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The Different Watchmaking Materials Used by Patek Philippe

Founded in 1851 in Geneva, Patek Philippe is one of the world’s most respected and enduring luxury watch brands. The brand has its own watchmaking academy, where watchmakers are highly trained to craft watches with the utmost attention to detail.

Patek Philippe uses many materials that are common among other watchmaking companies, but what sets them apart from the rest is their commitment to excellence and fine craftsmanship. Many of their watches are made using techniques and materials that no other brand in the industry uses.

Different Watchmaking Materials Used by Patek Philippe

Traditional Materials Used by Patek Philippe


Gold is often the first metal you think of when considering fine metals. It’s luxurious, gorgeous, and stands the test of time—it won’t tarnish or develop a patina as it ages. Instead, a gold watch from a century ago will look the same as it did the day it was made (although it might have gained some scratches in that time, but that’s nothing a watch repair service can’t fix).

Patek Philippe’s watch cases are forged from pure gold rather than combined with lower-quality materials. This gives their watches a brilliant shine and sense of grandeur.


Platinum is expensive, rare, and luxurious, so it’s no surprise that Patek Philippe uses platinum to craft their watch cases.

Like gold, platinum is resistant to signs of corrosion and aging. It’s a light yet strong material, and it has a certain luster to which no other material can compare. But it’s a beast to work with, which is what drives up the price of Patek Philippe platinum watches compared to other watches of the same brand.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel watches are an industry standard. They make up the Patek Philippe Nautilus collection. Most of these watches are left with their original silver color, though some are tinted gold or rose gold.

One big drawback of stainless steel is that it is prone to scratches (though a good watch repair service can restore it to like-new condition). However, Patek Philippe’s stainless-steel watches are a cut above the rest. Their extreme attention to detail, precision, and beauty makes even watches made from this relatively common material luxury items.


Titanium on a Patek Philippe watch? This might surprise anyone but the biggest Patek Philippe fans, as its next to impossible to find a titanium watch from this brand on the market. The manufacturer reserves titanium only for extraordinary occasions—there are only 12 in existence!

Titanium is a less common material for other watchmakers as well, perhaps because of its hardness and difficulty in polishing. Despite this, titanium is still an excellent choice for watches due to its lightness and scratch resistance.


When you think of sapphire, you probably think of the precious gem used in jewelry. And while Patek Philippe is no stranger to using precious stones in their watches, in this case, and with other watchmaking brands, sapphire is used to make the watch crystal (the clear glass-like cover over the dial of the watch).

Sapphire is one of the hardest materials on earth—it rates just under diamond on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes it incredibly scratch-resistant, so it’s perfect for preventing a lot of watch repair trips. Many other brands are known to use plastic or mineral glass for their watch crystals, but Patek Philippe only uses the best, so sapphire crystals are their standard.


Another stone Patek Philippe uses is quartz. This is extremely common among nearly every watch brand in the world, but only some know why.

Quartz watches are battery-powered watches that use a quartz crystal to regulate their electronic oscillators. Quartz watches are known for their accuracy. Although watch elitists sometimes snub the quartz variety, Patek Philippe’s quartz watches are nothing to scoff at. The manufacturer uses the same level of precision and care in their quartz watches as they do with every other watch they produce.

Unique Materials and Methods Used by Patek Philippe


Enamelwork isn’t the rarest feature in watches nowadays, but it’s by no means a standard detail. But what sets the enamelwork of a Patek Philippe watch apart is the extreme precision and methodology used to produce fine enamel details.

Enamel is a stained glass-like substance made from silica sand. It is ground to a powder, mixed with water, and painted onto the watch dial to make gorgeous miniature works of art.

At Patek Philippe, enamelers use a few different techniques in their work. The first involves bending a fine gold wire to form an intricate design and painting enamel within these gold lines. Another method they use consists of cutting out hundreds of tiny pieces of gold leaf, which are then embedded into the enamel. Every part of the enamelwork process is done by hand.

Enamelwork has always been a Genevan tradition, and that’s thanks in no small part to Patek Philippe’s efforts. Their enameled watches are truly pieces of art crafted by some of the most talented enamelers in the world.

Precious Gems

The diamonds and other gems incorporated into Patek Philippe watches are precious but not extremely uncommon in the world of luxury watches. Again, though, the detailed methods and standards that Patek Philippe employs in its gemsetting are what set the brand apart from other companies.

Every gem in a Patek Philippe watch—whether in the dial, bezel, crown, or more—is set by hand. They’re never bonded using adhesive, and every gem must meet Patek Philippe’s standards: internally flawless, perfect proportions and symmetry, and a conflict-free background.

Patek Philippe: Unparalleled Excellence

Patek Philippe’s mission is to be recognized as the foremost luxury watch brand in the world. They often go the way of traditional handwork instead of machine-made mass production. They use only the finest materials in their watchmaking. Whether those materials are common or unique in the world of watchmaking, Patek Philippe ensures that every watch they produce is beautifully designed and masterfully assembled.