Thierry comments on production and COVID

Nov 23, 2020,17:55 PM

Thierry Stern explains, “For Patek, we have a lot of reserve cash, and when we had to shut down for a month and a half … it was OK. I knew I had to decrease the quantity [of watches produced] for the year. The target was about 60,000 to 65,000 pieces. I couldn’t do it losing that time, but I am still OK. The business is decreased about 30 per cent, but I am still OK with that.”

Stern explains, “My dad always told me that you have to be ready for a crisis at any time. He faced a few of them in the past, and so that is something I have always had in mind, so when the crisis came, I felt prepared.”

[Credit to Time and Tide who did the interview.] Link to the Forbes original November 20 interview:

Patek Philippe’s Production Is Down 30% Due To Covid-19. Here’s Why CEO Thierry Stern Is Not Worried (
This message has been edited by FabR on 2020-11-23 18:38:18

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Thanks for sharing this. This year has obviously been a difficult one for all watchmakers, though fortunately for Patek much less than for other less established (or less independent) brands.

 By: FabR : November 23rd, 2020-18:25
I have no numbers for 2020 yet, but I can tell you that Patek's 2019 official production was of roughly 62,000 watches (of which 8k manual wind, 47k automatic, and 7k quartz for ladies models). So if a 30% decrease is the expectation by the end of the yea... 

Kudos to Time and Tide

 By: Spangles - Mr. Tabby : November 23rd, 2020-19:13
Also confirming 65,000 watches a year for Patek.

That seems like a lot of watches to me...

 By: mdg : November 23rd, 2020-20:51 would be interesting to see a breakdown; Calatrava, Nautilus, Grand Complication, etc.....

That's what I thought. It makes me question the quality of the product...

 By: mdg : November 25th, 2020-10:23
...I would not be happy about paying $90k for a watch with a movement that is machine-finished. Even if it is finished by hand later on at some level. I would rather buy independent even though those watches are quickly climbing out of sight price-wise...... 

With recent Pateks, you can avoid hand-finishing entirely!

 By: Spangles - Mr. Tabby : November 25th, 2020-10:56
Up to annual calendars and sport watches, at least. As for machine finishing with a hand-finishing final step, that is the way things are done even for most independents, as I'm sure you know. Even Roger W Smith is using CNC machines and Philippe Dufour i... 

I suppose some pieces must be precision cut...I get that...

 By: mdg : November 25th, 2020-11:15
...but afterward I would want that machine-cut piece to be finished by a person and not left 'as is' or finished further by yet another machine. Don't get me wrong, I really like many PP watches. But if I had FU money (I don't) I would buy a PP watch and ... 

I hope you have FU money very quickly!

 By: Spangles - Mr. Tabby : November 25th, 2020-17:20
A watchmaker offered to do fine finishing on a watch of my choosing, so it's certainly possible!

Working on it...

 By: mdg : November 25th, 2020-23:18
...just need another IPO : )

Swiss Wristwatches exports January-October 2020 (including 2014-2020)

 By: PoyFR : November 23rd, 2020-22:00
From : Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH Link ⇣ Swiss watch exports January-October 2020

Fair comment on the first part of your reply ! Regarding the second part and from reading the article, I did not...

 By: GLau : November 24th, 2020-09:09
think that Thierry Stern was offering advice to other brands. To me, he was just talking about their family philosophy on how to manage Patek.


 By: vicunaman1 : November 24th, 2020-06:38
Dear Mr. Stern, The most important fact is that the quality and style of your product is maintained. We are all sorry for the international misfortunes hovering from above. Firstly I wish better health conditions to all on our planet...and I am glad that ... 

Thank you

 By: vicunaman1 : November 24th, 2020-15:32

Nice letter!

 By: Reuven Malter : November 24th, 2020-10:25

Thanks Reuven

 By: vicunaman1 : November 24th, 2020-15:34

Thanks for letting us know of this article ! 👍

 By: GLau : November 24th, 2020-09:03
For me the big question is whether the pandemic has negatively affected demand so much that the 30% decrease in production represents too many watches for the market.

Interesting article. Thanks

 By: watch-er : November 26th, 2020-06:11