At face value, the wristwatch
is a useful timekeeping device. But given the amount of time we spend wearing
and referring to them, it's little wonder that throughout the ages this
mechanical tool has become a fashion statement, status symbol, and even a family
In recognition of this heritage, a timely three-day exhibition of 250 fine
timepieces will be on display at Bund 18 in December, presented by the world's
only remaining independent watchmaker, Patek Philippe. The exhibition charts 167
years of watchmaking history and its parallel developments in society, art and
Valued at "too many commas for comfort", according to Patek Philippe brand
manager Rosy Gao, the traveling exhibition from the Patek Philippe Museum in
Geneva is the first of its kind in China, and a concept that the company is
looking at developing not just for brand awareness, but for posterity. Among the
many watches of interest, visitors will take special delight in the 41 antique
timepieces, including the first wristwatch made by the company in 1839. In
addition, the exhibit will feature 26 rare 'pair' watches crafted in the late
18th and early 19th centuries by watchmakers in Geneva and London for the
Chinese emperor. These enameled pocket watches feature natural pearl inlays and
ornate carvings of temples, peonies, butterflies and peaches, all of which were
designed based on early European market research of Chinese tastes.
The highlight of the exhibit, however, is the Star Caliber 2000, a "gift to
the new millennium" resulting from eight years of technological research.
Comprised of 1,118 parts and incorporating six patented features, the watch's
face features solar indicators, while the back incorporates lunar indicators
displaying the position of the stars, the path and phase of the moon and other
celestial information. And you thought your self-wind function was pretty cool.
The luxury brand's Shanghai boutique, which opened at Bund 18 in 2005, is the
world's third Patek Phillipe store after Geneva and Paris, and has since been
followed by openings in London and Dubai. The family-run company produces
limited editions and is dedicated to preserving the grand traditions of Swiss
watchmaking, innovating new technologies, and proving that a good wristwatch is,
in fact, timeless.
The Values of a Family Watch Company - Patek Philippe Exhibition,
Dec 1-3, 4/F, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu