You still have almost a week left to experience Patek Philippe like never before. If you find yourself in Singapore any time between now and October 13, run, don’t walk, to the Marina Bay Sands Theater in the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel (the one with the three towers and the boat-shaped roof with reflection pool that was shown in the movie Crazy Rich Asians). The theater has been totally transformed into 10 incredible rooms that not only showcase Patek Philippe’s rich history and prowess in watchmaking, but also offers one of the most immersive experiences in the watch world: Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019.
When Patek Philippe asked me to join them for a few days in Singapore to visit the new Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019 and immerse myself even further in their world, I jumped at it. No other brand — even those with centuries of history — creates such a large-scale exhibition that enables watch lovers around the world to indulge in the riches of watches that affect three of our five human senses: sight, sound (especially thanks to the repeaters and sonneries), and touch.
This is the fifth exhibition by Patek Philippe, with the previous one held two years ago in New York. The brand needs two years between each one simply to plan and build out the event. It also needs longer than that to create the special edition watches that it offers each time it holds a grand exhibition. The watches are available to that market only, and this year Patek Philippe unveiled six limited timepieces for Singapore and the surrounding countries.
At this year’s exhibition, Patek Philippe indulged in creating paper mache’ works of art that almost rival the beauty of the timepieces. From a 100-color huge ceiling hanging filled with paper flowers, to exhibit windows with three-dimensional lions (recalling the City of Lions), turtles, fish and foliage indigenous to the area, Patek Philippe goes way over the top when it comes to decorating the space. Because the exhibit is in a theater, the brand had to create floors that cover the seats below, faux ceilings, hallways and walls.
Within the space are rooms dedicated to the brand’s history (with museum pieces that rarely, if ever, leave Geneva), to its mastery of the rare handcraft arts (wood mosaic, enameling and engraving, among others), special Singapore-only timepieces (that are both historical and current), and so much more. There are even technical demonstrations and watchmakers showcasing their work. Visitors can can wander the halls for a few hours or even immerse themselves for a day.
Here we take a close up look at the watches that Patek Philippe designed strictly for that market, so Americans (and others around the world) … eat your heart out.
Six Exclusive Singapore Watches
For this year’s exhibition, Patek Philippe created six stunning new limited editions that are already stirring hearts around the world. The biggest unveiling is of the Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition. This watch is based off of an existing movement (Caliber R To 27PS) , but that caliber was totally re-worked over the course of three years to showcase the repeater hammers on the dial side. Additionally, the movement is skeletonized. Crafted in 18-karat rose gold with red lacquered sapphire crystal ring decorated with white stars (recalling the city-state’s flag), the watch is being made in a limited number of just 12 pieces. Thankfully, upon speaking with Thierry Stern, President of the brand, we learned that this new movement will be used in other different timepieces down the road. As he explained it, the research and development that went into creating this watch is too long and expensive to not use the movement elsewhere. So, lovers of this beautiful complication can still hold out hope of seeing another incarnation.
For those who love color, Patek Philippe also unveiled two Aquanuat watches that are heart throbs already. One stainless steel model, the Ref. 5167A-012, features a bright red composite strap and red seconds sticks on the black dial. It is expected that this textured red rubber strap is going to cause as much of a stir as the brand’s recently released army green strap did — where everyone clamored for it but just a few could get it. Just 500 pieces of the red Aquanaut will be made. The Ref. 5067A-027 Aquanaut Luce boasts a rich raspberry red dial and matching composite strap. Its slightly octagonal bezel shimmers with 46 diamonds set into it. Just 300 pieces are being made.
The other three pieces consist of a World Time Minute Repeater Singapore 2019 Special Edition watch (Ref. 5531R-010) with cloisonné enamel dial with the map of Singapore on it (just five pieces are being built), the World Time Chronograph Singapore 2019 Special Edition Ref. 5930G-011 in 18-karat white gold with an arresting red and black color combination (300 pieces), and the Ref. 7234A-001 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Singapore 2019 Special Edition (400 pieces) with blue-gray dial and matching strap inspired by the Southeast Asia seas.