In the world of vintage watches, Replica Patek Philippe‘s chronographs with perpetual calendars occupy a category of their own. Perhaps more than any other type of watch, they represent what the brand stands for. They are benchmarks in the industry, and that goes especially for the Reference 2499.
This perpetual calendar chronograph was the successor of the Reference 1518, the world’s very first perpetual calendar. Patek Philippe introduced it in 1950 and kept it in the collection for 35 years. Despite this, it remains a very rare watch as in most years less than ten were made. The total production for Reference 2499 was there for only 349 watches.
During the course of its production, Patek Philippe made four different series, that all vary slightly from each other. The first series was fitted with square chronograph buttons, combined with a dial featuring Arabic numerals and a tachymeter scale. The second series, from which the watch in this article is from, was the first to have round chronograph buttons and was made with a dial featuring either Arabic numerals of applied baton markers. These markers, as well as the round chronograph buttons, would also be on the third and fourth series. The third series added to this outer seconds divisions, while the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 introduced a sapphire crystal as well.
With a diameter of 37.5mm is the Reference 2499 larger than its predecessor, and even surpasses its successor, Reference 3970 by more than a millimeter. While this gives the Fake Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph a perfectly wearable size even by today’s standards.
While many collectors have an individual preference which series is their favorite Reference 2499, it is the color of the precious metal that makes the largest impact on its rarity. Yellow gold is by far the most common, although that seems hardly an appropriate term in relation to such a rare and exquisite watch. In pink gold, there are to believed only about ten made, divided over the four series. Platinum is by far the rarest of them all, with only two ever made, of which one permanently resides in the collection of the Patek Philippe Museum.
Given the watch rarity and importance in watchmaking history, it doesn’t come as a surprise that yellow gold models change hands for prices north of one million dollar with the pink gold versions easily doubling that. It not only highlights the watch desirability but is a testimony to the industry benchmark that it is.
The people who make some of Switzerland’s most expensive patek philippe fake watches have a word of advice for the rest of the industry: Slow down.
That might help avoid a repeat of the last two years, when watchmakers had to cut jobs and repurchase inventory after their rush into the Chinese market hit a wall. As more than two dozen brands prepare to showcase their creations at Geneva’s watch fair next week, a handful of unlisted companies that avoided the worst of the debacle say there are ways to bypass the boom-and-bust cycle.
“You shouldn’t rush,” said Patek Philippe Chairman Thierry Stern, crossing his arms in a conference room at company headquarters near Geneva. “It’s more important to preserve rarity. Most brands had to rush, because they had to achieve figures, shareholders were pushing them. For us it’s not the same.”
Switzerland has churned out more than 1 billion watches over the past four decades, and the industry is eager for signs that the worst downturn in demand since the 1980s may be ending. Richemont, which makes timepieces under a dozen brands including Cartier, said Thursday sales of patek philippe twenty 4 womens stainless steel watch at its own stores rose over the Christmas season. Total revenue at the watch unit dropped amid weak orders from other retailers. Shares in Richemont and Swatch Group AG surged on optimism the worst was over.
Still, Patek, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille executives say they have an advantage over publicly traded Swiss watchmakers because they don’t have shareholders hounding them to increase production, which would undercut the scarcity of their luxury items.
All three brands have had sales growth for at least half a decade and haven’t resorted to job cuts. Richemont, by contrast, eliminated about 200 positions last year. Swatch’s revenue is expected to drop 8 percent in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Richard Mille, which hired 25 people last year, recorded sales growth of 22 percent, even as the market shrank. Its watches sell for an average of 180,000 Swiss francs ($178,500).
“We do whatever we want, we don’t have to please shareholders,” Audemars Piguet Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henry Bennahmias said in his office in Le Brassus, an hour’s snowy drive from Geneva. “Many watchmakers are opening more doors instead of shrinking distribution, which is what they should be doing. We’ve also always made a point not to increase production like crazy, which has helped us a lot.”
Richemont declined to comment. A Swatch spokesman said the company doesn’t act under pressure from shareholders and analysts, and that its own stores were performing best, especially in challenging times.
The Swiss watch industry isn’t new to trauma. It survived the quartz crisis, in which competition from battery-powered watches in the 1970s and 1980s led some 60,000 jobs to disappear. Swatch’s namesake mass-market plastic watch kept factories running, helping the industry survive.
By 2010, a main driver for Swiss watchmakers was booming demand in China and Hong Kong. That led brands owned by Swatch and Richemont to increase production, push prices higher and open more stores in the region. Then, a campaign against extravagant spending and corruption in China crimped demand for patek philippe calatrava 18k screw back automatic watch there. More recently, terrorist attacks have cut the numbers of free-spending Chinese tourists coming to Europe.
Still, Swiss watch exports to mainland China have rebounded in recent months, and Hong Kong neared a return to growth in November. A recovery could mean that the listed groups would have advantage on their side again.
