Jul 2017
Jul 2017

Like the city hosting the event, the Patek Philippe Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition New York 2017 is staged on a grandiose scale. Housed in New York’s landmark Cipriani building on 42nd Street, just across from Grand Central Station, a two-story structure has been built inside the marbled, Renaissance-styled halls of the Cipriani to recreate the full Patek Philippe watchmaking experience, including highlights of its remarkable 178-year history.

A journey into the heart and art of watchmaking, this monumental exhibition is organised around 10 thematic rooms with over 450 watches from Patek Philippe’s current collection and historical museum pieces, as well as the rare opportunity to see the Maison’s watchmakers and artisans in action. 

One of the highlights of the Patek Philippe exhibition is the US Historic Room, where watches owned by John F. Kennedy, Joe DiMaggio, Henry Graves Jr. and James Ward Packard are on display. Larry Pettinelli, President of Patek Philippe US, says: “The United States has been an extremely important market for Patek Philippe collectors since the 1850s. We hope to showcase some of these extraordinary timepieces, as well as putting into context the evolution of Patek Philippe within the US market.”

The legendary Henry Graves Supercomplication – known as the Mona Lisa of horology and the most expensive pocket watch ever sold at auction for $24 million by Sotheby’s in 2014 – rekindles the epic “collectors’ duel” staged by American magnates Henry Graves Jr. and James Ward Packard of automobile fame. Determined to outdo one another in acquiring the most complicated watches possible, they commissioned many timepieces from Patek Philippe, 11 of which are showcased here.

 A desk clock belonging to John F. Kennedy, showing the time in Moscow, Berlin and Washington DC, transports visitors back to the years of the Cold War. Kennedy was presented with the clock by the mayor of West Berlin during his visit in June 1963 on the day after his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

Another star attraction is American baseball legend Joe DiMaggio’s Patek Philippe Ref. 130J, created in 1948 and one of Patek Philippe’s most sought-after chronograph references. This timepiece was reportedly given to Mr DiMaggio by the owners of the New York Yankees.


Not to be missed Not to be missed

In the U.S. Historic Room: James Ward Packard’s Astronomical Pocket Watch; Henry Graves Jr.’s collection; John F. Kennedy’s desk clock; and Joe DiMaggio’s chronograph. The Napoleon Room with its recreation of Patek Philippe’s elegant Salon on Rue du Rhone and its view over Lake Geneva; the Museum Room with some of the greatest historical timepieces spanning the last five centuries; and, naturally, the Grand Complications Room, where Patek Philippe’s extraordinary prowess for mechanical complications comes to life. 


  • New York
  • address: 110 East 42nd Street
  • tube: Grand Central Station


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