.

  20. #20
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    A great article,lots of quality photography ,patek seem to be living on their reputation a bit ,the main focus now is on stainless steel sports watches for the Instagram generation who are only interested in watch value appreciation

    Sent from my moto g(8) power using TZ-UK mobile app

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satori View Post
    IMO the decline in the quality of some (but not all) Patek watches began some 20odd years ago when they started using platform movements like the 240 and 315/324 that are obviously design with cost cutting as a priority. Finishing on these movements is merely adequate, always has been.

    That said, PP finishing is still very good today and on some watches is superb. (Look at a modern ref 5370). They have fallen behind relatively as some manufacturers moved the goal posts to satisfy the display back craze, but on higher end pieces I have seen no evidence of a decline per se.

    The interior anglage fixation is a bit of a red herring. Remember that sharp interior angles serve no functional purpose and their aesthetic properties are purely subjective. They are used to demonstrate hand finishing skills and typically introduced for that purpose alone, they are a purely artistic flourish. Patek never really went in for that; they are somewhat conservative in that sense. I can’t think of a Patek movement that deliberately inserts unnecessarily sharp interior angles no matter how far back I go.
    I tend to agree, I think standard is still very good, but others have surpassed in some areas, from the bigger players, Lange looks better finished in movement (but a bit thick and slab sided still) and a few well known very high end independents also, great but most designs are marmite I find, and will they be around in 10-30 years time for a service, if not who would you go to...

    Still, Patek is the Rolex of the high end watch world, not the best in any one aspect but all round package is leading, especially when also taking in to account heritage, brand appeal etc etc.

  22. #22
    Master endo's Avatar
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    Has there really been a "decline", or is more a case of consumers trying to find even more pedantic reasons to justify why one watch is better than another.
    I'm fairly certain that finishing would be the least of their worries, and become "part of the charm", if someone was to get a 5711 at list.

    Ultimately, watches are not intended to be viewed at ludicrous magnification, even then the irony is the average enthusiast is unable to distinguish between machine and hand finishing.
    (i've pushed my 24mp Camera to 5-6x macro which around around 1500pixels per mm, lol... and at that res you can make anything look rough.)

    Even if a movement is finished to a high degreee, they only need to look decent enough for the average loupe and the human eye.

    Patek at the end of the day is a business, not a boutiquey artisan watchmaker,
    They churn out watches constantly, the 324 for example with all its modular variants is used on around 180+ different watches, so when you consider their yearly production of around 60k watches (and alot use a 324), it's not really surprising the average entry level Patek movement isn't exactly that "finished".
    But does it even need to be?
    It just needs to look decent enough for the price point, be reliable, and have a decent enough dealer network so the average Joe can get it repaired 10, 20, 50 years down the line, when the independants have got out of business or bought up by a mega corp (with parts that can be replicated easily, and you don't get variances in finishing).

    Once you go up the food change and away from the modular pieces, things do start looking nicer, the 28-520 C FUS in one of my watches looks decent enough at 6x Macro.

    Folk love to bring up comparisons with Kari Voutilainen, and ask how can a small independent finish a watch to a higher level than Patek, it's simple really, smaller production (less than 100 per year) and significantly higher price point.
    You're average 3 hander Patek starts around 20k, Kari on the other hand 70k, which says it all. For 70k you can get a decently complicated Patek, which to me is what Patek is about, not ultimate level finishing.
    Last edited by endo; 29th April 2021 at 13:44.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by NikGixer750 View Post
    ...The most annoying part is PP actually lost her previous watch when it went to get a service and PP offered them anything with no waiting list and 50% off...
    That's a really crap remedy by them - "we lost your watch, so you'll need to buy one back at 50% off".

    No company should charge you for something they've lost.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    That's a really crap remedy by them - "we lost your watch, so you'll need to buy one back at 50% off".

    No company should charge you for something they've lost.
    I'm glad that's not just me - seems completely unacceptable.

    R

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanB View Post
    I'm glad that's not just me - seems completely unacceptable.

    R

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    I find it hard to believe it that they just lost the watch and asked the customer to buy another one at half price...

  26. #26
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    My assumption is they refunded the lost watch and gave the offer to buy another at 50% off as recompense. Wouldn’t make much sense otherwise.

  27. #27
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac11111 View Post
    I find it hard to believe it that they just lost the watch and asked the customer to buy another one at half price...
    +1 a replacement and some extras in kind is what I would have expected. Very puzzling.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by endo View Post
    Has there really been a "decline", or is more a case of consumers trying to find even more pedantic reasons to justify why one watch is better than another.
    I'm fairly certain that finishing would be the least of their worries, and become "part of the charm", if someone was to get a 5711 at list.
    Is that not part of the problem? People expect Patek to be the best of the best but are accepting lesser quality because they feel privileged to actually be allowed to purchase one.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    +1 a replacement and some extras in kind is what I would have expected. Very puzzling.
    Patek clearly states in their advertisements that it's entirely the customer's responsibility to take care of their watch for the next generation. here we see why

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac11111 View Post
    I find it hard to believe it that they just lost the watch and asked the customer to buy another one at half price...
    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    +1 a replacement and some extras in kind is what I would have expected. Very puzzling.
    That's what I thought, it it seemed far fetched...but a lot at that end of the market does from the outside. Perhaps that's what was meant.

  31. #31
    Master endo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Is that not part of the problem? People expect Patek to be the best of the best but are accepting lesser quality because they feel privileged to actually be allowed to purchase one.
    Depends, do people want to pay £80-100k for a three hander Calatrava, to have someting on par with the “best”?

    More than likely they wouldn’t (at least not for another few price hikes)
    The problem is folk blindly thinking they are the “best”, and expecting because they spend £20k on a mass produced base movement to have finishing on par with a company that produces 0.001% of Patek’s volume and who’s entry starts at 4x the price.


    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    because they feel privileged to actually be allowed to purchase one.
    Plenty of Patek’s in stock round by me, just pay for it and walk out the shop. No false sense of privilege required.

    ....oh wait, by allowed, do you mean an instant payday in the form of a rattly steel 70s watch?
    Don’t think anyone cares about finishing if they’re tripling or quadrupling their money out the door. Stevie would could have hit the movement with an angle grinder, as long they’re a surefire “investment”, they’d still be unobtanium.

  32. #32
    Sorry, yes they replaced the watch and gave them 50% off another purchase.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by NikGixer750 View Post
    Sorry, yes they replaced the watch and gave them 50% off another purchase.
    Ah - that is much more like it!

    Then I can understand why you were kicking yourself that they bought yet another Calatrava

  34. #34
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NikGixer750 View Post
    Sorry, yes they replaced the watch and gave them 50% off another purchase.
    That is a better! 50% off not too shabby a compensation

    "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so”. HHGTTG


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