As Southeast Asia’s most significant – and certainly one of the world’s top – export destination for Swiss watches, Singapore will play host to Patek Philippe’s Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019, from Sep 28 to Oct 13, at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre. The exhibition now in its fifth instalment is for the first time to be held in this part of Asia after Dubai (2012), Munich (2013), London (2015) and New York (2017), signifying the importance of the market and retailers alike to the brand as well as the sophistication of collectors to warrant such as a rare educational yet immersive showcase of Patek Philippe’s archives to be set up closer to our shores.
Taking up a spacious 1,800sqm offloor space, 10 thematic rooms are designed to evoke the historic salons on Rue du Rhône in Geneva, the manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates, and the Patek Philippe Museum, displaying an extraordinary curation of super-complications and historical movements brought in from the Patek Philippe Museum. Be prepared to discover and marvel at the Antique Collection, comprising some of the earliest enamelled pocket watches and musical automata from the mid-16th century, as well as the Patek Philippe Collection dating back to 1839. Among which are the royal watches once worn by the noblest of emperors and empresses, including a pocket watch Antoine Norbert de Patek obtained in 1842 for his 30th birthday (P-1) of the Patek Philippe Collection and a drum watch crafted in Nuremberg (S-892 / Germany) in 1548 from the Antique Collection.
As the year marks Singapore’s bicentennial anniversary since Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival on the island, heralding the beginning of the island and the wider region’s importance as a trading hub, a specially themed Singapore and Southeast Asia Room will present select timepieces that celebrate Southeast Asia as the main artery between the West and the East. One such piece is a Genevan pocket watch depicting the port of Canton in miniature painting on enamel, commissioned for the Chinese market around 1830 (S-112). A contemporary piece will also be exhibited alluding to Singapore’s economic relevance in modern times. The Patek Philippe dome table clock (reference 1677M) was crafted in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence.
Just as crucial for the complete experience, the ambience is thoughtfully tuned to replicate the mood as if visitors are personally escorted for an exclusive visit to the brand’s watchmaking foundry nestled in the picturesque high mountains of Switzerland. There will be films narrating the brand’s storied history from its founding to its current state at the forefront of high watchmaking, coupled with watchmakers and artisans offering live demonstrations of their unique time-honoured techniques applied in Patek Philippe’s watches such as enamelling.
Illustrious figures from the last independent family- owned Genevan watchmaking company will be present, coinciding the exhibition with the launch of several limited special-edition watches and a nuanced collection of Rare Handcrafts timepieces inspired by the diverse and eclectic mix of cultural and artistic expressions familiar to those of us growing up in Southeast Asia.
Admission is free, albeit visitors will have to reserve their tickets in advance. True to Patek Philippe’s emphasis on “the next generation”, the Family Day with child-friendly interactive activities will be held on Oct 6 and 13 from 10am to 5pm. An audio guide in Mandarin or English is available on request. Save the date and devote it to the beauty of watch art, following which visitors may luxuriate at the Patek Philippe lounge café in the company of fellow watch enthusiasts, having attained realisation why the brand is highly revered for its savoir-faire.