“Large players suffer from a greater fixed cost base and a greater store network, while smaller companies can be more nimble,” said John Guy, an analyst at MainFirst Bank in London. “On the other hand, those large players that pushed into China during the boom will be in the best position to reap the benefits if the market environment starts to improve.”
To Zuzanna Pusz, an analyst at Berenberg, being listed doesn’t necessarily create more pressure on management, especially as both Swatch and Richemont are run by families. Swatch’s biggest shareholders are CEO Nick Hayek and Chairwoman Nayla Hayek, while Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert has control of his company’s voting shares.
“They’ve historically been more focused on creating value in the long term and less so on just pleasing shareholders in the short-term,” Pusz said. “The reality is we don’t really know how well or badly the unlisted companies are doing, since we don’t have the same transparency. I doubt Patek and the rest are growing double-digit now.”
“The Swiss watch industry has produced too many watches,” said Richard Mille, CEO of the namesake brand, which produced 3,550 pieces last year. “Many groups today are paying for the fact that they were pushed by shareholders for volume, volume, volume.”
Talk to someone who knows nothing about patek philippe imitation watches and within 60 seconds you’ll no doubt be asked about “that brand” with the “you know … you look after it for the next generation” advertising campaign. Patek Philippe has been using the so-called Generations campaign to sell watches since 1996 without interruption, and the sentimental pairings of sweet family photographs and seemingly timeless watches is still going strong. On the occasion of the campaign’s 20th anniversary, I spoke with a few of the people instrumental in its creation and evolution over the decades, to get the real story behind watchmaking’s most iconic advertisements.
Jasmina Steele, now Patek Philippe Communications Director, joined the company in January of 1996, and one of her first projects was to find a new advertising agency. Patek had been working with the Bozell ad agency for more than a decade, but knew it was time to move on in a new direction. They wanted something that would break with the celebrity-heavy, product-centric marketing that dominated luxury patek philippe 5724r nautilus with diamond bezel & moon phase watch advertising at the time. Think back to the Cindy Crawford Omega campaigns, for example. That wouldn’t be very Patek Philippe, now would it?
Steele headed up a pitch competition from a handful of top European advertising agencies, including London-based Leagas Delaney. Principle Tim Delaney led the agency’s pitch team, and got right into it.
During that research, Delaney learned a number of key things. When shown pictures of celebrities and famous patek philippe chronometro gondolo owners, potential clients had an almost uniformly negative response. “What about me?” they would remark. “Why do I have to look at other people’s stories and borrow the acclaim of others?” Delaney remembers some of them saying. After a group of interviews like this in San Francisco (Leagas Delaney’s research was global, not restricted to Europe), Delaney boarded a flight home to London with the research report in hand, ready to get down to work.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but according to Delaney, the Generations campaign was actually born on that flight from San Francisco to London. If customers didn’t want to participate in the lives of others, he needed to convince them beautifully complicated mechanical patek philippe watches could be personal. “Begin your own tradition,” he wrote. Little did he know the line would stick for more than two decades.
This emotional connection is still going strong too. When asked if the campaign would be stopping or changing anytime soon, both Steele and Delaney were adamant that as long as Generations is still selling watches, and getting new customers interested in replica patek philippe watch, it would be here to stay.
There is a great irony lurking under the surface here, that I can’t leave unmentioned. The little boy from that very first advertisement, way back in 1996, could be having his own child very soon, if not already. The Generations campaign has lasted more than a generation, practicing the very thing that it preaches: longevity, timeless values, and the importance of emotion in commerce.
I won’t be surprised if it lasts another generation or more.
The point is although I own a few of their modern watches, I do not own any vintage pieces yet. It is kind of crazy I admit that. It is my absolute intention to change this. My reason for not purchasing a single vintage Patek watch had not to do with resources but rather strategy: I simply did not know where to begin.
Do I concentrate on white metals only? Do I buy gold or rose gold too? Or what about collecting only Patek steel watches? If the metals to choose from are not confusing enough – what about the models? Do I start with collecting time only models or do I go for the complicated models like a perpetual calendar or chronograph?
And from which time period do I start? With the 1920s and 1930’s where Patek made some killer rectangular patek philippe ladies gondolo rose gold diamond fake watch (think Gondolo) or do I go for the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – for the golden period of Patek production – but also the most expensive to collect? It was my inability to answer these questions that have put me in the situation I am in today and why I have not yet started to collect any vintage Patek so far.
But I seemed to have found an answer. Let me share it with you.
I was leafing through the book of collecting Patek Philippe wristwatches by Patrizzi (the three volume edition) where pretty much every single Patek Philippe ever made is illustrated. I spent hours and days going through this book and realized two things: 1) Patek Philippe steel, white gold or platinum ladie’s calatrava watches are just extremely rare compared to gold. This is good. I like rarity. 2) Some of my favourite models in the world just look better in white metal.
