The full press release:
Inauguration of the Patek Philippe Salon
Patek Philippe, Geneva
November 14, 2006
After two years of construction and a total renovation of its historic company headquarters, Patek Philippe inaugurates its thoroughly redesigned salon on Rue du Rhône in Geneva. The new interior expresses the synergies between tradition and innovation, the two key attributes of the eminent brand.
In mid-November 2006, Patek Philippe festively inaugurates its new Salons Patek Philippe.
This reopening marks the end of the companys third major construction project first, in 1996, the completion of the ultramodern production center in Plan-les-Ouates followed by the creation of the Patek Philippe Museum in 2001. The renovation of Patek Philippes historic headquarters between Rue du Rhône and Quai Général-Guisan reaffirms the manufactures determination to welcome its customers in an environment that reflects the excellence its watches.
A prestigious address for horological excellence. Many surprises await visitors to the six-story building, which is Patek Philippes original home and is now categorized as a national monument. Down to the very last detail, it was modeled as an homage to the art of horology that beautifully combines venerable traditions with state-of the-art technologies. The redesign reflects a deep respect for heritage and for the passion that drives creativity. Its ambiance appeals to all senses. Customers will find significantly larger
showrooms, now on two floors, the carefully restored historic Salon Napoleon III, and, on the upper floors, a number of modularly variable rooms for exhibitions and other events with a breathtaking view of the Lake of Geneva basin and its surroundings. On the Rue du Rhône side, where the store entrance is located, five windows showcase the current Patek Philippe collections. The windows are decorated with themes of the program of Genevas Grand Théâtre, emphasizing the manufactures cultural partnership with the famous opera house.
To underscore the significance of the inauguration, an exhibition from November 20, 2006, to February 3, 2007, will present some 160 paintings of Lake of Geneva landscapes from 1880 to 1950. The selection reflects the personal favorites of Patek Philippes President Philippe Stern and will be on display on the third and fourth floors of the building. The title of the exhibition, open to the public on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m., is Tableaux du Léman.
The redesign of the Patek Philippe showrooms was entrusted to respected specialists of global stature, among them the chief set designer and permanent assistant to a famous choreograph, an expert for processing cordovan leather, and the same conservator who once restored the crystal chandeliers of the Versailles Palace. The company even enlisted the services of Genevan perfumer Daniel André, a graduate of the prestigious Givaudan Perfumery School; he was asked to develop a unique fragrance that would permeate the entire building as a sensory symbol of excellence.
Key dates of the Patek Philippe building
In 1853, Patek Philippe moved to the site of the building that now houses the newly renovated showrooms. In the 14 years since the company's founding in 1839, the manufactory had become so successful that it had to move from its first address on Quai de Bergues to the other side of the Rhône River. After continued growth, the company soon ran out of space on Quai Générale-Guisan (formerly Grand-Quai). To accommodate its expansion plans, the manufacture acquired the current building (1891) and commissioned Jacques Elisée-Goss to design the new building as a salon and watchmaking workshop. The famous architect had previously completed two masterpieces, the Hotel National (1875, now Palais Wilson) and the Grand Théatre (1876). Mr. Elisée-Goss was able to convince Patek Philippes management that
the building should be completely overhauled and furbished with the latest technological improvements. Thus, the building, constructed in 1892 on an area of 1200 m2, was fitted with revolutionary developments such as a hydroelectric power generation facility and a central heating system that allowed individual temperature control in every room. In 1908, an additional floor was added and a large electric precision clock was mounted on the façade. It was connected to the same master controller that synchronized all public clocks throughout the city. A number of other renovation projects were conducted between 1935 and 1950, resulting in the loss of the courtyard that separated the wings of the building on Rue du Rhône and Grand-Quai. Despite these efforts, the shortage of space became so acute that in 1964 the production department had to move out and relocate to a new building in Genevas Jonction district. At this point the company headquarters accommodated the administrative staff, the customer service offices, a few studios for smithing and gemsetting, movement casing, and historic watch restoration activities. The sales area (Salons Patek Philippe) was on the ground floor, accessible from Rue du Rhône. It was completely renovated in 1971 and subsequently remodeled and modernized several times until the company decided in 2003 to essentially rebuild the entire property. In the meantime, since 1996, all production departments were
moved to Plan-les-Ouates on the outskirts of Geneva, and the historic pieces as well as the workshop archives were moved to the Patek Philippe Museum on Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers in Genevas Plainpalais quarter. After moving the salon to a temporary space on Place Longemalle 1 in 2004, it was time to begin renovation.
The historic Patek Philippe building, lakeside view, Quai Général-
Fifth floor: Art Déco Salon dedicated to welcoming VIP clients (Photo
Alban Kakulya, Strates Lausanne)
Ground floor : collection showroom, showcases (Photo Alban Kakulya,