Excitement abounds in New York City right now with the 2017 Patek Philippe Grand Exhibition. The 11-day public exhibition will showcase Patek Philippe’s tradition of high-precision watch manufacturing, an insight into the company’s 178-year history as well as its heritage in the domain of Haute Horlogerie. This exhibit may very well be the greatest watch exhibit in modern history all while being free and open to the public. Visitors can dive into the world of the last (and possibly the best) privately family owned Geneva watch company from the inside. We are lucky enough to have Billy Ruvelson on location to share pictures of the event. Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern commented:
From its earliest days, when our founder Antoine Norbert de Patek made his first journey to America in the 1850’s until today, the importance of America to Patek Philippe can be seen through our history exhibited in the Grand Exhibition in New York. Moreover, it is a tradition in my family that the owners of Patek Philippe train in the new world, following the path of my grandfather Henri who founded in 1946 the Henri Stern Watch Agency in the Rockefeller Center and my father Philippe, I trained in the US when I started in the company. I am very proud that American visitors will be able to learn more about the historic and contemporary ties between our company and the American market.
The Grand Exhibition
Ten specific rooms (including the Theater Room, Current Collection Room, Museum Room, US Historic Room, Rare Handcrafts Gallery and Grand Complications Room) have been created inside the exhibition to showcase the vast collection that is on hand. On display there are exceptional pocket and wristwatches dating back to 1530 in a space of 13,218 square feet. Watchmaker and artisan demonstrations are some of the interactive activities taking place as a way to educate visitors on the inner-workings of fine watchmaking. The ability of talk with these artisans is what really sets this exhibit apart from any other. You cannot even get this experience at the Museum in Geneva.
US Historic Room
One of our favorite rooms is the U.S. Historic Room. Patek Philippe has curated a collection of notable timepieces from iconic U.S. collectors. The room has 27 timepieces on loan from the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and private collections. Larry Pettinelli, President of Patek Philippe U.S. says:
The United States has been an extremely important market for Patek Philippe collectors since the 1850’s. We hope to showcase some of these extraordinary timepieces, as well as putting into context the evolution of Patek Philippe within the U.S. market.
Highlights from the U.S. Historic Room include 11 timepieces from two of the most legendary Patek Philippe collectors from the early twentieth century, Henry Graves Jr. and James Ward Packard. These two American titans of industry garnered some of the most complicated and significant timepieces of their time.
For instance, the watch pictured above was sold to James Ward Packard in 1920. Owning a watch that could display time in two time zones was most likely a rarity during that time. In fact, Packard and Henry Graves Jr. had quite a competition to see who could own the most complicated watches of the era. It is a delight to see them in person!
The Museum Room
Very much like the Museum in Geneva, this room is divided into two sections. In the first section, the Antique Collection (1600’s-1900’s) presents some of the greatest historical timepieces spanning the last five centuries, including the earliest watches ever made. The second section highlights historical Patek Philippe timepieces dating back to the company’s inception in 1839. The Mandarin Duck watch pictured above, for instance, was made for the Chinese market in 1835. The enamel painting on the front is just exquisite!
This open faced pocket watch displaying a grisaille portrait of George Washington can also be found at the exhibition. This one is a personal favorite and was exhibited previously at the 1851 Univeral Exhibition in London. The watches in the museum room alone make a trip to New York worth it!
Special Edition Watches
As a highlight to “The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017”, Patek Philippe created special pieces as well. The watch pictured above incorporates the rare hand crafts of enameling and marquetry. As with all of the watches displayed, these are really something to see! Patek also used the exhibition to release nine limited special editions of ladies’ and men’s watches. These timepieces showcase the most beautiful artisanal skills and are decorated with motifs dedicated to the city of New York and the United States of America.
Patek Philippe World Time
Patek Philippe’s famous World Time takes center stage with 300 watches for men being released in this limited series. Want a watch for the ladies? The New York 2017 Special Edition for women is available in two 75-timepiece editions, one in white gold, the other in rose gold. The elegant timepiece has a white-gold case with a smooth, chamfered bezel and a dial with an opaline blue center. The motif depicts the Manhattan skyline. The city disk and the 24-hour disk (with day/night segments) permanently display the time in all 24 time zones. The hour hand is delicately skeletonized and shows the silhouette of the “Southern Cross” constellation, a hallmark reserved exclusively for World Time watches.
According to Jasmina Steele, the International Communication & Public Relations Director of Patek Philippe, the aim of the Grand Exhibition is to recreate elements of the company that will provide an unforgettable experience for each visitor. The Exhibition leaves one feeling as close as possible to a visit to the company’s manufacturing location in Geneva, The Museum, and the historical Salons on the Rue du Rhone.
By offering visitors an immersion inside the world of Patek Philippe, we really want to
share our passion for watchmaking and hope visitors will come out of the Exhibition with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the art of watches.
The 2017 Patek Philippe Grand Exhibition In New York is an event that is not to be missed for any watch lover. This one of a kind opportunity is right here in the United States but will not last long. So, tell us, will you be exploring the exhibition before it ends?