Patek Philippe S.A. was originally founded in Geneva, Switzerland, by Polish immigrants in 1839. Today, the company is one of the premier luxury watch-makers in the world and has been owned by the Stern family since 1932. The company's famous emblem, the Calatrava cross, was originally the emblem of an order of 12th-century Spanish knights and was adopted by the company in the end of the 19th century.
Patek makes dozens of different watch models in men's and women's styles. But most of them share the same basic operating instructions.
Determining Your Model
To determine the exact model and specifications of your Patek timepiece, flip the watch to the reverse. Extensive information about your timepiece is located on the back. You're looking for the "reference number," which will be given by four digits, with a possible fifth letter suffix. Note that this is different and more specific than the model name (Aquanaut, Gondolo, Nautilus, etc.).
Setting the Date and Time
In order to set the time on your Patek watch, wait until the second hand reaches the 12, then pull the crown out to the farthest setting. The second hand should stop; this will indicate that you're ready to set the time on the watch. Turn the crown until the watch shows the exact time. Consult an atomic clock, like the U.S. Atomic Clock, for extra precision. Press the crown back in to resume ordinary function of the watch.
Many Patek watches also have a date function. This can be changed by pulling the crown out halfway and turning it until it shows the correct date.
Some Pateks have more customizable settings. Consult Patek's website, with your watch's reference number handy, to find out more information about your specific model.
Care and Maintenance
Like all mechanical devices, Pateks need to be maintained regularly. The battery is likely to expire after about a year or two and will need to be replaced at an authorized service agent. Every three to five years, the watch will need routine maintenance. This will include dismantling the watch, cleaning and replacement of basic movement parts, oiling, adjustment, polishing, replacement of certain worn pieces and general quality control. Do not attempt to perform any of this service on your own; bring your Patek to an authorized agent.
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William Guzzardi is a recent graduate of Brown University living in Chicago. His writing has appeared in numerous daily and weekly publications. He is also the poetry editor of the new online literary magazine Wag's Revue, and he works part-time as a professional copy and line editor.