Patek Philippe believes that the skills required to service, repair and restore Patek Philippe watches are much the same as those required to make one.
With the opening of the Patek Philippe Institute Shanghai, the company further extends its commitment to customer service in China. This follows the grand opening of the Maison Patek Philippe and upgraded Service Center in Shanghai in 2012. The establishment of Patek Philippe Institute Shanghai is the embodiment of Patek Philippe’s Values and Quality Seal, a commitment to lifelong servicing and restoration for all timepieces, forever preserving their legendary reliability, generation after generation.
The vigorous demand for customer services, the increasing volume of Patek Philippe watches sold to Chinese customers, and the challenging task of recruiting watchmakers in China all triggered the birth of Patek Philippe Institute Shanghai.
Mr. Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, hosted the opening ceremony of the Institute.
“All Patek Philippe watches are made with the intention that they will last forever. It is our duty to provide the highest standard of customer service, and to make this requirement a key criterion of the Patek Philippe Seal. We believe that the best watchmaker is able to analyze the entire history of a timepiece and fix the watch, whether it was made today or dates back to 1839 when the company was founded. This is the beauty of watchmaking, and this is not something that one can learn from a book. Today, in the presence of our honorary guests and government officials, we are proud to achieve another milestone that demonstrates our promise and continuous investment in customer service”, said Thierry Stern during his inaugural speech.
Having first entered the Chinese market only in 2005, Patek Philippe has remained committed to a stable and steady expansion strategy over the last eight years. To meet sustained demand for Patek Philippe timepieces from watch collectors and enthusiasts in China, the brand is pursuing its strategy of long-term investment, dedication to professional customer service in terms of both equipment set-up and watchmaker recruitment and training, with a guarantee of consistent business operations, thus showcasing Patek Philippe’s exceptional timepieces and commitment to enduring excellence.
Spanning over 900 square meters, the Shanghai Service Center in Yifeng Galleria can accommodate nearly 30 after-sales employees, including the watchmakers and customer coordinators, as well as eight new apprentices recruited from the newly opened Patek Philippe Institute Shanghai.
Mr. Laurent Cantin, the International Customer Service Director of Patek Philippe, led the implementation of the Institute.
He stated: “From 2009 to 2013, the number of customer service cases grew by nearly 50% in both our Shanghai and Beijing Service Centers. To cater for these growing needs, we are determined to recruit and train local watchmakers to best serve our customers in China.”
During a strict recruitment process that lasted about one month, eight apprentices, including four male and four female, passed the tests and were accepted to the program. The curriculum was designed as a two-year program divided into four stages. The apprentices will need to complete a total of 3,500 hours courses consisting of Watchmaking Theory and Practice, as well as English. They will be tested at each stage until the qualification is achieved. Apprentices who have completed the full program will receive a qualification which is equivalent to the Patek Philippe level 2 watchmaker training, allowing them to work directly in the Customer Service Center on watches with basic mechanical, automatic and quartz movements,
Mr. Gijs Terhorst, who was hired by Patek Philippe two years ago, is now the technical trainer at Patek Philippe Institute Shanghai. He was professionally trained at the Geneva headquarters and has worked in Beijing since 2011 as watchmaker.
At Patek Philippe, the international customer service network runs as a non-profit center with investment from the company. In the global network of 55 Authorized Service Centers, each one is handpicked and accredited based on achieving and maintaining a level of service that adheres to strict quality criteria. A fundamental part of what Patek Philippe does, customer service involves taking care the customers as individuals, with unique needs, whilst maintaining consistency in providing the highest level of support.
Guys, this is what I expect from a watch company founded in 1839, and managed by the same family since 1932.
Many other manufacturers should follow this example!