PATEK PHILIPPE WATCH ART GRAND EXHIBITION
THIS MONTH AT THE LONDON SAATCHI GALLERY
For the close of their 175th anniversary celebrations, Patek Philippe has created a stunning 12 day exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. The Watch Art Grand Exhibition is only running until the 7th June, but if you have time to squeeze it into your schedule then I highly recommend you swing by the Kings Road for a visit. If you are an horology fan or not, there are some truly incredible pieces on display. The exhibition comprises of a vast collection of some of Patek Philippe's most exquisite pieces. Some pieces representing a more simple design and some being the most ornate and intricate designs I have certainly ever seen.
One in particular; the Grandmaster Chime, their most complicated wristwatch yet. Consisting of 1366 movement components, 214 case components and taking 7 years in development, it is certainly understandable why this watch is one of the main focus points of the exhibition and also the reason why Patek Philippe is such a world renowned brand. Other key pieces include the first ever Swiss wristwatch, made by Philippe in 1868, and an incredible golden cage with singing birds and watch created specifically for the Turkish market in 1830.
This is an exhibition that definitely needs dedicated time to walk through. With so many rare pieces on display in the dramatically transformed gallery, you wouldn't want to miss a single piece. The Saatchi Gallery and this legendary family watch company have clearly invested a huge amount of effort, thought and money in putting this exhibition together. The exhibition itself has aimed to mirror features of their Genevan Museum, showcasing pieces from royal families, famous collectors and investment bankers. All who became some of Patek Philippe's most important customers in the first years of production. There are 18 themed rooms, occupying over 2200 square metres, all opulently decorated with cedar paneling, hanging crystal chandeliers, plush sofas (incase you need a breather) and every exhibit case is equipped with an iPad to offer details of each piece.
The rooms which personally stood out to me were the Napoleon room, transporting you to their ‘Salon’ on the Rue du Rhone and also the watchmakers room where you can go and talk to Philippe's men in white coats about their personal history with the brand. Three men are sat behind desks ready and waiting for questions whilst you observe them tweaking tiny components of the watches. It is fascinating to see them at work and it gives a very clear idea just how many hours are put into the production of these stunning time pieces. Each of these men were a pleasure to talk to and it is obvious with the number of years they have put into the company, it is a brand they are extremely proud to be a part of.
As well as being able to walk around dreaming of owning a lavish Patek Philippe, you can also take a seat to watch various videos explaining the history behind the family business (shown in the Immersion Room) and also the science and workmanship behind the high-precision manufacturing. Having always been an admirer of Patek Philippe's modern-day watches, I can say I was certainly not disappointed by this exhibition. It takes a good hour or two to make your way around in order to fully absorb the history and detail of the art on display, but it really is worth taking the time. Pure horology heaven!
*The exhibition is open free of charge 9:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and Saturday, and 10:00 to 16:00 on Sunday.