One of the best parts about living in NYC is all of the incredible exhibits that come through town on a regular basis. One of the most iconic and luxurious Swiss watch brands, Patek Philippe, opened an incredible exhibit in the heart of Manhattan. I was able to get in the first day that it opened and beat the crowds! “The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition New York 2017” was situated inside Cipriani’s flagship location on 42nd Street, displaying some of the most incredibly diverse clocks and watches. The exhibition lends an environment that allows you to immerse yourself in the timeless pieces that have intrigued Americans for over 160 years.
I have been to the Ciprianis in Midtown many time for various events. Some of the the most memorable ones were Puffy’s first showing at NY Fashion Week and Heidi Klums infamous Halloween parties. When I walked into the Patek exhibit, I was taken back by the beauty of the exhibit they built! What an amazing accomplishment. The structure really made you feel as if you were in Geneva! For the first time ever, a two-story structure was created inside Cipriani in order to accommodate the square footage required for this particular event. More than 450 exquisite timepieces were on display, including rare pieces that date back to the 1850’s. Patek Philippe was able to successfully transform Cipriani’s and create a series of ten themed rooms, each one telling a different story about the watch industry. Many rooms even mimicked aspects of Patek’s own museum in Geneva. Although all ten rooms were incredible, there were a few in particular that stood out to me.
The Napoleon Room: The Napoleon Room is located at the Patek Philippe Salons in Geneva. This room featured limited edition timepieces that were specifically created for the U.S market and will eventually be auctioned off after the exhibit closes. This room was beyond impressive as it was an exact replica of The Napoleon Room in Geneva, complete with a life-size live stream of Lake Geneva. I felt as if I was in Switzerland when visiting this room. What a fantastic idea for this exhibit to bring all of the viewers right into Patek Philippes backyard of Geneva. It was really cool to “be in Geneva” to get the full vibe of the exhibit and their headquarters!
The U.S. Historic Room: This room featured a collection of notable clocks and watches from iconic U.S. collectors such as John F. Kennedy and Joe DiMaggio. It was amazing to witness firsthand the timepieces that were worn by such influential people. This room really focused on showcasing the most renowned U.S. Patek Philippe collectors. I am a huge Jackie Kennedy fan so of course I love JFK just as much. The photos of JFK wearing the Patek watch with Jackie by his side was pretty amazing. The watch that Joe DiMaggio was given by his team mates as a gift was also very interesting. Thinking about Marilyn Monroe grabbing his wrist to check the time is enough to just give you goose bumps. I definitely lingered in this room a bit longer than some of the others!
The Rare Handcrafts Gallery: When I visited this room, there was an artisan demonstrating the various techniques that are used to decorate Patek Philippe’s timepieces and Dome clocks. It was incredible to watch the artisans’ precision with each brush stroke. The detailing is so incredible yet minute that you had to use a magnifying glass in order to truly see the complexity of the details. I had no idea that all of this amazing art work was done by hand; tiny brush strokes under a magnifying glass to eventually create a masterpiece!
The Watchmakers’ Room: In my opinion, this was one of the most interactive and intriguing rooms. In this room, master watchmakers from Patek Philippe show you the inner workings of mechanical timepieces. The complexity is out of this world and after watching them hard at work, I now have another level of respect when I look at my watch. It was unbelievable to see the masterminds at work; like surgeons prepping a patient. Up until that moment, I had taken my watch for granted but not anymore! I won’t ever look at my watch the same. Who knew all that goes into each watch!? Unbelievable!
The Movement Room: Last but certainly not least, the movement room. A room that was completely dedicated to explaining the movements that occur in Patek Philippe’s timepieces. Patek Philippe has manufactured some of the most luxurious and complicated mechanical watches on the market. In the movement room, you were able to see the difference between the most basic to complex calibers of movement. Here I learned that the company helped pioneer the chronograph movement which created the annual and perpetual calendar that accounts for leap years.
The craftsmanship that goes into each Patek Philippe timepiece is absolutely incredible. The exhibition allowed you to witness first-hand the amount of work that takes place in order to create such luxurious timepieces. From the handful of artisans and watchmakers working on-site, the viewers quickly realized that watches do much more than just tell time; they are luxurious items and collector’s pieces, especially those made by Patek Philippe.