Watchmaker Patek Philippe has set up a Hong Kong office to act as a template for distributors of the luxury timepieces in Asia. In January, the Geneva-based company appointed Libertas its sole agent in Hong Kong to cover the Hong Kong, China, Macau and Philippine markets. The watchmaker is the company's only client. The 5,000-square-foot Libertas office in Tsim Sha Tsui acts as a distribution and service centre to market and promote the watches. It also ensures that there is direct local representation. A quarter of the office houses a service centre where two Swiss-trained technicians do repairs. Libertas managing director Alan Lau said the technicians were not busy as the timepieces - which start at $40,000 and run above $3 million - functioned smoothly. 'I would not call this office the Asian headquarters [for Patek Philippe] as there are independent companies acting as agents in the region,' he said. 'We want to use the Hong Kong office as a showcase to indicate that this is what Patek expects from its distributors. It is an example to follow. 'Eventually, we would like to have the service centre provide training to the technicians of other agencies in the region.' Mr Lau suggested buyers of luxury watches should have them serviced or overhauled every two to three years. He said proper maintenance would ensure the timepiece enjoyed a lifespan of more than 100 years. Patek Philippe is one of the last independent watchmakers and produces only 20,000 timepieces a year. Asia accounts for about 35 per cent of its sales, with Hong Kong buyers accounting for 15 per cent - about 3,000 pieces a year. Mr Lau said the company had three types of customers - watch lovers, status seekers and collectors. In April, a 1939 Patek Philippe Calatrava platinum wristwatch set a new world record when it was sold for $12.96 million at a Swiss auction, shattering the old mark by more than $6 million for another Patek timepiece. Last year, the company sold what was reported to be the most complicated timepiece made. The Calibre 89, a platinum pocket watch, has 1,728 parts, two main dials (front and back), eight discs and 24 hands. It can perform 33 time-keeping functions. The watch was sold to an unidentified buyer for an undisclosed price. The first Calibre 89, constructed in yellow gold, took nine years to complete and was sold at an auction in 1989 for $25 million. Mr Lau said Hong Kong customers were buying for the name, tradition and craftsmanship. 'This is something that can last forever with the proper care. If you go to antique watch fairs, it's not uncommon to see 100-year-old Patek Philippe watches functioning as new,' he said. This year, the company has about 200 models in Hong Kong, including about 50 new ones. Mr Lau said the company did not have to rely so much on the sales of new models because old styles remained popular.