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Timeless Style: An Interview With Mark Hearn

01 January 16

In January, Cheshire Life were delighted to interview Mark Hearn, Managing Director at Patek Philippe.

In January, Cheshire Life were delighted to interview Mark Hearn, Managing Director at Patek Philippe. 

How did you start your career in the watch industry?

After spending three and a half years in Geneva working for the Swiss division of Procter & Gamble (P&G) in the Marketing department, I had the chance to join the watch industry and jumped at this opportunity as watches were my passion since my childhood. I joined Zenith Watches UK and worked there until 2000, when I was invited to join Patek Philippe as Managing Director for the British market.

What is it about ‘luxury’ watches that attracts people, like moths to a flame?

In our case, the customers are looking for the quality, accuracy and heritage with our timepieces.

How do you sum up Patek Philippe watches, for those who aspire to own one?

Patek Philippe has values that summarise really well what our timepieces represent: independence, tradition, innovation, quality and fine workmanship, rarity, value, aesthetics, service, emotion and heritage. Also I would say that our timepieces are a combination of technical perfection with timeless aesthetics.

What watch do you wear every day? Or do you change them according to your mood?

I change according to the occasion, but probably wear an Annual Calendar model 5146G the most, as it has a very useful complication which was invented by Patek Philippe, namely the Annual Calendar which takes into consideration the 30 and 31 days changeover at the end of the month, so it only needs to be adjusted at the end of February.

How has the market changed over the last few years? Have you noticed a change in attitude towards the purchase of luxury brands?

Yes, I believe people are looking for traditional and high quality products. The global recession, for example, showed that peoples’ values had changed; they started looking more for understated excellence. The ladies watch market was another area that had some interesting changes. Ladies have been more interested in the inside of the watches, being more interested in complicated mechanical than quartz movements.

Every Patek Philippe watch movement is handmade at your premises in Switzerland; how many craftsmen are employed there and what does their apprenticeship look like?

We are 2,000 employees worldwide, being approximately 200 qualified watchmakers. We constantly invest in training not only to have the most capable professionals, but also to pass the skills and expertise alive. Each year we create 49,000 mechanical pieces and 9,000 quartz ladies’ models.

Patek Philippe retains an aura of style that is more Grace Kelly than Kim Kardashian, how is this managed and is it a deliberate strategy?

We are an understated company with focus on excellence. We live and breathe to produce the finest watches in the world. The accuracy and quality of our watches and service we offer are key for us. Our advertising reflects this well. We do not do celebrity endorsement; it is not part of the company’s communications strategy. The stars of our campaigns are our watches.

What do you say to people who raise their eyebrows at the price tags?

In our case, our customers do not raise their eyebrows, they know that the price reflects the true quality and craftsmanship that has gone into manufacturing their timepiece and that it is the right one for each watch made.

 

 



Our Showrooms

Over the years, generations of families have become customers of Prestons, and many have gone on to become friends. Today, our teams look forward to welcoming you to our showrooms in Surrey, Cheshire and Leeds.

Prestons Guildford

Surrey

Our Guildford showroom, which is now located on the opposite side of the high street, is designed to reflect the architectural merit of the Edwardian building it now occupies. The store features newly extended spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases, alongside a comfortable lounge to allow our clients to explore our bridal and fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Wilmslow

Cheshire

Located in the heart of Wilmslow, this showroom features a selection of spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases. Of course, the bridal collections Prestons have always been famous for remain a prominent feature of the store and surround the famous Aquarium Bar which sits at its centre. Explore This Showroom

Rolex by Prestons, Leeds

Yorkshire

This showroom, located in Victoria Gate, features extensive Rolex showcases alongside a discrete VIP lounge. Every element of the interior design radiates the values of the Rolex crown: excellence, precision and attention to detail from louvre walls in walnut, to the careful calibration of colours and patterns within the fittings and furnishings. Explore This Showroom
Guildford showroom