Posted on December 16 2019
Patek Philippe's Watch Art Grand Exhibition took place at the Sands Bay Theatre at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from September 28th to October 13th in 2019. Free tickets were available to the general public on Patek Philippe's website, and the organizers advised registrants to sign up for specific entry times in order to control the visitors of the exhibition.
The Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore covered horology in general, showcasing watches from all time periods, plus the watches manufactured by Patek Philippe. As the fifth and largest Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition, the event was an opportunity to educate the general public about the last family-owned watchmaking company in Geneva.
The Rich History of Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe has been crafting Geneva-style watches for more than 180 years. A family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva, Patek Philippe freely designs, produces and assembles fine-quality timepieces. Resulting from the vision set forth by Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe in 1839, Patek Philippe is driven by innovation and inspiration to produce more than 100 patents.
Since the Stern family took over the business in 1932, Patek Philippe continues to offer competitive, high-end watchmaking technology, thus improving the reliability and long-term quality and reliability of its timepieces. Patek Philippe adheres to specific values to help drive the company to success, like:
- Quality and fine workmanship
Today, Patek Philippe prides itself as the last family-owned watchmaking company in Geneva, Switzerland, that has extended its reach all over the world, including Singapore. Patek Philippe is also responsible for creating the most expensive watch in the world, the Henry Graves Supercomplication, which sold for 23.2 million Swiss francs at auction.
Since 1997, Thierry Stern has been the President of Patek Philippe, along with standing President Philippe Stern and CEO Claude Penny. Together, they oversee the family-owned business that produces an average of 65,000 timepieces each year. One of Thierry Stern's sons is already in watchmaking school to carry on his family's legacy.
Costing about 20 million Swiss francs to construct, the whole exhibition measured over 20,000 square feet, with ten rooms at approximately 1900 square feet each. The Sands Bay Theatre in Singapore showcased 467 timepieces, 119 of which were on loan from the Patek Philippe Museum. In total, the exhibition took 23 days to set up and eight days to tear down. Patek Philippe's elite team endured 18 to 24 months of planning and required 130 staff to set up and dismantle the exhibits.
Patek Philippe was strategic in its decision to host the Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore. The city-state of Singapore — as well as the entire Southeastern Asian region — values the intricate process of artisan mechanical watchmaking that defines Patek Philippe's brand. This exhibition was a great opportunity for Patek Philippe to showcase its appreciation for Singapore art by dedicating two rooms in the exhibition, specifically to Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Geneva Master Time Marketing LLP (GMT) is Patek Philippe's subsidiary in Singapore. GMT has been the sole distributor of Patek Philippe timepieces since 1965. GMT is also active in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In 2019, Singapore celebrated its 200th anniversary as an official city-state. Patek Philippe considered the opportunity an honor to pay tribute to the place that had been so influential in its business. The luxury watch company savored the chance to display the beautiful art of Singapore and connect Southeast Asian culture with the brand.
A World Impact
The Patek Philippe Grand Exhibition 2019 in Singapore was Patek Philippe's largest and most successful exhibition to date. A press release revealed that 68,000 visitors attended the exhibition over the course of 16 days. A total of 35,000 people pre-registered for the event and 4,000 visitors attended the first day alone.
Attracting guests from over 25 different countries, the exhibition in Singapore was the longest-running event of Patek Philippe. The event was a rare opportunity for all these pieces to be together at once, as they were on loan from the museum and private watch collectors. The event was also the first time so many of Patek Philippe's watches traveled outside of their native homeland of Geneva.
Inspiring the Next Generation
Patek Philippe values educating young people who have the desire to pursue mechanical watchmaking. In addition to informing the general public about the life inside Patek Philippe's brand, the Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore also served to inspire the next generation to consider watchmaking as an art.
Highlights of the Exhibition
The Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore was comprised of 10 thematic rooms that each served a purpose and revealed the different aspects of the Patek Philippe brand. The rooms are meant to depict the style of a Geneva salon, which adds to the mission of providing the public with the history of Patek Philippe. During the exhibition, guests were allowed to take pictures — a treat for those who were denied the opportunity at Patek Philippe's museum in Geneva.
To navigate through the rooms, Patek Philippe provided a virtual reality experience as a fun, high-tech treat for the guests. An audio guide was also available, so visitors could appreciate each intricate detail of Patek Philippe's timepieces and history.
Limited Edition Pieces
In honor of this unique exhibition, Patek Philippe released five new editions to its collection. The new pieces released were redesigned with the color red, as a tribute to the official color of Singapore:
- Reference 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon: With only 12 pieces of the Minute Repeated Tourbillion available, this special edition luxury watch was on display in the Grand Complications Room.
- Reference 5930 World Time Chronograph: Only 300 pieces of this edition with Singapore's lucky color on the dial are available. The World Time Chronograph was on display in the Current Collections Room.
- Reference 5531 World Time Minute Repeater: Patek Philippe created a special edition of this watch that included a map of Singapore on the dial. There are only five pieces available of the Singapore edition of this watch, but the World Time Minute Repeater model is available with other depictions on the dial. The World Time Minute Repeater was on display in the Grand Complications Room.
- Reference 5167 Aquanaut: Originally released in 1997, this new edition of the Aquanaut features a red wristband as a sign of luck and good fortune for Singapore. There are only 500 pieces made of this special edition. The Aquanaut was on display in the Current Collections Room.
- Reference 5067 Aquanaut Luce: To complement the 5167 Aquanaut, this edition is appropriate for ladies to wear. Only 300 pieces of this edition are available. The Aquanaut Luce was on display in the Current Collections Room.
