Patek Philippe, renowned for its exquisite timepieces, is gearing up for its biennial Rare Handcrafts Exhibit in Tokyo. This highly anticipated event, which takes place every two years (excluding the pandemic period), showcases the brand's unparalleled craftsmanship. The sixth edition of the Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition will run from June 10 to 25, 2023, inviting the public to marvel at their masterful creations.
Spanning over 2,500 square meters, the exhibition venue has been meticulously designed by Patek Philippe to recreate the ambiance of Geneva, complete with old town streets, a lakeside pavilion, and even a representation of their manufacture. The exhibition promises to be the brand's most extensive display yet.
Over 500 timepieces and objets d'art will be showcased, illustrating the diverse artistic skills of Patek Philippe's craftsmen and craftswomen. From intricate complications to gem setting, enamel work, miniature hand painting, marquetry, and more, visitors will witness the pinnacle of haute horology.
The exhibition will also feature Patek Philippe's current collection, while introducing new creations exclusively crafted for the Grand Exhibition in Tokyo. More than 50 unique pieces, including wristwatches, pocket watches, and dome table clocks, will pay homage to Japanese culture. Skilled artisans will be present, demonstrating their crafts and engaging with visitors. Among the new releases, there will be groundbreaking technical achievements.
In addition to the contemporary wonders, the exhibition will present a selection of 190 timepieces from Patek Philippe's Geneva museum, including rare 16th-century artifacts that represent some of the world's oldest watches. Noteworthy pieces include the first-ever perpetual calendar wristwatch from around 1925 and a James Ward Packard pocket watch from circa 1918.
With each iteration, the Grand Exhibition grows in size and scale. The previous shows were held in Dubai (2012), Munich (2013), London (2015), New York (2017), and Singapore (2019). The upcoming Tokyo event, expected to attract approximately 165,000 visitors, will be held at the Sumitomo Sankaku Hiroba, a triangular plaza located in the Nishi-Shinjuko business district, adjacent to the striking Shinjuko Sumitomo skyscraper.
Alongside the Grand Exhibition, Patek Philippe occasionally organizes smaller exhibits that celebrate the world of haute horology. Recently, during the Watches & Wonders exhibition in Geneva, the brand captivated audiences with a stunning display of rare handcrafted creations in its old-town Salon.
One standout piece from the event was a Leopard pocket watch, showcasing meticulous wood marquetry, hand engraving, and champlevé enamel techniques. This extraordinary timepiece features a lifelike portrait of a leopard, crafted from 363 intricately assembled wood veneer parts sourced from 21 different species of wood. The case back, bezel, and dial are adorned with a hand-engraved foliate pattern. The watch is presented on a solid gold stand, resting on a base made of black ebony from the Congo Basin, and is powered by a manually wound movement.
In contrast to the leopard-themed watch, another remarkable creation on display was the "1948 Nations Grand Prix" Calatrava wristwatch. This exquisite timepiece, one of only ten produced to commemorate the Nations Grand Prix held in Geneva from 1946 to 1950, showcases a hand-painted and enameled dial featuring a racing car in Grand Feu cloisonné enamel with 17 different colors. Each dial required multiple firings at temperatures around 820 degrees Celsius, exemplifying the precision