Patek Philippe, one of today’s most iconic and expensive Swiss watch brands, has opened a one-of-a-kind exhibit in New York City.
Situated in a two-story structure inside Cipriani’s flagship location on 42nd Street, “The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition New York 2017” is 15,000 square feet of sparkling and historic watches.
Visitors walk through rooms that build on each other with “a different experience and a different motif,” said Larry Pettinelli, the president of Patek Philippe’s US business.
The exhibit is meant, in part, to expose the brand to a younger generation who aren’t buying watches like their parents did.
“It’s a watch. Yes, it tells time, but in your lifetime how many things do you really buy that you intend to keep for two, to three, to four generations?” Pettinelli told Business Insider. “Most people [today] are buying things as a throwaway generation.”
He added: “There are still companies out there that care about doing the art for the sake of the art — not just to make money.”
The exhibit is open through July 23. Let’s take a look inside.
Inside, visitors are immediately greeted with a reproduction of the historic facade of Patek Philippe's workshop in Geneva.
The first room shows a looping video about the history of Patek Philippe, stretching all the way back to its 1839 founding by Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe.
Even the rarest in Patek Philippe's current line -- like the Nautilus watch, which has set diamonds around the face -- are on display.
The next room is known as the 'Napoleon Room.' It contains a wall of screens with the view of the original Patek Philippe workshop in Geneva.
In this room, visitors can see the special-edition watches Patek Philippe made to commemorate the exhibition.
Some of Patek Philippe's most famous creations are in New York for the first time ever. There's the Calibre 89, which was the most complex watch in the world when it was created in 1989.
Some devices serve several purposes. These pistols, for example, can both shoot perfume and tell time.
Watches owned by famous figures in history are everywhere you look. The one on the bottom left, for example, was once owned by Queen Victoria.
Moving on, the American Room shows how important the US market has been to Patek Philippe over the years.
Others have an even more direct link to American history. This pocket watch with a portrait of George Washington was shown at the 1851 Universal Exhibition in London.
Leaving the American area of the exhibit, you'll find yourself in the rare handcraft section. These pieces are one-of-a-kind and nearly priceless.
Work benches are placed throughout the section to give visitors an idea of how much skill and precision goes into the engraving and painting of the watches.
Moving upstairs, we find a room that pays respect to the powerhouse of a mechanical watch: the movement.
Patek Philippe workers can be seen putting together and taking out watch movements for demonstration purposes.
The last room has microscopes showing the intricacies of mechanical movements. Patek Philippe staff are on hand to explain in detail how the functions and complications of movements work.
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