PATEK PHILIPPE: À la recherche du temps New York

The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017

The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017

A two-story structure recently installed at Cipriani 42nd Street transforms the baronial space into a magnificent stage for the rarefied beauty of Patek Philippe timepieces. “The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017” (through July 23) is a breathtaking journey not only through nearly two centuries of the venerable brand’s heritage of high precision craftsmanship but into the very heart of haute horlogerie.  On view are: some of Patek Philippe’s finest and most opulent creations; a limited edition collection of new timepieces celebrating New York; antique timepieces including some previously owned by famous American collectors; the brand’s technically peerless innovations; as well as demonstrations of handcrafting and a look at the inner workings of fine watch-making conducted by the company’s most skilled artisans.

Among these undeniable timekeeping gems are Patek Philippe signature perpetual calendar chronographs, repeaters, and an array of pieces with astronomical and high complications. Gothamites will likely appreciate the New York edition World Time Repeater with a commemorative engraving on the back. Available in men’s and women’s versions, they feature handsomely embossed reliefs of the Manhattan skyline by day and night and are uniquely capable of acoustically striking the local time at any current location. Connoisseurs will gravitate toward the Calatrava (the flagship model introduced in 1932) men’s and women’s wristwatches framed by steel casings with contrast-stitched calfskin or alligator leather straps, or the pocket watches with one-of-a-kind backs of hand engravings or miniature paintings on enamel. Another exceptional piece is the Grandmaster Chime, conceived three years ago to mark the brand’s 175th anniversary, equipped with 1,580 components that deliver twenty complications.

In 1845, Antoine Norbert de Patek, an already established watchmaker in Geneva (1839), partnered with Parisian Jean Adrien Philippe. Six years later, the company would officially be renamed Patek, Philippe et Cie., enter into an enduring alliance with Tiffany & Co. New York, and achieve international acclaim. To this day, its unyielding commitment to the exacting traditions of watchmaking necessitates the hand finishing of each individual part while cases are often forged out of solid gold or platinum. On average, it takes nine months to produce a basic Patek Philippe watch, while the more complicated pieces may require more than two years. In the entirety of its history, it is said that only a million Patek Philippe watches have been created, making each one a prized collectible that can command dizzying bids at auction. An 18k gold pocket watch commissioned by American industrialist Henry Graves Jr. that took three years to create and delivered to him in 1933 sold for $24M at Sotheby’s in 2014. This Patek Philippe exhibit is truly an experience as rare and as thrilling as its timepieces.

Images courtesy of Patek Philippe

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