Mr. Michot, the theme of this issue of rampstyle is “Keep it simple and smart.” It’s all about paring things down to the essentials. These days, we are positively surrounded by things that tell us the time. Why would anyone still need a mechanical watch?
The answer is actually quite simple: nobody really needs a mechanical watch. You don’t need an expensive watch either. Not even a Patek Philippe. Just like you don’t need an expensive car. For getting from A to B, you can just as well get in a Smart. That’ll do. Or take the train. But the emotional aspect is another matter.
Though a mechanical watch is a complex work of art. So it is anything but simple.
Let’s start with the fact that the word “complication” is always misinterpreted. In watchmaking, a complication is simply a feature of the watch beyond the display of hours, minutes and seconds. The date indicator is such a special feature, so it’s what we call a complication. Thierry Stern, the owner of Patek Philippe, once said, “My greatest complication is my wife.” He was still married at the time.
Then let’s keep it simple. Can you describe the Patek Philippe brand to us in just a few words?
Yes. Patek Philippe is a company that has been around for 183 years. And this company has always done the same thing. From the beginning to the present day, it has focused on doing just one thing, which is to produce the best watches in the world. Nothing else. Without interruption. That’s important, because many watch brands stopped producing watches at some point and then started again a hundred years later. That’s a very good way to sum it up.
Is Patek Philippe associated with certain values?
Yes, and interestingly these values were defined by Thierry Stern’s father, Philippe Stern, who I also had the pleasure of working with. There are ten values: quality, service, heritage, emotion, independence, tradition, aesthetics, rarity, innovation and value.
How would you define modern luxury? What makes something luxurious?
There are three things that sum up luxury for me: Authenticity, which I think is very important, craftsmanship, which is often forgotten, and rarity, because when everyone has something, it’s no longer a luxury.