The Tiffany & Co. Stamp: Words to Sell By

Kelly Yoch describes why a Tiffany & Co. stamped Patek Philippe dial became a collector's favorite

Many of you that may see the title of this article and then take a gander at who is writing the article, and know that they are in for a treat.  I spent a little over twelve years developing a passionate clientele for Patek Philippe timepieces that had those three little words “Tiffany & Co” carefully stamped on the dial.  How did this make the watches more important? Why the frenzy to have them?  What does it mean today to have a stamped Tiffany Patek Philippe?  Pour a drink, sit back, and let me tell you a story…

The Tiffany & Co. signature would change over time. Here is a Patek Philippe ref. 3417A made in 1968 when Tiffany & Co. used a different type-face for its logo. Image credit: Collectability

Since 1851, Tiffany & Co. has been the oldest American retailer of Patek Philippe timepieces.  Charles Lewis Tiffany was doing a stellar job here in the good ‘ole US of A selling fancy goods and stationery.  He also became one of the finest to procure rare and extraordinary gemstones.  In Europe, Antoine Norbert de Patek was figuring out the next steps to find the proper distributors for his exquisite timepieces in the USA.  Mr. Tiffany was an obvious choice in the United States and – like all good business – a handshake formed a partnership that would carry through the next two centuries.  Let’s now fast forward to 2008…..

This ref. 5396R, circa 2018 has the Tiffany & Co stamp carefully placed below the moon-phase.Image credit: Collectability

Mr. Thierry Stern, current President of Patek Philippe decided to open an elegant presence on 5th Avenue in New York City.  The obvious choice was to honor the relationship that the brand had with Tiffany & Co. and create a salon there. On the Mezzanine of that famous building on the corner of 57th and 5th you could find not only the largest selection of Patek Philippe timepieces in the USA, but also a regal display of  pieces from the Patek Philippe Museum that would be changed out yearly.  All of this tied into the fact that when visitors looked at the museum pieces, they would see those tiny words on the dial: “Tiffany & Co.”  My co-workers and I spent a good part of 2008 educating most of the visitors to the salon as to why those words were audaciously displayed below Patek Philippe, at six o’clock or maybe within the moon phase aperture.  NO ONE KNEW — I didn’t know when I started to interview for the position!  I was busy loving the brand for the prior 10 years.  I had no idea there was more to love.

Small but mighty: the Tiffany & Co. stamp on the dial of this ref. 5712/1A can be seen to the right of the 6 o’clock marker. Image credit: Collectability

The next half of my career was spent story telling, educating new Patek Philippe owners, and curating lush experiences — all around a dial stamp!  Owning a Patek Philippe was already for the most discerning collector, but now one with some “special sauce?” The salon had people convinced if they were to buy one Patek Philippe and put their wallets away forever, it should be one that represented the history of the brand here in the United States.  On the other hand, times were changing.  The clientele had become much younger.  The Nautilus and Aquanaut were the must-have watches.  These pieces were stamped.  About 80% of Patek Philippe’s full line at Tiffany & Co. were graced with a stamp from the original stamping machine located at the Henri Stern Watch Agency nearby in Rockefeller Plaza.  Reasons that a dial could not be stamped included instances such as guilloché, a pavé diamond dial, or a complication that could not be opened here in the United States (such as a perpetual chronograph).  Did mistakes happen? Well, the stamping machine IS handled by a human — and sometimes, we humans make mistakes.  Today, it is my hope that I can find a lot of these “mistakes” and make sure they are still cared for, or possibly draw up some adoption papers for the new owner.

Not just watches: this Patek Philippe Naviquartz desk clock proudly displays its Tiffany & Co. signature. Image credit: Collectability

As things started to progress into the 2010’s, we had created a “vibe” as the kids say. You DON’T have a Tiffany-stamped Patek Philippe in your collection?! Who ARE you? Oh wait…..Patek Philippe is a brand that was only making approximately 65,000 watches and America was seeing slightly more than 15%.  Tiffany stamped pieces represented less than 1% of the watches that came to States. Can I talk numbers? Well, I speak in Patek Philippe reference numbers and my mind is still functioning on a decent level — I can remember some references and their rarity until I left in 2020.  What can be said about most reference numbers and their Tiffany-stamped dials? Numbers were significantly lower than a piece that was introduced in, let’s say, late 2021. 

Iconic design meets iconic stamp: a platinum Patek Philippe Jumbo Ellipse ref. 5738P elegantly stamped Tiffany & Co. above 6 o’clock. Image credit: Collectability

Fast forward to the present. A Patek Philippe watch is still one of the most coveted pieces in a collection.  The history, the provenance, the craftsmanship — all these things make for a piece of art we so lovingly put on our wrist and maybe even pass down to the next generation.  (I heard that there is a great ad campaign somewhere that uses this line!) To this day, I stand by a Tiffany-stamped Patek Philippe.  It is American history with the prestige of Swiss artistry and skill.  Do you HAVE to have one in your collection?  No, but isn’t it great that you know someone that may find you a beautiful vintage piece?  I hear Collectability knows all the secrets, both vintage and modern.  And there are stories to tell…

June 2024


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