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How Much Does a Patek Philippe Watchmaker Earn?

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe is associated with luxury and is regarded as one of the top Swiss watchmaking brands of all time. Have you ever wondered about a Patek Philippe watchmaker salary? After all, the timepieces are usually so costly, and the skills behind their assembling should be well compensated. Well, watchmaking has never been a prestigious career, at least to most job seekers who would rather be in a corner office.

However, watchmakers’ demand has kept going up because watch owners are not ready to have their valuable timepieces in the hands of unskilled repairers. So let’s see how much you would make if you chose to work for the renowned company as a watchmaker.

Salary of a Patek Philippe Watchmaker

Unfortunately, getting to know the amount that a Patek Philippe watchmaker earns is a challenge; even past employees do not disclose how much they earn. However, they are gracious enough to post how the pay package is good and have nothing negative to say on the company review. It is safe to say that probably the company pays its employees a much more lucrative package than other competing watchmakers.

On average, a watchmaker makes between $36,000 and $53,000 a year; top earning professional watchmakers can take home $62,500 to $100,000. This amount cuts across the different luxurious brands in the watchmaking industry, meaning that all watchmakers are only paid a very low percentage of what the products they help build sell for in the market.

The Commitment of Patek Philippe to Quality Watchmaking

On the company website, Patek Philippe emphasizes its commitment to customer service. They provide top-notch restoration, repair, and service to their watches regardless of how old they are. That commitment is also reflected in how careful they are in selecting their watchmakers.

Since the professional watch repairers must be proficient in every aspect of the watchmaking profession that includes observation, polishing, and quality control, the company has ensured that it trains its own workforce. Patek Philippe has four training levels, and each recruit must have at least 2-5 years of professional training to be admitted to any of the levels.

Upon completing one level, the watchmaker must practice for at least 36 months before being allowed to move to the next level. The levels comprise essential maintenance, classic, complications, and grand complications. Even if you are an accomplished watchmaker, you must attend a refresher course if you have not attended any training program for four or more years.

How to Become a Patek Philippe Watchmaker

On a video posted in abc7 NY, Larry Pettinelli, the then, Patek Philippe US President, said that finding fully trained watchmakers and recruiting them was nearly impossible given the rate they need the workforce. He explained that the company wants to be in a position where it can service every watch it has ever made, and without enough watchmakers, that was impossible to achieve.

Therefore in October 2015, the Patek Philippe Horology Program was launched in New York. Laurent added that they look for people with passion, capability, and dexterity, among other attributes. You may wonder why they had a hard time getting the right candidate despite the many watchmaking institutions in the US. The article explains only a few candidates complete their training; even those that do, only a small percentage can qualify for the Patek Philippe training.

Being Selected for the Program is Not Easy

To cement how hard it is being selected for the training program, even the New York program was not publicized. Instead, the company preferred a headhunter to handpick those he felt had a chance and asked them to apply. 30 people applied, and only 80 managed to get to the New York workshop for a presentation from technical teams and executives. The filtering process was not over; of the 80, only six made it to the final cut based on their curiosity levels, interest, and reactions during the visit.

The 2015 program was the second of its kind- the first training program launched in 2013 in Shanghai. Since it takes two years to train the selected individuals, the program calls for applications every two years. In 2017, 380 prospective watchmakers applied, but as always, only six were selected. If you wonder why many youths bother applying, knowing that their chance of selection is slim, the program is free. Students do not pay tuition and are given a stipend to cater for their expenses.

This is a better incentive than Watches of Switzerland Training and Education Program (WOSTEP), which, as disclosed in a thread posted on Watchuseek, has a tuition fee for the two-year training course. What’s more, after graduation, those who train with Patek Philippe are guaranteed a job at the Patek Philippe, but they are not obligated to take it.

Should You Consider a Career in Watchmaking?

The only thing that keeps people in business is if what they are offering has demand. In the case of watchmaking, you can be guaranteed that you will have more than enough customers looking for repair of mechanical watches. According to Medium, of the 1.2 billion watches produced every year, several million are mechanical watches.

Mechanical watches have the advantage of being dismantled, put back together again, and still function as new. Therefore, it is no surprise that Patek Philippe’s slogan is that you do not own their watches; you only look after them for the next generation. Patek also increased its watches in 2018 from 50,000 to 60,000 hence the need for more watchmakers as it is determined to service each of its products.

There were only 19 watchmakers available to service 10,000 watches that year in the company’s New York subsidiary. Therefore if you have the patience, dexterity, and passion for watchmaking, watch out for the next Patek Philippe training program. You never know; you might be among the chosen few.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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