In an unprecedented step, Patek Philippe has revised its previous policy changes on the Extract from the Archives. Two critical changes relate to the age of a timepiece for which an Extract from the Archives can be given, and the amount of time between which a new Extract can be requested.

When the new policies for requesting an Extract from the Archives were posted on April 1, the watch community was shocked and disappointed. Patek made the decision to only issue Extracts from the Archives for watches made before 1989. In addition, only one Extract would be issued for a watch, irrelevant of the number of owners. Thankfully, these two important policies have now changed as follows:

Extract from the Archives “can be requested only for timepieces whose date of sale exceeds 10 years from the date of request on the website.”

“Only one Extract per timepiece can be requested during a 12-month period:

  • In the event of multiple requests for the same timepiece originate from different sources, only the first request will be fulfilled.”

The increased cost from 150 CHF to 500 CHF remains the same, as does the previous policies. However, the fact that Patek listened to its partners, owners and collectors and changed critical parts of its new policy is an action rarely, if indeed ever seen from the 173-years old company. Renowned for doggedly following its strict code of practices, it is refreshing to say the least that Patek was willing to make a change. For collectors it is an essential change. It appears that the company appreciates that the resale and vintage markets are an intrinsic part of the value of owning a Patek Philippe timepiece. In an interview that Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe gave to in April he did admit to a potential future change based on the then backlash, “I have discussed this with my dad, which is important as he has a lot of experience, and I accept that maybe I was wrong and went too far (in terms of the cut-off date). So I will now maybe reduce the number of years.” He was also candid about why he had made the decision to only provide Extracts for timepieces dating before 1989, “We are not willing to let down all the collectors out there. This is not something I will do. But, I would also like to stop all the parallel business that has been abusing our system, which is equally unfair on our clients”. Credit must be given to Thierry Stern for not only listening to the watch community, but also to his father, Philippe Stern. One of the many advantages of a family-owned and run company is that change can be made quickly when needed.

At Collectability, we suggested that Patek could consider changing the date for Extracts to watches 20 years or older. This would allow the market, especially dealers and auction houses, to focus on pieces over 20 years old and help support a vintage market that is the backbone of the watch collecting universe. For current production watches, and pieces still with retailers, this 20-year limit will be far away from the secondary market and not support it in any way. The fact that Patek will now issue Extracts for watches 10-years or older really shows that it listens to its community of current watch buyers and retailers.

Perhaps Patek also heeded a prediction from many, including Collectability that as a result of its previous new policy, the consequences could be severe. For example, Collectability predicted that Patek will see an increase of more than 20 – 30% of service estimate requests as many collectors, and those in the industry will attempt to obtain service estimates as a way to circumvent the extract request procedure. Thankfully, this may not be the situation now.

Whatever the reason that encouraged Patek Philippe to take the extraordinary step to change a policy, we commend and thank them for showing respect to their extended community of owners past, present and future. The archives will remain a bedrock of understanding vintage Patek Philippe.

For a detailed analysis on the importance of Extract from the Archives and why policy changes matter, please read this.

Read the interview with Thierry Stern here.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

More Stories
Beginners guide to collecting
A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Patek Philippe