The company, which was first called Patek Philippe & Co, was founded in 1851 by a Polish watchmaker by the name of Antoni Patek and fellow watchmaker Adrien Philippe of France. The first watch to be created however was in 1837. Philippe is best known as the inventor of a winding mechanism that does not require a key. In 1932, two men by the names of Charles and Jean Stern bought the company and called it Patek Philippe, S.A. Since then, the company has persisted as a family-owned entity. In 2009, company control was transferred to the fourth generation when Philippe Stern turned the company over to his son, Thierry Stern. Currently, it is the oldest watch company that is family-owned.