Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography by Nicholas Foulkes is the definitive history of the legendary Swiss watch company. Drawing on exclusive interviews with the company’s owners and with staff and watchmakers past and present, as well as on hitherto unseen documents from the company’s archives, this special volume celebrates the history of a unique company. Renowned historian, author, and editor Nicholas Foulkes traces the Patek Philippe history from founder Antoine Norbert de Patek’s early life in Poland as a young cavalry officer fighting in a doomed uprising. He recounts Patek’s exile, his life in Geneva, his meeting with gifted watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe, and the 1932 purchase of the company by the Stern family who, over four generations, have turned it into the legend that it is today.
Among other notable tales, The Authorized Biography reveals, for the first time, the discovery and story of a unique timepiece bought by Queen Victoria for her husband, Prince Albert. In addition, Nicholas Foulkes was granted privileged access to interview the widow of famed Swiss jewelry designer Gérald Genta, who was responsible for the design of the first Nautilus model.
The Biography features over 600 images, including specially commissioned photography by Andy Barter, Richard Foster, Jonas Marguet, and Jennifer Niederhauser Schlup.
“I am very pleased to see the history of my family’s company come to life in this excellent volume. This is the first time that the Patek Philippe archive has been accessed and brought to life in a factual and definitive work. Nicholas Foulkes has perfectly recreated the atmosphere and details of our remarkable journey so far.”
Philippe Stern, Honorary President of Patek Philippe
Biography of Nicholas Foulkes
Nicholas Foulkes is the author of around twenty books. He is best known for his critically acclaimed trilogy of nineteenth-century histories: Scandalous Society: Passion and Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century (a biography of Count d’Orsay); Dancing Into Battle: A Social History of the Battle of Waterloo; and Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844. Foulkes is a columnist for Country Life magazine; a contributing editor to the FT’s How To Spend It magazine; a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; luxury editor of British GQ; and special horological consultant for Patek Philippe magazine. He is the founding editor of Vanity Fair On Art, and he has written about the arts for a wide range of periodicals. In 2009 he was appointed to the board of the Norman Mailer Center. He is a graduate of Hertford College, Oxford and lives in London with his wife and two sons, who have graciously accepted his obsession with fine watches – a predilection that has possessed him since childhood.
Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography is published by Preface, part of world-renowned publisher Penguin Random House.