You look after it for the next generation…


Talk to someone who knows nothing about watches and within 60 seconds you’ll no doubt be asked about “that brand” with the “you know … you look after it for the next generation” advertising campaign. Patek Philippe has been using the so-called Generations campaign to sell watches since 1996 without interruption, and the sentimental pairings of sweet family photographs and seemingly timeless watches is still going strong. On the occasion of the campaign’s 20th anniversary, I spoke with a few of the people instrumental in its creation and evolution over the decades, to get the real story behind watchmaking’s most iconic advertisements… More at Hodinkee.

Surely one of the best advertising lines ever, and especially so because it would look silly for another brand to copy it in any way.

Categories: Watches

8 replies

  1. We flew Qatar airlines to Malaysia – quite nice, really, but every video in the entertainment system started with the same super-high-end-marketing ads (luckily you could fast forward) including a father and sun in the traditional white robe and headscarfs, saying how “someday this will be your sons, just like mine will be yours”.

    I guess, for a guy like me who doesn’t “get” watches, trying to figure out why people have multiple heirloom watches is even harder. Do you match it with your outfit or what?

    • It is hard to ‘get’ something that is just jewellery and that simply tells the time, and it is hard to explain why that is. Saying that, for me there is no material possession more important than a particular watch-

      • Sorry, I was a bit more flippant than I meant – actually even though they aren’t the preference for my wrist, I can feel with the appeal of some them you post here, for sure. And combine it with the heirloom aspect, sure – I cherish both my dad’s old typewriter, and a “folk art” christmas tree ornament stand he comissioned (and come to think of it a bow tie of his is around my tuba even now 🙂 – but each of those is a singular object.

        I know there’s not a single answer but I wonder how many watch fans have many pieces, and how many just have one, or maybe a small group they use regularly, and then what usually goes into the decision process of which to wear.

        I imagine a certain group of folk (with much more money) have the same issues with fancy cars 😀

        And other folks with jewelry in general.

  2. Oh, also, I noticed that the not-terribly-expensive wallclock in my family’s guest bathroom has a smoothly sweeping second hand. It’s kind of captivating! (and not just because I know that’s a hallmark of Rolex – it wasn’t THAT smooth, just notably fractions-of-a-second in its tiny jumps)

  3. I think many watch guys have multiple watches that they wear on and off, including heirlooms. I have a few and like to rotate, but it is very easy to get addicted to them.

  4. “Probably electric, maybe didn’t really stutter… just realized I’d be surprised if it was Rolex-quality in movement, but maybe its a lot easier when you can be plugged in”

    Well, not all mechanical watches are Rolex and there are many way ahead of Rolex of course. Most clocks tend to be electric if they are completely smooth, but it isn’t used much. Quartz still tends to be most popular.

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