Earlier this year I had the distinct pleasure of joining the famed Patek Philippe for a training session in the brand’s state-of-the-art workshops at Rockefeller Center. Not only did we have full access to the facility and get to work with silicium (you can read more about that here), but also, we learned of an exciting new project the brand was working on.
That project has now been officially launched: the Patek Philippe Horology Training Programme of New York. The program, whose first class started last week, is designed to ensure that there are enough watchmakers to handle after sales service of timepieces for the future.
The program is the first of its kind established by the brand in New York and the second established outside of Geneva (the first was in Shanghai). The long-term training concept underscores Patek Philippe’s commitment to customer service. The school will train potential watchmakers to identify issues with watches and to repair and service certain levels of Patek Philippe timepieces. The first class consists of six students to enter the two-year training program are led by Laurent Junod, Director of Technical Training, who has been with Patek Philippe for 27 years.
Currently, approximately 10,000 watches are serviced or repaired each year by only 19 watchmakers. The new training program at the Henri Stern Watch Agency (HSWA), the Patek Philippe USA subsidiary, will help to handle the load. The concept also enables servicing locally in the USA to alleviate the need to send all repairs and services to Switzerland. Not only will this cut down on Swiss repairs, but also, and more importantly, it will cut down on time for service, as a good number of extra days (even weeks) are added to the service time when customs and paperwork for international transit comes into play.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to develop trained watchmakers here in the US,” says Larry Pettinelli, President of HSWA. “It addresses the fundamental difficulty the entire watchmaking industry has finding highly trained, qualified technicians to preserve complex mechanical timepieces. Candidates completing the Patek Philippe Horology Programme of New York are offered a long-term position with the brand. According to Patek Philippe, nearly 300 applicants vied for the final six spots.