Monday, January 18, 2010

Patek Philippe's Polish history

Thinking of buying a new watch for a family member?  Well, everyone knows that the best watches are Swiss watches, particularly a Patek Philippe.  However, the question remains: just how Swiss are these watches?  The truth is that Switzerland's watchmaking fame is largely due to the work of Polish patriots that were forced to emigrate from Russian-occupied Poland after the failed November Uprising of 1830-1.  The most prominent of these émigrés was Antoni Patek who distinguished himself in the rebellion and received the Virtuti Militari Golden Cross (highest Polish military honor).  Afterwards, he settled in Switzerland and started his watchmaking business with Franciszek Czapek, establishing Patek, Czapek & Co. in 1839.  In 1861, the company name changed to the world famous Patek Philippe Company.  The Poles revolutionized watchmaking by combining beauty with precision and expanding their business on an international scale.  At the same time, loyal to their homeland, Patek and the other Poles made sure that people knew that these were Polish watches by decorating them with images from Polish history as well as portraits of Polish national heroes such as Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Prince Jozef Poniatowski.  In 1867, the company presented the first wristwatch.  From the very beginning to this day, Patek Philippe watches have been considered the best in the world.  Thus the pride of Switzerland should more fittingly be the pride of Poles.