I saw Philippe Patek seriously! The largest quality and quantity ever!
Starting with Dubai in 2012, Patek Philippe has held the Watch Art Grand Exhibition in five cities around the world to showcase the brand’s history and present. Tokyo was chosen as the sixth city. After a two-year postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition in Tokyo was finally held, boasting an exhibition area of more than 2,500 square meters, making it the largest exhibition ever.
The venue was the triangular plaza of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. At the entrance in front of the square, the flower clock of the English Park on the shores of Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland is reproduced. This would be the first selfie point for social media. In the exhibition hall, booths (rooms) divided by theme are arranged in a U-shape.
The first place you enter is the rare handicraft room, but I personally recommend going through it and visiting it from the Patek Philippe Museum Room next door. As the name suggests, the exhibits from the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva include marine chronometers, automatons, and craftsmanship jewellery watches made before the brand’s founding, giving a glimpse into the history of watchmaking in Switzerland. Of course, a number of historical timepieces by Patek Philippe are also on display. If you are a watch fan, you should be able to find a watch that became the source material of a certain brand’s masterpiece. Yes, Patek Philippe was also ahead of his time in watch design.
After learning about the history of watches not only for accuracy but also for their development, a tour of the “rare handcraft room” will give you a stronger sense that Patek Philippe is the guardian of traditional craftsmanship. Here, watches, pocket watches and table clocks made for the exhibition using highly difficult crafts such as enamel, engraving and wood inlay are on display. I am impressed by the fact that all of them are themed around Japan and take great care not to fall into the Western style. All of them deserve to be called “watch art” in the exhibition name. And at the back of the booth, you can see the guillocé, engraving and croisonnay enamel artisans in action, and you will be amazed by their transcendent technique.
The other booths are also full of highlights. It is probably not Japan to see all of Patek Philippe’s current models, including the very few Grand Complications produced. Among them, the sight of models equipped with complex minute repeaters gathering in a booth called the “Master of Sound Room” is a masterpiece. I also got goosebumps when I entered the Supercomplication Room, which had three more complex watches: the Calibre 89, built in 1989, the Star Calibre 2000 with 21 mechanisms, and the Grandmaster Chime, the most complex watch in the history of Patek Philippe.
There is also a booth introducing the production process of these Patek Philippe movements, and a watchmaker is actually assembling the movement at the booth near the exit.
As you can see, the contents of the exhibition are quite profound, and the number of exhibits is huge, nearly 500 items, so I would like to visit with plenty of time. And the “Commemorative Limited Edition Catalog,” which lists almost all of the exhibits from this exhibition, which can be purchased at the bookstore in front of the exit of the venue, is a valuable resource that watch fans should definitely get. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Federation of Japan UNESCO Associations, so they can also contribute to charity.
A space modeled after the “Napoleon Room” of the main salon in the old town of Geneva is reproduced at the venue in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The large fountain of Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc bridge shown on the screen are thoroughly recreated as seen from the windows.
Event name: Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo 2023
Date: Until Sunday, June 25, 2023
Time: 10:00~20:00 (Last admission until 19:00)
※25th (Sun) 10:00~17:00 (Last admission until 16:00)
Official Website: https://www.patek.com/watchart2023
Tel: 0120-933-613 (10:00-18:00 except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays)
Organized by Patek Philippe S.A.
Co-organizer: PP Japan K.K.
Supported by: Embassy of Switzerland in Japan
* Please check the official website for details of this exhibition.
Editing: Akira Kamiya (GQ)