In Lil Uzi Vert’s latest single, “New Patek,” the rapper makes no effort to conceal his favorite watch brand, singing on the chorus: “New Patek on my wrist / white diamonds them shits hit pink”. He also sings that Franck Muller, AP (Audemar Piguet), and a new Rollie (Rolex) “made me proud of my wrist,” but Patek Phillipe takes the headline billing in a song dripping with references to luxury brands.
It’s the logical endpoint of hip hop’s obsession with luxury Swiss watchmaker Patek Phillipe. Like many trends in hip hop, noted watch enthusiast Jay-Z can take at least partial credit for the trend, but new artists – led by Migos, who mention the brand 28 times in Culture II – have taken the name dropping to the extreme. According to Genius, one of every eight hip-hop songs that charted in 2017 mentioned Patek (that’s Puh-tek). So what do you need to know about the legendary Swiss watchmaking company founded in 1839 to carry on a conversation next time you run into Lil Uzi at New York’s posh Wempe showroom?
A Brief Introduction
Patek Phillipe traces its roots to 1839, when Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek started making watches together in Geneva. They separated in 1844 and in 1845 Adrien Philippe joined Mr. Patek to form Patek Philippe & Co. Fast-forward to today, Patek Phillipe is the last truly independent, family-owned watch maker in Geneva. It has been owned by the Stern family since 1932, and Thierry Stern currently serves as the firm’s president. According to recent interviews with Stern, Patek Phillipe now produces between 40,000 and 50,000 timepieces per year; the company brought in 1.3 billion CHF in revenue in 2016. It’s said that less than 1 million Patek Phillipe watches have been created since the beginning of the company. To this day, every individual part of a Patek’s movement is hand finished, making these watches even more beautiful to look at from the inside than from the outside.