An iconic Swiss watch company opened an enormous museum with watches that belonged to Joe DiMaggio and JFK

Patek Philippe 0457Sarah JacobsThe exhibit is packed with Patek Philippe’s most famous watches.

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.

The exhibit is located in Cipriani in Midtown Manhattan, in a space that was once a bank.

Sarah Jacobs

Inside, visitors are immediately greeted with a reproduction of the historic facade of Patek Philippe's workshop in Geneva.

Sarah Jacobs

A larger reception area is there to give visitors guidance.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

From there, visitors are ushered into a room showing Patek Philippe's current line.

Sarah Jacobs

Each case was built specially for the exhibition.

Sarah Jacobs

The room was modelled on Patek Philippe's salon in Geneva.

Sarah Jacobs

Even the rarest in Patek Philippe's current line -- like the Nautilus watch, which has set diamonds around the face -- are on display.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

In this room, visitors can see the special-edition watches Patek Philippe made to commemorate the exhibition.

Sarah Jacobs

Walk down a hallway, and you'll arrive at the historical section.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

Other historical examples can be found throughout the museum.

Sarah Jacobs

Some devices serve several purposes. These pistols, for example, can both shoot perfume and tell time.

Sarah Jacobs

This butterfly case is both a snuffbox and a watch.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

Moving on, the American Room shows how important the US market has been to Patek Philippe over the years.

Sarah Jacobs

Duke Ellington's watch is on display ...

Sarah Jacobs

... as well as a desk clock that was given to President John F. Kennedy as a gift.

Sarah Jacobs

Here's a watch that belonged to Joe DiMaggio.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

Moving upstairs, we find a room that pays respect to the powerhouse of a mechanical watch: the movement.

Sarah Jacobs

Patek Philippe workers can be seen putting together and taking out watch movements for demonstration purposes.

Sarah Jacobs

Another interactive exhibit lets you flip over a watch to see the movements inside.

Sarah Jacobs

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.

Sarah Jacobs

You can buy the commemorative catalogue on the way out. It's the only thing for sale in the entire exhibit, and all proceeds go to The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.

Sarah Jacobs

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.