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RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Foundation stone laying ceremony for the new Patek Philippe building in Plan-les-Ouates

In January 2015, Patek Philippe announced its decision to strengthen its presence in Geneva with the construction of a new building on its manufacturing site in Plan-les-Ouates. A total of CHF 500 million (CHF 450 million for the construction and CHF 50 million for the production technical equipment) will be invested into this new building, which by 2018 will provide additional space for new activities and the transfer of know-how. The family-owned company is again making a strong commitment to its Geneva origins.

Patek Philippe celebrated the laying of the foundation stone on October 15, 2015, in the presence of around 200 guests. Mr. Philippe Stern, Honorary President and Mr. Thierry Stern, President, addressed the many guests, alongside Mr. de Marignac, architect, Mr. Xavier Magnin, Mayor of Plan-les-Ouates, and the Geneva State Counselor Mr. Antonio Hodgers.

Together Thierry Stern, Xavier Magnin and Antonio Hodgers lay the foundation stone thus marking the beginning of a major construction site in the development of Patek Philippe.

"We are delighted that this project will allow us to further expand and sustainably safeguard the continuity of our business activities; at the same time, it expresses the strong alliance between Patek Philippe and Geneva," said Philippe and Thierry Stern. "The support we have received from the cantonal government and the community of Plan-les-Ouates gives us the assurance that we can implement this expansion project under ideal circumstances and within an optimized time frame. It is an important initiative in the long-term interest of our company's development and future."

Developing new technologies and sophisticated artisan skills, as well as reinforcing and transferring know-how

The enlargement of the Plan-les-Ouates site with an additional building is motivated by the objective of developing new business activities and creating ideal prerequisites for the multifaceted requirements imposed on Patek Philippe's in-house basic and advanced training programs. This applies in particular to the following domains:

Innovation

Intensification of applied research in horological technologies (as a complement to the research projects pursued by the Patek Philippe Chair at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), specifically by establishing new test and homologation laboratories.

Artisan professions: Creation of a new "Rare Handcrafts" department that will accommodate some 40 internal and external artisans. The department will also include a training center dedicated to these rare artisan skills that are extremely important to Patek Philippe.

Service: Provision of manufacturing and warehousing resources for spare parts to consolidate repair activities with a special focus on the restoration of old timepieces. 

Training: Centralization in Geneva of training assets for watchmaking and repairs, as well as sales and marketing for watchmakers, distributors, and retailers in Switzerland and abroad.

Optimization of capacities for the long term

Since the manufacture consolidated all of its activities in Plan-les-Ouates in 1996, it has grown significantly. Soon thereafter, in 2003, it became necessary to relocate the exterior components department to Perly, a neighboring community of Plan-les-Ouates. The purchase of a plot of land in 2009 enlarged the Plan-les-Ouates site, making it possible to renovate and extend a building to accommodate the production of all movement parts.

The new building will provide a floor area of about 110,000 m2, half of which is dedicated to production, spread out on six stories as well as four underground levels. When completed in 2018, it will provide space requirements for future development. The new building creates an opportunity to reconsolidate all Geneva-based activities on a single site and is expected to offer sufficient reserves for Patek Philippe's growth in the next 20 to 30 years.

State-of-the-art production resources

Both structurally and in terms of its technical installations, the new building will comply with strict energy conservation guidelines. Overall, the building's energy efficiency largely corresponds to the Minergie-P standard. 

The building permit application was filed on December 10, 2014, and Patek Philippe launched the construction site in the spring of 2015. It is estimated to last four years. 

Financed entirely by Patek Philippe, the building was designed by Frisk de Marignac Pidoux, an architectural firm headquartered in Geneva. It will be built by Thônex-based contractors Frei & Stefani SA. 

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