I am talking about the 3448 – main picture above (for an in-depth on the 3448 see post here), the 2552 in platinum (another one of my dream watches) not to mention the 2526 (it is my dream to find either a platinum or white gold version with diamonds and silvered dial, or a platinum version with enamel dial). The 130 is another dream new patek philippe jewellery imitation watches of mine and I also think this model looks better in steel than in gold.
With a few exceptions (like the 1518 which I find a dream in pink gold or a 530 in any metal) I will concentrate on finding Patek in only white metals. Steel, white gold and platinum. I will for the most part avoid buying any gold Patek wristwatches (with the odd exception of course). As from which time period, I think I will just be open and take the opportunities as they come.
Concentrating on only white metal Patek, makes sense also because I already own a few gold Rolex watches and I believe many Rolex models look superb in gold. There is something about Rolex and the gold metal that will always be fascinating and powerful. Not so with Patek Philippe.
The noblest of watchmakers on balance looks better in the white metal. This is the conclusion I have made for myself. Let me show you a few pictures to illustrate what I mean.
One of the most elegant patek philippe nautilus womens 18k rose gold watches ever made from Patek is the 3448. It looks sophisticated in white gold. This is my preferred choice for the 3448.
The Ref 130 is also a model that I think just looks best in steel and is more attractive than gold or pink gold. This was another killer watch I let go by. Do you notice the stamp on the upper left lug?
Would you like to see a 130 but sector dial? Looks also splendid in steel.
I also prefer the mighty Ref 530 in steel than in precious metals. Agreed? This Astrua signed sector dial fetched CHF 1.2m in Geneva earlier this year.
Next is a hyper rare 570 in Platinum with a sub seconds – a combination (which if originally issued) is very very rare.
Let us move to another very cool reference 565 in steel, this time with Breguet numerals. This patek philippe twenty 4 womens 18k rose gold watch looks superb in steel.
We finish with another all time favourite reference of mine from Patek – the simple (but extremely well designed) ref 96.
Ref 96 is the quintessential Patek in my view – the first Calatrava model of Patek. Below an example with ‘flat bar’ indexes – for me the most attractive version of the ref 96. This ref 96 is an early version from 1937 and notice the long signature on the watch.
On October 3, 2016, Patek Philippe launched two hotly anticipated limited-edition watches in commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of its patek philippe nautilus replica line: a chronograph in white gold (Reference 5976/1G) and a time-and-date model in platinum (Reference 5711/1P).
In departure from prior practices, there was no lavish launch event: British GQ’s watch and jewelry supplement published an exclusive photo feature on the 5976G the day prior to the full-scale launch, and extensive online coverage of both patek philippe nautilus 5712r-001 18k rose gold watches followed the next day pursuant to the press release being disseminated.
Reaction from the watch community was immediate – and scathing. Yet barely a few weeks later, opinions were much more positive. By early December even many early critics declared themselves enthusiastic converts and eager buyers.
What happened, what are these watches really like when seen in person, and what can we learn from all of this?
How events unfolded
More than one of my Nautilus-loving friends spent a decent amount of the late summer and early autumn speculating on the potential form of the upcoming anniversary watch or patek philippe nautilus annual calendar watches.
And while they had hoped for invitations to a Nautilus anniversary launch event, none materialized for one simple reason: to some extent in recognition of current industry conditions, Patek Philippe had decided on a more virtual strategy for introducing its two new watches, among other things depending heavily on a set of photographs taken by noted commercial photographer Jean-Paul Cattin to provide the visuals for the launch.
I’ve visited Cattin’s website several times now and have been impressed on each occasion with the way that he has brought a variety of Swiss-made luxury products to life.
As an amateur photographer, I’ve also noted that in some campaigns he utilizes a bright and fairly uniformly lit style that is dramatic, but can make objects appear quite different from how they would look in natural light.
In the case of the Nautilus anniversary patek philippe nautilus chronograph watches, several of the launch images were brightly lit in ways that accentuated the watches’ most provocative features: applied diamond hour markers and what rapidly became known online as “tombstone” inscriptions on the dials that designate the 1976 origin of the Nautilus, the fortieth anniversary, and 2016 issue date of the pieces.
There was also some initial confusion about the size of Reference 5976: in actuality the diagonal distance across the bezel is 44 mm, but that dimension was incorrectly reported in many accounts to be 49.25 mm (originating with the GQ post), which is the total distance across the case including the nautically themed flanges.
Neither of these sizes is tiny, but envisioning the larger diameter led to visions of a truly gargantuan watch.
The anniversary watches in hand and on the wrist
Like everyone else, I had the opportunity to view the initial press photos and to read the initial reactions online.
Happily, I also had the opportunity in early November 2016 at Patek Philippe’s Geneva salon to handle both the 5711P and 5976G and to see one “in the wild” on the wrist of a good friend who took delivery of a 5711 during our visit.