Why luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe won’t adapt to China market | Style Magazine

Rushing to meet Chinese demand may hurt company, says Thierry Stern

By Jing Daily

This piece was written by Angelina Xu and the original version was published on Jing Daily

At the recent Art Of Watches Grand Exhibition in New York City, Thierry Stern, president of the 178-year-old luxury watch brand Patek Philippe, gave some insight to how the brand has endured in the ever-changing luxury industry and also explained why adapting for the China market isn’t right for the brand.

“It would be a big mistake to adapt to a market,” he told the Straits Times in an interview. “If people like Patek Philippe, it’s because they like the design and the philosophy of the brand. If you start to adapt yourself to every market, you are going to lose that.”

He said rushing to meet Chinese demand hurt many companies. “They all thought it was going to be fantastic, they were going to sell so many watches. I warned a lot of them, but they just produced, produced and produced. Look what has happened.”

The Geneva-based company showcased over 400 timepieces (both new releases and historical watches) at the exhibition.

Because the company is small and privately owned (it’s a family-run business), full control, Stern said, is the key to success. “You can’t do that if you were part of a group with a strict CEO. We are a family business. I bring my creativity and I innovate,” he said. “I also have a guardian in my father who tells me to keep a certain DNA in the brand.”

Patek Philippe, with a 178-year heritage, has plenty to celebrate

A regular collection Patek watch (watches sell for between US$22,135 and US$94,464 at Tourneau in New York) requires at least nine months in production. Thus, the company supplies a set number of 58,000…

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