Cap­tured Time

A New York ex­hibit un­cov­ers the world of Patek Philippe

Red Magazine - - Watches - WORDS BELLE O. MAPA

Swiss watch-mak­ing com­pany Patek Philippe presents a mon­u­men­tal show­case this July in the heart of Man­hat­tan. “The Art of Watches Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion 2017” is set at Cipri­ani on 42nd Street. The last of the Swiss fam­ily-owned watch com­pa­nies aims to ex­pose the world of watch­mak­ing to en­thu­si­asts and strangers alike.

More than an ex­pres­sion of un­par­al­leled crafts­man­ship, “The Art of Watches” chron­i­cles the his­tory of time. At the Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion, vis­i­tors get to view a 400-lot col­lec­tion of Patek time­pieces, in­clud­ing a piece dat­ing back to 1530.

Other high­lights in­clude the in­fa­mous watch now known as the Henry Graves Su­per­com­pli­ca­tion. The gold pocket watch fea­tures 24 dif­fer­ent func­tions and was auc­tioned at Sotheby’s for an un­prece­dented $24 mil­lion. Its story be­gan in the roar­ing ’20s when Henry Graves Jr. em­barked on an un­of­fi­cial race against fel­low ty­coon James Ward Packard to com­mis­sion and own the most com­plex time­piece of their age. Packard’s As­tro­nom­i­cal Pocket Watch, from the col­lec­tion that had in­curred Graves’ fas­ci­na­tion, is also on dis­play at Cipri­ani.

Aside from the col­lec­tions of Amer­i­can moguls, the ex­hibit also dis­plays time­pieces that were hand­crafted ex­clu­sively for 19th-cen­tury mon­archs. It was Queen Vic­to­ria of Eng­land’s pocket watches, two of which are on dis­play, that sealed the al­le­giance be­tween Patek and the royal fam­i­lies of the world.

For the first time, Cipri­ani has erected a mag­nif­i­cent two-story struc­ture to house an ex­hi­bi­tion of this scale and mag­ni­tude. The ex­hi­bi­tion space to­tals over 13,000 square feet. Ten uniquely styled and hand­somely fur­nished rooms within this pop-up museum also take vis­i­tors back in time to dis­cover the Patek Philippe story. Just around the cor­ner of Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion, the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance build­ing hous­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion is a prime lo­ca­tion that is also his­tor­i­cal and mon­u­men­tal in its own right.

“New York was a log­i­cal choice for the US Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion,” said Larry Pet­tinelli, pres­i­dent of Patek Philippe USA. “This was one of the first land­ing spots for Patek and Philippe in the 1800s when they be­gan to ex­plore the new world.” •

Counter-clock­wise from top: Cipri­ani Ball­room 42nd Street, New York; Henry Graves Su­per­com­pli­ca­tion gold pocket watch; Her Majesty Queen El­iz­a­beth II wear­ing her Patek Philippe Golden El­lipse wrist­watch.

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