Earlier this week, Patek Philippe celebrated the official opening of its new offices and watch service department in New York City. High above Rockefeller Center, with a superb view of the famed skating rink, Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe worldwide, and Larry Pettinelli, US President, cut the proverbial ribbon – opening the doors to stunning work space and an amazing watch service department that emulates the Geneva workshops – right down to the tooling.
“Growth is necessary to give clients the complete service they expect from our brand,” says Thierry Stern, noting that the brand had outgrown its previous NYC space that had been home for 22 years. “Quality is the hallmark of Patek Philippe and won’t give up on that ever.”
The new space is everything one would expect and more in terms of elegance, sophistication and cutting-edge technology. The watch service area (YES, Patek Philippe has generations of watches that need to be serviced) easily accommodates the brand’s 18 watchmakers – with room to add Patek Philippe’s goal of another 10 watchmakers in the coming years. The space is bright, well lit,
and open to views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rock Center. Equipment is state of the art and Patek Philippe is even having new tooling created for the service center that is totally in keeping with the tools used in Geneva. What’s more, the brand has developed a special air purification system so that the watch service department is virtually dust free.
“We service thousands of watches a year in New York, and I don’t want my customers thinking that because their watch was serviced in New York instead of Geneva, it is not done to the same level,” says Stern.
In fact, Patek Philippe’s watchmakers all undergo training in Geneva once they have been with the brand for a year. According to Laurent Junod, master watchmaker and head of the NY Patek Philippe watchmakers, all of the brand’s watchmakers train for a year in New York at a Level 1 stage repairing and servicing basic watches. They then train in Geneva for a month – receiving intense specialization – before moving on to Level 2 and then again a year or so later do this again to move on to Level 3. The level 3 watchmakers service complicated watches such as perpetual calendars and the like. Vintage watches and grand complications are still returned to Switzerland for servicing.
In addition to the new watch service department, the beautifully appointed new headquarters houses a welcoming area for customers and luxurious private rooms for customers waiting for service on their watches. While I was there, two customers entered looking for service. Each was led to a private room, complete with Patek Philippe videos looping, and offered a drink. I timed their wait on my watch (sadly, not a Patek Philippe). Neither waited
more than a few minutes before a service technician came to personally assist them. Top-notch attention- just as one would expect from this austere brand. A complete interview with Thierry Stern is coming soon. Stay Tuned.