Just a couple of days ago in Singapore, Patek Philippe opened its doors to the largest and longest Grand Exhibition to date. The day before the opening, we had the chance to get a private sneak peek, and also to meet with Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, and discuss a host of topics, including the fact that this is the only luxury watchmaker in the world to create such elaborate and extensive immersions into the brand.
This year marks the fifth such Grand Exhibition. The Marina Bay Sands Theater, inside the mall of the same name, has been totally reconfigured to accommodate ten rooms, each chocked with Patek Philippe experiences. Running from September 28 through October 13, 2019, the Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019 is the longest yet – free to the public for16 consecutive days – as well as the largest, occupying 24,000 square feet of exhibit space. It took two years for the brand to carefully design this space, with many more years of work going into the timepieces made especially for this market. It is estimated that 30,000 people will visit.
“When we do these Grand Exhibitions, everything has to be done perfectly,” says Thierry Stern, fourth-generation leader of the family-owned and operated company. “Patek Philippe has had roots in Singapore since 1965, and this is the perfect way to pay homage to that relationship, with quality and perfection. Here we offer a day inside Patek Philippe, a day inside our heart and our passion.”
About the Grand Exhibition
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this year’s Grand Exhibition is the very first room that visitors enter. A large lobby-like space is adorned with a huge hanging art sculpture of paper flowers in 100 different colors, intended as a tribute to the dynamic Lion City. Complementing this stunning work of art are individual windows, each decorated with three-dimensional papier-mâché scenes of the island’s tropical beauty, such as turtles, fish, monkeys and other indigenous creatures and flora. One window even depicts a large three-dimensional white tiger ready to pounce from behind foliage.
As magnificent as they are, these alluring windows are just a prelude to the real art. Behind them is a walkway that opens up to another set of windows featuring the most stunning Patek Philippe Rare Handcraft watches, made expressly for the Singapore market. In this dedicated Singapore (and neighboring countries) room, hand-painted historical watches sit side-by-side. They include such pieces as a hand-painted view of the Factories of Canton as seen from the seaport in 1830, the year the watch was commissioned by the Chinese market.
From the Singapore room, guests can travel through the historical museum room, which gathers together watches typically housed in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, as well as some pieces on loan from private museums and collectors. Even the famed Caliber 89 – the world’s most complicated watch – is on display. “The idea is not to sell more watches,” explains Stern. “We only make a limited number of watches and this will stay exclusive. The idea is to let the public learn more about our rich heritage, together with our watchmaking and artistic passion.”
The Singapore-exclusive watches
As with each of the previous Grand Exhibitions (in New York, London, Munich and Dubai), Patek Philippe has created special timepieces that are available only for the host market. In this case, six new timepieces were unveiled as exclusives to Singapore.
The highlight piece is the Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition. This is a new grand complication with a totally re-worked, manually-wound movement (Caliber R TO 27 PS) that showcases the hammers of the repeater on the dial side. Several years in the making, the new movement is based on a previous caliber, but has been totally skeletonized and exposes the minute repeater action on the dial side. The watch is crafted in 18-karat rose gold with a red lacquered sapphire crystal ring decorated with white stars (recalling the city-state’s flag). Just 12 will be made.
There is also a World Time Minute Repeater Singapore 2019 Special Edition (Ref. 5531R-010) that features a cloisonné enamel dial with the map of Singapore in all its glory. Just five pieces will be made. Additionally, the Ref. 5930G-011 World Time Chronograph Singapore 2019 Special Edition was launched in 18-karat white gold alongside a unique color combination of black and red. Just 300 pieces will be made.
While the complications are alluring, the two Aquanaut watches are visually striking. One version (Ref. 5167A-012) features a bright red composite strap and red minute markers on the black dial. The watch is created in stainless steel with a brushed and polished finish and is water-resistant to 120 meters. Just 500 will be made. The Ref. 5067A-027 Aquanaut Luce boasts a rich raspberry red dial and matching composite strap. This Aquanaut features a slightly rounded octagonal bezel with 46 diamonds set into it. Just 300 pieces are being made, each with white Arabic numerals and bold markers to give it a modern appeal. Having clamored over the recently-released green composite strap, Patek fans are bound to go wild for the red and raspberry patterned straps on these Aquanauts.
Rounding off the series of Singapore exclusives is the Ref. 7234A-001 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Singapore 2019 Special Edition. Created in a 400-piece series, its blue-gray dial is inspired by the Southeast Asia seas. An invitation to dive deeper into the fascinating world of Patek Philippe.