Doesn't anyone like Patek Philippe anymore?

Moderator please delete if you find inappropriate but if you bear with me a while you will see that behind a voluntarily provocative title there is a lot to do with VC.

I think that everyone here is familiar with other online discussion sites which have Patek discussion forums. If you have a look at these forums almost all of the talk is in the investment value of Pateks and/or the difficulty of getting some pieces.

At a recent dinner with a few other watch collectors the discussion moved to VC and Patek. I started talking about the suave appeal of VC timepieces and their original approach on things by creating this wonderful forum and the fact that they accept custom orders (and not only from the happy few). My friends on the other hand only talked about the resale value of PP stating that their timepieces had gained X% in the past years etc…

It then hit on me Doesn't anyone like Patek Philippe anymore?…how many people actually really like Patek as a brand? How many Patek owners would actually buy the watch if it did not have patek on the dial? If the sole interest in Patek is making a profit and flipping the watches where’s the passion? Where’s the interest in true watchmaking?

That’s what makes VC so different and sets it apart from its major rival. Of course, VC vintage pieces do not sell for the impressive prices PPs do or there may be less of a battle to obtain the latest hard to get watch but it seems to me that the VC aficionado has an emotional attraction to the brand and has a relation to it that is not found elsewhere. We buy our Vacherons because we are attracted to the brand and its watches not for investment (sure...if your watch gains value in time it’s a bonus not the main reason for buying it).

That’s what makes Vacheron collectors and aficionados such a strong community and which gives power to the brand… we love our watches and buy funds as investment not the other way round and in the long term it will pay up because no one can really feel passionate about an investment.

Just my 2c

very intersting comments. A dealer once told me that it was easy
06/21/2007 - 20:55

collecting PPs because of the mysique surrounding the brand whereas collecting VCs requested a certain intellectual approach.

Don't get me wrong, I love PP and one of my dream watches would be the 5970 but its true that  often I feel as you that the main reason people are drawn to PP is for the investment value and not the product itself and the day someone takes a hit the whole market may collapse...its a dangerous game...

I prefer focusing on VC because I feel that its in this brand that value resides (value as in labor and passion, not monetary)

A thought provoking post...
06/22/2007 - 06:21
I share your sentiments in a general way, though I know some collectors who relish in all the details of what PP watches have to offer. I too have seen, both in the online forums as well as in discussions with other watch collectors, a tendency for people to buy PP watches for "investment" rather than for love of the particulars of the watch at hand. Such an approach to buying watches is anathema to the values I bring to watch collecting. Bill
Re: Doesn't anyone like Patek Philippe anymore?
06/22/2007 - 08:44

It's true that many buy Patek because it does give a better return than any other watch (well, maybe those AP LEs). I know some who are truly passionate about Patek. It's all in the image of the wear Patek, you wear the BEST! That's what they wish to tell people. However, I too am interested in Patek because of the thought that "if you want the best, you should get a Patek not any other brand"...many people have also insisted this thought on me. But, when I look at the models one by one, I think VC has more beautiful models than Patek. If VC's resale value were to be at Patek's level or maybe even top it, I think much less people would look at Patek.

Someone made a joke about Patek's slogan; "You never really own a Patek Philippe..." With some Patek's prices going up so fast like hot stocks, who would want to keep it? 

Hope VC can catch up with Patek in the near future. The quality is the same, it's all just about marketing! 

I find your comments very interesting. You have explained...
06/22/2007 - 10:44

...the way VC and PP are viewed by admirers of both brands very well. I would like to add my 2c to your comments:

a) It is not only your friends who speak of the investment value and future investment value of PP. The comprehensive PP catalogue also does the same. They keep mentioning how some of their timepieces do so well at auctions, for example their old World Time pieces.  They have references like this for few of their models.

b) I have even heard that PP buys their own watches (without anyone knowing its them) at auctions to inflate their values.

c) Another thing PP is extremely proud of and continues to repeat is the fact that they are independent. They justify everything (their technical superiority, their designs (no matter how bland or ugly), when and where they introduce and launch a model etc. etc.) to the fact thet they are independent. If you read between the lines, it is their way of saying that VC, JLC, Lange are all influenced by the parent company and do not have the total corporate and marketing freedom that PP enjoys; or everything PP does is absolutely correct because they are independent.

I have always found VC's beautiful, and given their new direction, as seen this year, I think PP is headed for trouble.

- As of now, VC has a brilliant range of simple dress watches, especially in the Patrimony range. If you compare the VC Patrimony collection (SIHH 07 and Hour Lounge launches included) and the new Malte PR, and compare it to PP's entire Calatrava range, VC totally knocks them out.

- Then the masks and explorers are something PP has never done.

- Then the faboulous Bespoke department - available to any level of VC customer, not only the super rich.

- By next year, when VC hopefully increases the range of its supercomlications, it will have something more to compete with

PP on this front.

- By then, VC might just have as many movements with different variations as PP does, all with the Geneva Seal, so on a technical level, they will be equally good as VC.

That's why I mentioned that it all boiled down to marketing.
06/22/2007 - 12:57

PP is very good at that....creating image & all...

Also, they know how to "fry" the prices of their watches (a term borrowed from stock market). Take a look at 3712, only after about 2 months after its introduction, PP discontinued it. This created massive demand from panic collectors (maybe I should use the word "speculators"). I know someone who nearly had to 'kill' to get one (well, at least that's what he told me, hahaha)

I don't think that PP has watches which deserve such hysteria but they
06/22/2007 - 13:57

probably have the best marketing in the world.

On the other hand I wouldn't want VC to become like PP where investment value over rides the product itsself. Because as Space Ace states the day the bubble bursts many will be left holding the hot potatoe.

Patek Philippe
06/22/2007 - 14:23

I like both VC & Patek and have both

There is indeed a lot of talk about investments in the Patek discussion sites but in my humble opinion Patek cannot be at the top for so long without doing something right

Some of their pieces are truly exquisite(especially their vintage pieces) and i believe that their success comes from their extreme conservatism but done really well

VC is a tremendous brand but in my(maybe flawed) opinion(dare i say it?) it still has a lot of catching up to do

VC in the past few years have been doing great things and i can definately say that i will have more VCs


That's exactly it! PP has done so much marketing on the investment
06/22/2007 - 14:31

value of their vintage pieces, which I agree are exceptionnal, that the market has gone crazy and is totally disconected to the real value leading colectors aproaching the brand more via an investment perspective (ie: paying watches that are on the catalogue like the 5970 or 5712 above premium instead of just waiting for their AD to recieve one or buying the watch and flipping it within a month for a profit) than of true appreciation of the timepieces.

When you go on other discussion forums thats all you see: talks on investment value!!!