A New York exhibit uncovers the world of Patek Philippe
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.