Patek Philippe’s Calatrava once again proved itself as the banker collection for British retailers in the UK in 2016.
At a briefing in London today, Peter Miller, who heads the training, exhibitions and in-store display team for Patek Philippe, said that the Calatrava accounts for around 50% of all units sold in this country.
Rhone Products, the wholly owned subsidiary of Patek Philippe that manages all aspects of the watchmaker’s business in the UK, ended its 2016 financial year on January 31, and is expected to show growth over the £124 million turnover of 2015.
Patek Philippe increased its prices by 10% in the UK in August last year, a few months after the Brexit vote crashed the pound, but at current exchange rates watches in this country are still around 6% cheaper than Continental Europe.
Patek Philippe does have a policy of adjusting prices around the world so that they are as close to parity with each other as possible, but there has been no announcement that prices will rise again to close the gap in prices between the UK and the eurozone.
British retailers, who ran out of stock for certain models before Christmas last year, will be hoping for a greater share of the 58,000 watches Patek Philippe distributes around the world each year, but are unlikely to find relief in 2017 as allocations are unlikely to be significantly different. Production never jumps for Patek Philippe because every watch requires so much work from highly skilled watchmakers that cannot be trained overnight.
The Calatrava is Patek Philippe’s broadest collection. Its simple circular case dates back to the earliest days of wristwatches in 1932, and has not changed dramatically since.
The range includes both men’s and ladies’ models, usually in gold, and rarely feature complications other than small seconds or date.
“It is sometimes the best watch somebody owns, and sometimes the first Patek somebody buys on the road to building a collection including more complicated models,” Mr Mills said.