Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director

//Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director

Sandrine hero.jpg?ixlib=rails 1.1  Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director Sandrine Hero

Last week, during the Patek Philippe Grande Exhibition in New York, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sandrine Stern, Creative Director of Patek Philippe and wife of Thierry Stern, the brand’s CEO. We covered everything from her entry into the watch industry to the Grand Exhibition itself to her favorite watch.

Cara Barrett

How did you get into the industry?

Sandrine stern

I came to Patek Philippe around 21 years ago. Patek Philippe was smaller, because it was not the same thing as today. It was already such a big brand in terms of a watch company, and I knew this brand because my father is a jeweler. So I always knew Patek Philippe, it was not abstract for me. I knew that Patek Philippe was the best watch manufacture at that time.

I started in the commercial area for Patek Philippe and then I met my husband, and now I’m the head of the creation division. But it took a long time [to get where I am] but for me it was very important to understand how Patek Philippe worked. But back then was very different from today. Not in terms of watches, not in terms of family, but in terms of size and impact. Now we have the Grand Exhibition, but before this was not the case. We had smaller exhibitions. And for me, I have been completely integrated [into the company] because it was my first job. I don’t have any other brands in my head, so I completely understand this brand.

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director 20012318 copy 2

CB

How were you involved in the Grand Exhibition?

SS

I’m not involved in logistics, but was involved in the selection of watches. Also on things like who will be here in terms of the artisans. We work together on this. But, you know, for me I have to understand also that when we knew that we would be in New York, we had to remember that the conversation should be about the USA as a whole.

The other part, which is very interesting for me, is my husband, because he has traveled the US extensively. He met with the retailers, he also met with the America customers, so he found inspiration in his interactions and understanding of the US market. This is why we have pieces with the references to Native American history, Napa Valley, and the first moon-landing.It was very important to cover the whole ofAmerica, not only the one specific town [of New York City].

CB

How involved were you in the choosing of subject matter for the special pieces, such as the Native American Chief enameled pocketwatch?

SS

All the watches you see here, we were quite confident in and said, “Okay, this is the subject and this is the piece.” Once we choose the subject, we chose which technique we would like to use on it.For example, with the world time minute repeater, we had to choose the New York City skyline for the center of the dial, for the ladies’ minute repeater we had to choose what kind of diamonds we would like to use. During this process we used drawings and renderings lots of drawings, a lot of research with my team. Once we had it all on the table, then we started to narrow it down, “Okay, this one is okay, this one also, this one also.”

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director 20012321 copy 2

CB

For the new releases, were the Pilot’s Calatrava and World Time Minute Repeater chosen because you felt those two models would be popular for the US market?

SS

We felt that the Travel Time and the Pilot’s watch would do well here because the color was nice and the case was nice, but also that both are new watches. For the Travel Time specifically, we felt that because it was a complicated watch and we have found the American customers are also specialists who can appreciate a high-level complication such as this.

CB

What was your favorite of the new women’s pieces?

SS

I like the World Time from the women’s collection because it is completely different. I chose the blue for the center because I thought it was nice to tie the women’s watch in with the men’s.

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director 20012330 copy 2

CB

How do you approach a new watch design?

SS

I think it comes down to knowing the brand. It’s not a question of knowing the market, but of understanding or own DNA and how to apply that to our new releases. It’s a collaborative effort and we look at the deigns and say, “Yes, I like that. No, I don’t like that. Yes, I can recognize that it is a Patek Philippe. No, I can’t tell that is a Patek Philippe.” We really enjoy the process and it’s fun to see a watch transition from drawing, to prototype, to final product. We want it to be interesting and easy to wear. Ultimately, it comes down to trusting our instincts and the final product.

CB

What is your favorite vintage piece in the collection?

SS

For me, I love the Calatrava.

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director 20012305 copy 2

CB

What watch are you wearing today?

SS

A white gold Calatrava that we released three years ago. It has a cloisonnenamel dial with rose motif.

Interview: With Sandrine Stern, Patek Philippe Creative Director 20012343 copy 2

CB

How is Patek Philippe trying to reach a younger audience?

SS

Last year we had the Pilot’s watch, this year we have the perpetual calendar reference 5320. Today, we know that the younger generation likes vintage watches also. Launching these kinds of [vintage-inspired] pieces helps engage with the younger generation because they like them. There are a lot of young people that are interested by the watches. And what is also very nice and wonderful is to have watchmakers here [at the Grand Exhibition] who can explain and show them things and that it’s not just a watch, you have to understand also the case, the movement, how it works, and the young people like that.

By | 2017-07-26T22:28:17+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

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