In the summer of 2017, New York City will play host to one of Patek Philippe. So, dust away the remnants of 2016, slip on your best suit and be prepared to find the ultimate matching timepiece at the 2017 Patek Philippe Art of Watches Grand Exhibition.
The Art of Watches
This exhibition will be staged at Cipriani 42nd Street from July 13th to July 23rd. It is located just across the street from Grand Central Station, one of the most historic and beautiful buildings in the whole of the United States. And that’s rather apt because it’s being hosted by a brand that has made just as much of an impact on the modern world, a brand that is just as imposing, and just as beautiful: Patek Philippe.
The watchmakers of watchmakers. The original artisans. Patek Philippe is a name that is revered throughout the world of luxury timepieces. They create the must-have watches, with price tags that mean only the richest and the most successful can afford them. Everyone from Popes to Queen Victoria is said to have been the proud owner of a Patek Philippe watch, and for nearly two hundred years they have been one of the most exclusive brands in the world.
However, thanks to the Art of Watches Exhibition, all it takes is the price of a taxi, train, or flight (actual admission is free) and you can gain access to the inner workings of this brand for yourself. At this exhibition Patek Philippe will be showcasing some of their watchmaking skills, demonstrating just how much time and effort go into one of their fine creations.
Additionally, there will be several other demonstrations, showcases, and events, all of which are geared towards keen horologists as well as the general public.
You don’t need to love watches to enjoy this exhibition, but you probably will by the time you leave.
You can expect the following to be on show at the Art of Watches exhibition:
The Old: Patek Philippe have promised that they will be showcasing watches from the 16th century, some of the very earliest mechanical timepieces ever made. They will also be showing watches from their own history in the 19th century and beyond.
The New: Patek Philippe create a select number of watches every year, some more affordable than others. You can expect to see some of their recent creations in this exhibition, including their range for 2017, and maybe even a sneak peek into their selection for 2018.
The Extraordinary: The Grandmaster Chime 6300G is said to be the most complicated Patek Philippe watch ever created. This is a joy to behold, and one that is worth the trek to the exhibition. It has a price tag of over $2.5 million, so the Art of Watches exhibition is as close as most people will get to seeing one.
Who is Patek Philippe?
One of the most esteemed watchmakers in the world, Patek Philippe, embody all that is great and grand about Swiss watch manufacturing. If you ask the average layperson what they think is the most prestigious watch brand in the world, you’ll hear names like Rolex, Omega, and even Tag Heuer. However, if you ask the experts—the true watch aficionados—they’ll tell you it’s Patek Philippe. And in our opinion, they’re right on the money.
Patek Philippe Brings Back its Most Complicated Watch The wristwatch with a 1366-part movement first made for Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary makes a surprise comeback as part of the regular collection.
Located in Geneva, Patek Philippe were founded way back in 1851. Before this, Polish watchmaker Antoni Patek had been crafting unique pocket watches with a Czech business partner. But after they parted ways, Patek joined Adrien Philippe, a skilled French craftsman and an inventor who was credited with inventing the keyless winding mechanism.
Together these two artists of the industry pioneered many inventions that were crucial to creating the modern timepiece, including the perpetual calendar and the chronograph, features which are common in most modern watches and indeed in most Patek Philippe creations.
The Patek Philippe Difference
Not only were Patek Philippe the reason that many modern watchmaking inventions came to life, but they also operate in a unique way, and one that helps them to stand out from the crowd even more. They are one of the few major watchmakers that manufacturers its own watch components, and they also craft many pieces by hand.
Along with Swiss style and quality, buyers of Patek Philippe are also investing in rare pieces. Patek Philippe production numbers average just 40,000 to 50,000 a year, which is in stark contrast to the 700,000+ made by both Rolex and Tag, and accounts for a very small share of the 30 million or so Swiss watches made every single year.
It was only 20 years ago that Patek Philippe introduced its first annual calendar, and it has been updated more than once per year ever since. In 2016, the brand has gone for one of its cleanest iterations of the watch; a simple circular 38.5mm case with an in-line double aperture in the upper half of the dial that displays the day of the week on the left and the month on the right. The date display of the Ref. 5396 is positioned in a large aperture at 6 o’clock. Together with the double aperture, it frames the 24-hour subsidiary dial with the moon-phase display in the lower half of the dial.
Many Patek Philippe timepieces are created using precious metals, with gold (including rose gold and white gold) being the most common. This, along with the rarity, the quality, and the history, goes someway to justifying the fact that Patek Philippe watches retail for upwards of $10,000, with many going for more than $50,000. That’s a lot of money, but Patek Philippe timepieces are considered to be investments. They hold their value better than many other watch brands, providing the buyer with a nest egg that is relatively stable and secure, and also make for a fantastic fashion statement.
So, the next time someone asks you what the biggest watch brand in the world is, think twice before you say “Rolex.” Because while Patek Philippe are not as well known or as commercial, they are leagues above the brand above. If Rolex is the Rolls Royce of watches, then Patek Philippe is the Bugatti Veyron.