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Updated: 27 Mar 2015

Patek Philippe: New Price of Luxury

Customers must apply to purchase one of the seven available watches.

Swiss luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe is celebrating its 175th anniversary by releasing a groundbreaking $2.6m watch that comes with a twist: money alone isn’t enough to get hold of one.

The Grandmaster Chime is a micromechanical masterpiece, boasting 20 complications (features beyond simple timekeeping functions), two dials, 214 individual parts and elaborate case decoration. With just seven made, potential customers must make an application to assess their eligibility to buy one of the six available timepieces (the seventh is being kept for the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva). 

The process of applying, and likely competing against other candidates, swiftly exalts the watch into a major collectible for fans of Patek Philippe’s timepieces. The concept taps into the way that shrewd luxury brands are utilising the notion of cultivating rites and rituals to build a loyal, and ideally obsessional, following. For more on this, look out for our upcoming report Beyond Product: Rites, Rituals & Culture Clubs in our new luxury-focused Macro Trend, publishing on April 7. 

For more on how Patek Philippe is affording customers a look inside, see our blog post Insider Perspective: Patek Philippe. See also Monetising Brand Heritage and 21st Century Archives. For more on essential new strategies for selling jewellery and watches, see Rejuvenating Jewellery Retail