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Patek Philippe - Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Five reasons to visit Patek Philippe's Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore.

The fifth edition of Patek Philippe’s “Watch Art Grand Exhibition” will take place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore from 28 September to 13 October 2019. Now the question is: what makes this exhibition different from the earlier editions? 

1. The largest

With ten theme rooms covering 1,800 square metres of floor space, Patek Philippe’s “Watch Art Grand Exhibition 2019” is by far the largest exhibition to date. The first Watch Art Exhibition began in Dubai in 2012 and it has since travelled to Munich (2013), London (2015) and New York (2017).

This exhibition is also the largest in the cycle in terms of displays. From what we understand, it was in New York where the last exhibition was held that Singapore was chosen as the next host city. Moreover, the event coincided with Singapore’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2019. 

Singapore’s bicentennial in 2019 celebrates the 200th anniversary (1819 to 2019) of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival and landing on this island city. Raffles is regarded as the founder of modern Singapore. 

Interestingly, Singapore was chosen over China. One factor that worked in the city-state’s favour is the many Patek Philippe collectors in Singapore and the region. Moreover, Patek Philippe has been well-represented in Singapore for the past forty to fifty years and the brand is retailed by Cortina Watch, The Hour Glass and Emperor Watch & Jewellery.

Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Watch Art Grand Exhibition, London © Patek Philippe

2. The longest-running

The exhibition will be held at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands and admission is free. Admission to the exhibition is free and this is the first time a Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition runs for more than two weeks. Past exhibitions were held from between 10 and 12 days. The shortest Watch Art Grand Exhibition was held in Dubai in 2012 and it covered only four days.

As the largest in the series spanning 16 days, it makes perfect sense to extend the exhibition’s opening days to welcome more visitors and allow more time for all to appreciate the displays and demonstrations. The New York Watch Art Grand Exhibition 2017 held over 11 days attracted 27,500 visitors whereas the 12-day London 2015 edition drew in 42,500 visitors.

Visitor numbers to this 16-day Singapore exhibition may well surpass that of London and perhaps even breach the 45,000 mark.

3. An exhibition for everyone, young and old

Do note that this is not an exclusive Patek Philippe timepiece exhibition per se. Horological enthusiasts will be pleased to note that pre-Patek Philippe artefacts from the brand’s museum will also make their way to the Watch Art Grand Exhibition. In other words, horological artefacts from other brands will also be on display. 

The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva is well-known to the watch community not simply because of the brand’s own historical pieces but significant horological-related antiquities made way before Patek Philippe was established that were thoughtfully and meticulously collected by the Stern family.

The “Museum Room” at the Watch Art Grand Exhibition will showcase what is termed the “Antique Collection” that includes some of the very first portable timepieces of the mid-16th century, highly decorated and enamelled pocket watches, musical automata and early complicated timekeepers produced by Europe’s finest watchmakers. The themed room will also feature the “Patek Philippe Collection” that includes notable creations produced by the brand since its founding in 1839 till the present day. These include the pocket watch presented to Queen Victoria in 1851, the first Swiss wristwatch and supercomplications of which the Calibre 89, the Sky Moon Tourbillon and the Grandmaster Chime come to mind.

Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Calibre 89 © Patek Philippe

Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Sky Moon Tourbillon © Patek Philippe


Another point to note is that the exhibition can well be a family affair for both young and old. In fact, there are two “Family Days” planned on two Sundays, 6 October and 13 October, that are meant for families, providing educational opportunities to discover Swiss mechanical watchmaking by meeting the master watchmakers, enamellers, engravers and marquetry makers. These are activities specially catered for the young that have been carried from past Watch Art Grand Exhibitions. Cultivating the next generation of watch collectors won’t hurt. All these are in line with the brand’s often quoted tagline: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

4. The Singapore and Southeast Asia room

The Singapore and Southeast Asia Room is one of the ten themed rooms that is not to be missed. The room not only pays tribute to Singapore’s 200th anniversary; it will also showcase the historic, cultural, artistic and natural legacy of Southeast Asia.

Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Genevan pocket watch featuring an enamelled miniature painting of the port of Canton © Patek Philippe

Highlights include a Genevan pocket watch featuring an enamelled miniature painting of the port of Canton (now known as Guangdong) that was commissioned for the Chinese market and made in around 1830, a pair of peach-shaped pendant watches made in 1810, the “Thai Ornaments” dome clock reference 20074M paying homage to Thailand, the “Tropical Island” dome clock reference 20087M and two Patek Philippe pocket watches acquired by King Rama V of Siam, otherwise known as Chulalongkorn who ruled Siam, or what is today known as Thailand, from 1868 to 1910.

Watch Art Grand Exhibition

Tropical Island dome clock © Patek Philippe

There will also be a display of Patek Philippe dome clocks that were made specially to commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence (1965 to 2015). Made some four years ago, these dome clocks are on special loan to Patek Philippe for the exhibition by very generous VIP collectors. A total of three were made: the “Peranakan Culture” reference 1665M, the “Farquhar Collection” reference 1675M and “The Esplanade – Singapore” reference 1677M. The three dome clocks were actually donated by Patek Philippe and put up for auction in 2015. A total of SGD2.45 million was raised with sales proceeds benefitting Singapore’s National Heritage Board.

Special edition Patek Philippe timepieces that will be offered for sale only in Singapore will also be launched and shown during the exhibition. These pieces will undoubtedly be highly sought-after and will be sold through Patek Philippe’s dealers in South East Asia. Find out more about these special editions through updates here on WorldTempus. 

5. A Patek Philippe tradition

The Watch Art Grand Exhibition is now a tradition of Patek Philippe and it is about creating publicity for the brand, highlighting its heritage and quality of Patek Philippe and most importantly, it is about educating the public on watchmaking in general.

On a personal level and as a watch collector, such an exhibition is a wonderful opportunity not only to immerse oneself in the world of Patek Philippe but to understand more about the complexities of watchmaking and to appreciate how our lifestyles shape the horological world. If and when the opportunity to visit the Watch Art Grand Exhibition presents itself, it is best not to miss it. In fact, if one is able to visit future Watch Art Grand Exhibitions in other cities as well, it should not be given a miss. It should become a personal tradition to allow oneself to be updated with Patek Philippe.  

Patek Philippe is one of the extremely rare watch brands that has a legitimate watchmaking legacy. What is even more intriguing is that demand for certain current regular production models such as the Aquanaut and Nautilus collections far outstrips the supply. Such a phenomenon is rare for other watch brands. The Watch Art Grand Exhibition allows each and every visitor to have an up close and personal view of the collections and hopefully have a better understanding of what is known genuinely known as haute horlogerie (high horology). Hopefully, they will also be enlightened as to why Patek Philippe is for the next generation. 


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