Sandrine Stern, as head of Patek Philippe’s creation department and wife of Thierry Stern, president of the brand’s board of directors, is the First Lady of a watch manufacture which creates timepieces that make connoisseurs’ eyes light up and consistently set new records at auctions year after year. She is managing both the brand’s product portfeuil and the Stern dinasty.
She entered in the watchmaking and jewelry word very soon, because her father, before becoming an independent jeweller, studied precision-mechanics and was at the head of a jewellery team in a small company that specialised in the production of jewellery cases for high end Swiss watch brands. As a child she was sometimes able to accompany him to his workplace and visit the workshops: “The first time I visited I must have been about three years old and for me it was a world of magic”.
Also for this reason, she decided to focus her studies on gemology. To finance her studies she looked for a part-time job and luckily, the first job she was offered was at Patek Philippe. She could not hesitate in accepting, her father was so proud. It was only a short-term job but, instead of staying three months as originally planned, she has been there for over 18 years! Her first position was for the commercial team. But in 1998 she joined the watch creation team and she is now head of that department.
“My ideal for a watch is to have a constant companion. A wristwatch ought to be a piece that one can wear the whole day,” she says. Disproportionately trendy frills are taboo: “Women have so many things through which they can live their love for fashion. We all like jewellery, shoes or bags. But a watch is something functional that ought to be lastingly beautiful.”
While her husband is often away on business trips, she stays at home in Geneva with her children, her family and her work. After all, she directs a department with eight colleagues who continually tweak the latest sketches and ideas. “As my husband always says, I am his favourite complicated piece.”
That’s an example of a mother.
Happy mother’s day!