Patek Philippe completing its move into a 100,000 square meter manufacturing facility in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, will do little to increase supply, the company’s president Thierry Stern says.
The business will continue to focus on production of around 60,000 watches per year, and Mr Stern says he does not expect growth of more than 2-3% per year.
In an interview with World Tempus alongside Patek Philippe’s Grand Exhibition in Singapore, Mr Stern says that the new production facility’s greatest benefit will be to his team of 1,600 who will all be under one roof in the state-of-the-art building.
Hopes that the new manufacture would boost supply of the most elusive Nautilus and Aquanaut models appear to be misplaced.
Improved R&D capabilities are expected to focus on the most complicated watches rather than the simpler sporty pieces.
Mr Stern also wants to increase the number of ladies’ watches Patek Philippe sells from around 30% today to 40% in the coming years.
Supply of Patek Philippe has been funneled into a smaller number of retailers, and can be adjusted if one market is red hot at a particular time and another cools.
“That’s the advantage of small production volumes, because with 60,000 watches per year we can move models from a suffering market like Hong Kong to the USA or Europe, which will be delighted. In addition, we had reduced the number of retailers from 750 to 440 in recent years so that the best ones could have more watches,” Mr Stern describes.