- Reference 7234 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time: Since 2015, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time has been a popular watch for the younger generation of watch enthusiasts. There are only 400 pieces of this edition available. The Calatrava Travel Time was on display in the Current Collections Room.
The entrance of the event served as a place to network with fellow watch enthusiasts. Patek Philippe implemented the lobby to showcase the grand art of Singapore. Right in the middle of the lobby was a paper sculpture called Majulah Singapora — named after the first words of the Singapore national anthem — composed of 11,000 frangipani flowers in 100 different colors.
Immediately following the lobby, there was a small theatre that played an animation loop of the history of Patek Philippe. Guests also had the option to take part in a virtual reality tour that displayed the history of Patek Philippe as well as the process of making Patek Philippe watches.
Current Collections Room
The first themed room contained pieces from the current Patek Philippe collection. The room included all of their catalog items — except for their Grand Complications collection — from the company's conception in 1839 to the present day. One of the Patek Philippe watches on display was the Reference 1563J split-seconds chronograph. With only three of this edition available in the world, the piece is incredibly rare. A privately-owned Reference 5970J piece was also on display in the Current Collections Room.
Following the Current Collections Room, the Napoleon Room was designed to resemble a Geneva Salon overlooking Lake Geneva. A wall-length film displaying Lake Geneva accurately depicted the view one would see outside a window in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Napoleon Room provided a smooth transition into the Museum Room, which exhibited the 500-year history and evolution of watchmaking, including some historic pieces from the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. These historical pieces — including the famed Calibre 89, Star Calibre 2000 and Reference 2523 HU — were from Patek Philippe's antique collection of early portable timepieces. A museum curator was also present to answer questions and provide valuable information about each piece.
The Museum Room showcased several pieces specifically created for the Chinese market in the 19th century, like:
- "The Lotus Flowers."
- A watch combined with a telescope.
- A pocket watch with oval-shaped telescopic hands.
- A pocket watch with a coiled chain design.
- Paired watches depicting the Madonna of the Chair.
Other historic timepieces in the Museum Room included:
- A pocket watch shipped to James Ward Packard, an automobile manufacturer, in the early 20th century.
- A deck watch created by Ferdinard Berthoud in the early 19th century.
- A half-quarter dumb repeating chronometer created by John Arnold in the late 18th century.
- A Swiss Federal Rifle Championship Watch, created in the mid 19th century.
- Three Patek Philippe grand complication pocket watches made between 1910 and 1947.
- A drum-shaped watch created in Nuremberg in the mid 16th century.
- Patek Philippe's first women's wristwatch created in the mid-19th century.
- Patek Philippe's first perpetual calendar wristwatch from the early 20th century.
Rare Handcrafts Room
This unique room was dedicated to clocks, watches and other timepieces with intricate, artistic design. Since Singapore and Patek Philippe both value handcrafted art, the Rare Handcrafts Room was especially significant. Artistic timepieces and complex wristwatches were creatively organized throughout the room.
Some of the pieces included in the Rare Handcrafts Room were specifically designed for the event, like:
- "White Tiger"
- A dome clock that salutes the fabric dyeing technique popular in Indonesia
- "Old Port of Singapore"
Some other pieces that celebrate the creative innovation of mechanical watchmaking artisans were:
- A handcrafted timepiece modeled after the seaport of Canton — now named Guang Zhou — in 1830.
- "Thai Ornaments," a timepiece adorned with cloisonné enamel.
- "Tropical Island," a timepiece illustrating flora and fauna found in Singapore's tropical climate.
- A Dome Clock illustrated with fireworks over the Singapore skyline.
- Reference 997/104J marquetry pocket watch
- Reference 992/118J marquetry Junks pocket watch
- Calatrava Reference 5089G-085
The movements room displayed all the necessary machinery needed to make a watch function. Artisans such as Philip Barat and Jérôme Boutteçon were also present in the Movements Room, answering the questions of their guests and demonstrating how they craft Patek Philippe's luxury watches.
Grand Complications Room
The Grand Complications Collection — Patek Philippe's most complex watches — had their own room dedicated to them. A complication is a feature the watch is capable of doing other than telling time. Patek Philippe's Grand Complications collection features limited-edition watches that serve unique purposes, such as the Reference 5370P and the Reference 5270P.
Similar to the Movements Room, the Watchmakers Room was an interactive room where four watchmakers presented how watches were made. The room also contained a photo booth for guests to make their own souvenirs.
To pay tribute to the host of the Grand Watch Art Exhibition 2019, Patek Philippe dedicated a room specifically to Singapore as well as Southeast Asia. The Singapore Room featured historical timepieces from Southeast Asia, including a timepiece worn by King Rama V of Thailand. All of the timepieces shown were on loan from their owners.
With familial values at the company's core, Patek Philippe hosted Family Days on the two Sundays of the event, where watch enthusiasts had the opportunity to share their passion with their children. Young people took part in interactive activities such as coloring and watch temporary tattoos, plus a "Time Treasures" hunt. Other young people attended mechanical watchmaking workshops to learn the process of assembly of the watches.
Purchase a Patek Philippe Watch From Little Switzerland
As the distinguished luxury jeweler in the Caribbean, we value the assortment of Patek Philippe luxury watches that we sell. Since opening our first store in 1954 in St. Thomas, we now feature over 35 stores and boutiques on 10 Caribbean islands and Key West.
Visit any one of our locations to see these priceless timepieces for yourself. If you can't wait until your next excursion, call us at 877-800-9998 to speak with a Personal Shopping Consultant today!