175th Anniversary of Patek Philippe, Interview with Terry Sten

The article is an interview with Terry Sten of Alexandre Friedman on the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe. ALEXANDER FRIEDMAN (Alexander Friedman), co-founder of Watchonista. THIERRY STERN, 4th generation Patek Philippe. Friedman : Patek Philippe is about to celebrate its 175th anniversary. Can you talk about your feelings at this time? Stern : I still feel young and passionate, of course, I am also proud of myself for so many years in the past to witness the changes in the watch industry. However, perhaps the thing that made me proud is that Patek Philippe is still an independent company. I often talk to my father about the history of watchmaking and branding. When I look back and think about the time I've been here, the best news is that we can keep our independence. As of today, many great family brands are already part of some big groups. Our 175th anniversary is not just about our business. It shows how a family group defends its independence. We are trying to prove to the world our own strength in the field of watchmaking. Compared with the 200th anniversary, I prefer to organize the 175th anniversary. But this is what my father deserves. I can not. I can only follow up the second centenary. THIERRY STERN, Patek Philippe's fourth-generation president, Friedman : 175th Anniversary is coming, how will you face the future? Sten : In fact, the blueprint for the future has long been established. When designing a new watch, design and movement need to be carefully considered. When we were about to launch a new product two years ago we thought that design should be in the top of both. At times, we can spend less time completing the manufacturing; it all depends on the model and the amount we produce. However, involving the movement, it is a completely different concept. Simple movement requires four years of development, testing and inspection. Complex movement will take six years or even eight years. I set my future investment trend by 2025. Plan ahead is a must, besides, I do not have any other different options. I know 2025 is far away, but I am confident because I understand new technologies. I can tell you that there are some very pretty technologies that will appear in the future. So my heart is very calm. I think managing our sales and our brand reputation in the past will ensure our future. Friedman : For the past 175 years, Patek Philippe has produced very unique works that can be called the watch heritage, many inventions, complex designs, unique movement, some new technologies and materials, etc. . If you can only choose one, what will it be? Sten : Like you said, I can not have a second choice. It must be three questions, the reason is very simple, customers can judge directly from the sound of this table is not beautiful. Everyone will judge whether a voice is sweet or not. In the same period of technological creation, this technique is my favorite. It may not be the most sensible choice from a business perspective, but there is no doubt that I would still choose three questions. Friedman : Is there anything else? Stern : I can not say that completely. A lot of things are evolving. Each of them is unique. I really can not make a choice. Maybe some of them are more successful, but we've made a huge amount of technical effort to create them. It is all the creative combination of the table to make the voice more pleasant, harmonious and powerful. If I only choose one of them is very unfair. Friedman : In my impression, every time we meet, you are wearing the same paragraph ... Sten : I'm 5970 now. I've been wearing it for some time now. I do not have that much money to change watches, there are two basic timers, this 5970 and an Aquanaute Travel Time. I like these two styles very much because they fit me well. 5970 is my favorite, it is a manifestation of complex functional aesthetics. To me, it was a hard copy, because wearing it made me feel like reinterpreting the Patek Philippe 3970. In fact, just started to modify its task very hard, everyone think this can not do better, because 3970 at Patek Philippe is a very famous case. But my enthusiasm and persistence in the manufacture of watches made me successful. That's why I wear it because it took me more than two years to do it. Friedman : What did Patek Philippe have never changed in these 175 years? Sten : Will be getting better. This philosophy will run through our entire business, including with our customers and retailers. Obviously, the pursuit of product quality strategy has never changed. Friedman : On the other hand, what has changed fundamentally? Sten : We went from a traditional watchmaking era to industrialization, though we have always paid special attention to quality and technology. From beginning to end, for us, we all need a skilled watchmaker, and watchmakers are still necessary, even though some production tools today replace manual labor. Of course, we are also adapting to the changes of the times and succeeding in making better use of production tools and ensuring that we produce the same tables with the same quality and standards. Friedman : Speaking of this year's product, is that you allowed Nautilus Chrono Travel Time to go into production? Sten : Up to the chair down to the civilian family, I give every support for Patek Philippe's production. This is necessary because if we do not, we are not real business people. If you join Patek Philippe, as one of the family members, we must love our products, which is the brand's vision. We learned to work in the company, but at home we also felt the warmth it brought. This is what we call the brand DNA. At a very early stage we value our lives, and when we are passionate, we can leave such DNA for the new generation. Every family member needs a brand to increase their feelings, and this power makes up Patek Philippe today. Friedman : Do you have any suggestions for collectors who like your brand but do not yet have the ability to buy it? Sten : The main advantage of the contemporary world is that the younger generation can own what they need for themselves. Including magazines, the media, the Internet, all of which provide good advice for their choices. I often see this phenomenon, Patek Philippe there are basically more than 200 styles, although the price is different, but it is still hard for everyone to choose. My best advice is to buy the one you think best without hesitation, or you will regret it. Friedman : Do you still remember your first Patek Philippe? Stern : I remember very clearly, Nautilus 3800. Is composed of gold and steel, very beautiful. In our family will not give such a complicated table for an 18-year-old child. For me, the 3800 is beautiful and simple, it also has a waterproof feature. I can do anything when I wear it, which is rare for an 18-year-old. Philippe Stern and Thierry Stern Friedman : Does your first memory of a watch related to a watch factory? Sten : No. In a shop in Rue du RhôNE. This is part of the company's headquarters and manufacturing. At that time I was 6 years old and when I opened the drawer, I saw six enamel watches that gave me the impression of a beautiful piece of art displayed in the museum. From that day, I knew I wanted to create a watch. I still remember the smell of a drawer, its color and velvet Burgundy ... Friedman : Is the 175th anniversary on May 1? Sten : In fact, the celebration will take place in October. Everything will be held in Geneva and we will be showing new watches at the show. Friedman : What do you think about digitization, including personal and Patek Philippe? Stern : My opinion is the same as everyone else. I think it works but can not be totally dependent. I think this is a good way to learn. I have two children, one of whom can talk to Canadian math teachers and even people in other parts of Europe. We can not stay away from it, especially for a person who likes our brand. It's a tool that allows us to communicate with our customers, perhaps more people know us through radio and movies. This is also completely compatible with the brand. We started planning now. Today we will use it to continue to develop. Friedman : What is your expectation of the future as a watch brand marching into the online business lately? Sten : There is no reason to stop anytime. It can not be a forerunner in every area that we can only continue. It needs to be done with the right membership and in a very constructive way. This is a brand new challenge, of course it will not be so easy. Every day we need to make progress. The digitalization strategy is that we need more capable people to represent and execute this business. I have chosen the right website and the right person. In the end we have to go back to the human essence. The more interesting way to digitize is that we need someone who understands the site to help us validate it. THIERRY STERN tells us that Patek Philippe will hold its 175th anniversary celebration in Geneva in October 2014.