How a watch for connoisseurs became one of the world's most iconic brands.


25 years ago, Patek Philippe was a renowned but niche Geneva watch brand – respected by connoisseurs, but unknown to others. At a time when the traditional Swiss watch industry faced enormous pressures from the rise of digital watches, the brand needed to create awareness and appeal.


The answer came from our customer research where we discovered the universal insight that watches for men and women are deeply personal heirlooms for their children. This emotionally powerful insight was the inspiration behind the now iconic campaign “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after if for the next generation”. Over the years, the campaign has been in almost constant evolution to keep pace with changing consumer attitudes and media behaviours, as well as design and photographic trends.


Patek Philippe has been consistently labelled as the most desired watch brand in the world, despite spending a fraction of media budget in comparison to main competitors such as Rolex. Their watches continue to sell-out at launch, with some now having 10-year waiting lists. The campaign is taught in Harvard Business School as a best-in-class example of effective brand marketing.


PATEK PHILIPPE - How a watch for connoisseurs became one of the world’s most iconic brands.

2021 marked 25 years of the ‘Generations’ campaign, known best for the line ‘You never really own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation’. Today, the campaign is in 70 markets and is taught at Harvard as an example of best-in-class brand building.

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Leagas Delaney

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