My AP 5402 Series A, 1972 with paper by 2011.
These three brands are Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin and are referred to as “The Holy Trinity” in horological circles for being uncompromising, meticulously crafted and assembled complicated details in Watch Design. Namely the Grandmaster, The King and the Prince, as used to call them VC, PP and AP…
Jean-Marc Vacheron (1731-1805) opened his workshop in Geneva in 1755. A younger contemporary of pioneering watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, Vacheron was a superb craftsman, cabinotier, and an eager horologist. His first notable creation, the Silver Watch, had its key-wound movement secured to the solid silver case. In 1785 Jean-Marc's son, Abraham, took command of the business and saw it through the decade of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1799.
Two Polish immigrants to Geneva, Antoni Patek, a businessman, and Francois Czapek, a watchmaker, founded “Patek, Czapek & Cie” on May 1st, 1839. In 1844 Patek met Jean-Adrien Philippe, a French watchmaker who introduced Patek to his pioneering system of setting and winding the watch via the crown.
In 1932 the company was purchased by Charles and Jean Stern, two brothers who owned a fine dial manufacture in Geneva. The name was changed finally to “Patek Philippe S.A.” and has remained in the Stern family ever since. In 2009, presidency of the company changed to Thierry Stern, who makes this the 4th generation of the Stern family ownership.
Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 when Jules Louis Audemars joined together with Edward Auguste Piguet. Their goal was to develop and manufacture watches with complex mechanisms. Audemars Piguet is well respected today because it is the oldest fine watch-making manufacturer never to have left the hands of its founding families.
They are having different client, value, image and company product direction.
The First Nautilus 3700/1 1976
Idea is from the merchant vessel's porthole
Genius and the Nautilus
Gerald Genta remembered that he designed the watch that was later named Nautilus during the Basel Trade Fair:
"I was at a hotel restaurant and some people from Patek were sitting in one corner of the dining hall eating, while I was sitting alone in the other corner.
I told the waiter: “Bring me a piece of paper and a pencil, I want to design something” and I designed the Nautilus while watching Patek people enjoying the food!
It was a sketch that I completed in 5 minutes". Genta's illustration below was based on that initial sketch!
PP is conservative in creating new look of watches though we are seeing more NEWER design in these two years!
Patek is used to make expensive, complicated watch, the often record holder for Auction. An hedge fun of your loss on the stock market by putting money on Vintage PP watches.
We used to say Old man’s watch. Yes, who could possibly entitled to buy an entry level watch which is two times the price of a Submariner. Only older people can have s deep procket to buy.
VC is more in making dress watch, complicated watch to beat the King. In 1960 to1970, Vacheron was ahead of Patek in the quality/detail race for the title as KING. The Vacheron was a much classier watch in its day.
The Prince AP is outrageously like a stray horse, very fast in launches new model for the younger generation. It is Bold enough to make a 57.2mm ref. T3 where PP could never had such thought in mind.
Which one is better? Well these are the best iconic product that we could possibly say.
Solid Gold Nautilus, my dream watch for weekends
The 5402 Jumbo launched in 1972 that saved the Company from Bankruptcy
A Superb Dress watch VC "222"
The bracelet design resembles the Gold snake that wraps around your wrist comfortably.
It weighs 182 grams, 30 grams heavier that the solid gold AP Jumbo 39mm
PP’s Nautilus 1976
AP’s Royal Oak Jumbo ref 5402
VC’s 222 in 1977 (I like model number “222” in Cantonese “Easy, Easy and Easy)!
These are the Holy Trinity of these Top Brands of Watch in the World!
I wonder on earth who owns these three watches at same time.
Send me picture if you are the Lucky one!