It’s official; after Dubai, Munich, London, and New York, Singapore has been chosen as the fifth global destination for luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe’s spectacular Watch Art Grand Exhibition—or just Grand Exhibition for short. This Grand Exhibition is slated to be the first in the Asia Pacific region, and the largest of all such expositions to date.
The Grand Exhibition is intended to elevate the art of watchmaking, allowing collectors to get a deeper understanding of Patek Philippe’s horological expertise, and the general public to immerse themselves in the rarefied world of watches. Most people will never visit the Patek Philippe manufacture in their lifetimes, and some special experiences and launches made available at the Grand Exhibition will never be seen anywhere else, so this exposition is quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is not to be missed.
The entire exhibition spans some 1800 square metres, and is hosted within the Marina Bay Sands Theatre—yes, that one. All of the seating was removed specially for Patek Philippe, and this Grand Exhibition will be the first event of its kind for the theatre.
The space is subdivided into 10 different themed rooms, each with its own special purpose. Highlights include a special museum room, which will house extremely rare pieces on loan from the Patek Philippe Museum. These include both antique timekeeping devices from centuries past as well as special pieces from Patek Philippe’s own history. According to the brand, this will be the first time that so many timekeeping instruments from the museum will be exhibited in Singapore. Other spaces such as the rare handcrafts room and the watchmakers room will allow visitors to interact with the master artisans and watchmakers from the Patek Philippe manufacture and view live demonstrations of their techniques.
Other areas include a grand complications room, a movements room, and a Napoleon room, which will house a motion-picture view of Lake Geneva as well as special edition watches created explicitly for the Southeast Asian market.
The exhibition is also designed to engage children. There will be a variety of activities held on the family days (6 and 13 Oct) specially intended for the younger crowd. Each child will receive a welcome kit before they head off for a unique “time treasures” hunt. There will be a watch tattoo station, a colouring station, as well as a mechanical clock making kit for children, so they can imagine themselves in the shoes of a Patek Philippe watchmaker. There is a little something for everyone.
To find out even more about Patek Philippe’s Grand Exhibition, we also spoke to Deepa Chatrath, the Patek Philippe general manager for Southeast Asia, for some special insights.
Why was Singapore chosen as the fifth destination for Patek Philippe’s Grand exhibition?
Patek Philippe has enjoyed a long history in many countries in Asia. Being a strategic hub from which we distribute our watches throughout Southeast Asia, we felt that Singapore was the ideal country to host such a huge event. Moreover, since 2019 is Singapore’s Bicentennial, this will be the perfect opportunity to showcase the importance of Singapore and Southeast Asia for Patek Philippe. This region is not only significant when it comes to the number of collectors and enthusiasts, but also plays a major role in building appreciation for the work of mechanical watchmaking.
What has been the biggest challenge so far staging something of this scale?
We needed a venue that was large enough for an exhibition of this size and scale yet maintained accessibility to the public. We chose Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Theatre because it is an iconic and modern landmark in Singapore and easily recognisable by both locals and tourists from around the world. However, our biggest challenge was converting it into an exhibition space for the timepieces. This meant the removal of the theatre seats in order to accommodate such a large-scale exhibition. This is also the first time in Singapore that a theatre is being converted into an exhibition space.
How different is this Grand Exhibition compared to previous ones in New York, London, Munich or Dubai?
There are many firsts for this exhibition. This is the first time Patek Philippe is holding its longest and largest-scale event ever in the world—spanning 16 days and occupying over 1,800sq m worth of space. Most importantly, this is also the very first time so many timepieces from the Patek Philippe Museum will be seen in Singapore. As with previous editions of the Grand Exhibition, a room is dedicated to the host country; for this fifth edition, there is a Singapore and Southeast Asia Room. Look out also for a new configuration of the Movements Room, with Patek Philippe’s wide range of calibres.
This is the first time Patek Philippe is holding its longest and largest-scale event ever in the world—spanning 16 days and occupying over 1,800sq m worth of space. Most importantly, this is also the very first time so many timepieces from the Patek Philippe Museum will be seen in Singapore. As with previous editions of the Grand Exhibition, a room is dedicated to the host country; for this fifth edition, there is a Singapore and Southeast Asia Room. Look out also for a new configuration of the Movements Room, with Patek Philippe’s wide range of calibres.
With the exhibition taking place in the same year as Singapore’s 200th anniversary, what can visitors expect to see that celebrates this occasion?
In conjunction with Singapore’s Bicentennial, the exhibition will showcase a Singapore and Southeast Asia Room, which highlights the rich historical, cultural, artistic and natural legacy of Singapore and Southeast Asia. We felt that the story of our island-state can be better illustrated within the context of the Southeast Asian region.
Among the curated assortment of Rare Timepieces that will be shown at the exhibition, what are some highlights?
Visitors have the rare opportunity to view historical timepieces that have shaped the timekeeping industry, such as a drum watch crafted in Nuremberg (S-892 / Germany). Other timepieces that are worth mentioning include the pocket watch presented to Queen Victoria in 1851 during the Great Exhibition at the London Crystal Palace and exceptional Patek Philippe timepieces like the Calibre 89 (the world’s most complicated portable mechanical watch for more than 25 years), the Star Caliber (launched to welcome the new millennium with 21 complications) and the Sky Moon Tourbillon (presented in 2001 as the second-most complicated wristwatch in the current collection).
Name three favourite timepieces from this exhibition.
The three dome clocks that were previously auctioned during Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in 2015. The trio raised a total of $2.45 million with proceeds from the auction beneﬁ tting selected beneﬁ ciaries that promote arts and culture in Singapore. This vision is perfectly in line with Patek Philippe’s dedication to the preservation of the artistic skills through generations.
Patek Philippe’s Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore happens from 28 September to 13 October at the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands.
Opening hours are 10am to 7pm Sun-Thu, with extended hours til 10pm on 4, 5, 11 and 12 Oct 2019. Family days are on 6 and 13 Oct.
Admission is free, and visitors must first reserve tickets via this link.