Australian watch lovers have been treated to a show usually reserved for the likes of Geneva as some 180 iconic Patek Philippe timepieces were put on display at Melbourne’s newly opened Ritz-Carlton over the weekend.
Regarded as one of the most prestigious and respected watch brands in the world, Patek Philippe is known for its exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and rich heritage, which dates back to 1839. Widely considered by many as the ‘holy grail’ of watches, the brand is often seen on the wrists of the world’s most well-heeled celebrities, including Paul McCartney, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now, in a collaboration with luxury retailer Kennedy, the esteemed Swiss watchmaker gave both budding enthusiasts and die-hard watch-nerds a three-day exhibition to delve into the intricate world of high-end horology with references from rare and recent collections including Calatrava, Aquanaut, Golden Ellipse, and Nautilus.
Kennedy Watches General Manager of Timepieces Debbie Kok tells Forbes Australia putting on the Patek Philippe Passion for Workmanship exhibition in Melbourne was an important milestone in recognising Australia’s continued interest in high-end brands.
“It used to be Australia that was considered somewhat of an afterthought, not just for watch brands but for a lot of luxury brands,” Kok said. “You would have a lot of assortments or collections that may just never hit Australia or Oceania in general.
“[Bringing the exhibition to Australia] allowed a lot of new clients and entrants to the industry to build a connection with the brand and that was very important to us.”
Described as a “meticulously curated symphony of history and modern-day innovation”, Kok says sharing pieces of the past alongside the more modern watches helps display just how rich the brand’s heritage is.
Sadly any attendee hoping to bag themselves a new watch at the exhibition would have left disappointed with none of the timepieces up for sale. But if you wanted some indication as to just how highly regarded these heritage pieces are, look no further than this ultra-rare 1946 Patek Philippe #1436 that just sold in Sydney.
One of only 160 ever made over a period of 30 years, this Australian-owned classic went under the hammer in late November at First State Auction, selling for $450,000 – and breaking the record for the highest-value watch ever sold in Australian auction history. In 2021 a Patek Philippe #1436 sold at auction in Hong Kong for over $2.6 million.