Patek Philippe has been one of the world’s best-known and most popular luxury watch brands since its founding more than 180 years ago. Most of you have probably heard of the Geneva-based company’s famous Nautilus sports watch, first introduced in 1976. The Calatrava, which debuted in 1932, is another of the brand’s flagship models.
However, Patek Philippe didn’t always produce large quantities of timepieces exclusively under its own name. Similar to Cartier and IWC, Patek also manufactured high-quality watches for a range of different jewelers up until the 1940s. Their best-known collaboration is undoubtedly with New York’s famous jeweler Tiffany & Co., a partnership that has now spanned more than 170 years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first thing that springs to mind when you hear Patek and Tiffany is 2021’s Nautilus 5711/1A-018, the final ref. 5711. This extremely limited edition features a Tiffany Blue dial and the jeweler’s brand logo.
There is no question that the Tiffany Nautilus is a stunning watch, but where on Earth can you buy one of these timeless pieces? And who has the sums on hand that sellers are demanding these days? Find out more about this special timepiece in Hyla Bauer’s article, Tiffany and Patek Philippe: A Match Made in Heaven?
Today, however, let’s take a closer look at Patek’s work with Brock & Co., an American jeweler that had a reputation not dissimilar to Tiffany’s in the 1920s.
Brock & Co. – The Tiffany of the West
Since its founding in the 1880s, Los Angeles-based Brock & Co. has been known as a purveyor of high-quality jewelry. Named after the company’s founder, George Brock, the jeweler earned the nickname the “Tiffany of the West” in its heyday. In the 1920s, Brock & Co. had their flagship store at 7th and Olive in downtown L.A. They sold a range of international luxury goods, including jewelry from Oscar Heyman, a New York atelier that is still producing fine pieces to this day.
Back in the 1920s, the boutique also sold Patek Philippe timepieces, the dials of which were personalized with the Brock & Co. logo. Examples from this era include the refs. 42 and 425 made of gold or platinum. It was no coincidence that the designs of these watches were reminiscent of the trend-setting Cartier Tank. The Tank had been released about 10 years prior, and Art Deco style defined the industry in the decades to follow. Thus, it’s not surprising that Patek and Brock fully embraced this look.
At the time, Patek didn’t yet make their own rectangular movements, relying instead on calibers from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre. Among others, Patek used the LeCoultre calibers 7 and 8, which featured 18 jewels each, a bimetallic balance wheel, and a flat balance spring. Other movement suppliers included Piguet and Niton.
The white gold watch shown above (the ref. 42) is from the personal collection of Palm Beach-based watch collector and dealer Eric Wind. The time-only watch is striking in its simplicity, doing without a second hand entirely. The two-tone, sector dial is kept deliberately streamlined, with the Brock & Co. lettering placed just above the 6 o’clock position. This particular watch was most likely sold by Brock & Co. in Beverly Hills in the late 1920s.
The company continued to expand into the 1960s under the direction of George C. Brock, the original founder’s son, before ultimately disappearing from the watch and jewelry scene. The partnership between Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co., on the other hand, has stood the test of time and enjoyed extreme success (as we are all probably well aware of at this point). Who knows? There may be more exciting collabs up these companies’ sleeves that go above and beyond the Nautilus 5711/1A-018 with its Tiffany Blue dial. In any case, a piece from Patek Philippe is sure to add timeless elegance to your collection.