Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography – The Definitive History of the Legendary Swiss Manufacture, Written by Nicholas Foulkes

Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography – a new book describes the evolution of the independent Genevan manufacture from its beginnings in 1839 to the present is now available for order.

Written by Nicholas Foulkes, English edition of this book is being released in November and will be followed by other languages as of 2018.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with the company’s owners and with staff and watchmakers past and present, as well as on hitherto unseen documents from the company’s archives, Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography celebrates the history of a unique company.

Renowned historian, author, and editor Nicholas Foulkes traces Patek Philippe’s history from founder Antoine Norbert de Patek’s early life in Poland as a young cavalry officer fighting in a doomed uprising. He recounts Patek’s exile, his life in Geneva, his meeting with gifted watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe, and the 1932 purchase of the company by the Stern family, whose members, over four generations, have turned it into the legend that it is today.

His vibrant narrative pays tribute not only to the creations of the Genevan manufacture but  also  to  the  gifted  individuals  who  forged  its  history  –  especially  to  the  many  generations  of watchmakers and artisans who can take credit for its success.

Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography Book

Among other notable anecdotes, The Authorized Biography reveals, for the first time, the story of a unique  timepiece  bought  by  Queen  Victoria  for  her  husband  Prince  Albert.

In addition, Nicholas Foulkes was granted privileged access to interview the widow of famed Swiss jewelry designer Gerald Genta, who was responsible for the design of the first Nautilus model in 1976.  Reflecting the author’s eclectic cultural background, the richly illustrated book maps out a fascinating journey that spans the last two centuries.  Its  focus  is  on  trends  in  art  and  the  progression  of watchmaking within a broader historic context.

Nicholas Foulkes is the author of around twenty books. He is best known for his critically acclaimed trilogy of nineteenth-century histories: Scandalous Society: Passion and Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century (a biography of Count d’Orsay); Dancing Into Battle: A Social History of the Battle of Waterloo; and Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844.

Foulkes is a columnist for Country Life magazine; a contributing editor to the FT’s How To Spend It magazine; a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; luxury editor of British GQ; and special horological consultant for the Patek Philippe magazine. He is the founding editor of Vanity Fair On Art, and he has written about the arts for a wide range of periodicals. In 2009, he was appointed to the board of the Norman Mailer Center.

He is a graduate of Hertford College, Oxford, and lives in London with his wife and two sons, who have graciously accepted his obsession with fine watches – a predilection that has possessed him since childhood.

Published by Preface, part of world-renowned publisher Penguin Random House. Print run of 10,000 copies published in English, November 2016. Other language versions to follow as of 2018.

The book can be ordered via as of now (

Starting  in  December  2016,  Patek  Philippe:  The  Authorized  Biography  will  also  be  available  for purchase at the Patek Philippe Museum Geneva, the Patek Philippe Salons in Geneva, London and Paris, and from local authorized Patek Philippe retailers. The book will also be available from bookstores.

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