Luxury Watch manufacturers Patek Philippe, founded in 1839, celebrated last year their 175th jubilee. As part of this celebration, this year they held a Grand Exhibition in London at The Saatchi gallery, lasting from the 27th of May to the 7th June.
London was chosen because of her historical importance in the development of time-keeping and for the large number of watch collectors either living in London, or willing to travel to London.
The Saatchi gallery is one of the major galleries in London and is sited in a central location, just around the corner from Sloan Square.
Patek Philippe’s president Thierry Stern declared: – We chose the Saatchi gallery because it is a fantastic place in term of rooms and layout, and is also a very secure place. It suited our needs perfectly.
On the day of my visit there were considerable queues of people waiting to get inside the gallery, undeterred by the rainy weather. A nice touch was the gallery staff providing umbrellas to people queuing in the rain.
The marshaling of the large number of visitors attending the exhibition was excellent. Everything was perfectly and stylishly organized.
Of the twenty-one exhibition rooms, two seemed to be the most popular: the room housing the ‘Grand-Master Chime’ and the Royal room.
The ‘Grand-Master Chime’ has been launched to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe, and is reported to be the world’s most complicated wrist-watch. Only seven will ever be made. One will be housed at the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva, and the other six will be sold to selected Patek Philippe clients. The price is reported to be in the region of 2.6 million Dollars (about 1.5 million pounds).
The Royal room was designed to replicate part of the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851, where Queen Victoria purchased watches for herself and her husband Prince Albert.
Also on show were watches belonging to Christian IX and Princess Louise of Denmark, Vittorio Emmanuele III of Italy and one very special watch belonging to Queen Elizabeth II, who agreed to loan it for the exhibition.
With 400 time-pieces on show and live demonstrations from Patek Philippe master watch-makers, there was plenty for everyone to admire and be entertained.
I enjoyed it immensely.
Now with the 175th anniversary celebration over, will we have to wait another 25 years for Patek Philippe to amaze and delight us once more?