Watches Owned by JFK, Joe DiMaggio To Go on View in New York
Originally published by Jack Forster on Hodinkee.
Patek Philippe's "Art of Watches Grand Exhibition" will be coming to New York in mid-July, as we announced way back in October. This exhibition will include an absolutely huge range of major watches and clocks, covering not only Patek Philippe's history, but the history of watch and clockmaking in general, going back over four centuries. Patek has just announced that, especially for the U.S. opening of the exhibition, a room dedicated to important watches commissioned by, or owned by, major figures in American history, will be included in the exhibition. The exhibition will be in New York from July 13 through 23 at Cipriani 42nd Street, and will be open to the general public, free of charge.
In addition to the dedicated U.S. exhibition space, the exhibition will include rooms dedicated to the company's current collection, as well as a Museum Room, a Grand Complications Room, and a Rare Handcrafts Gallery. Watches shown will include not only those made by Patek Philippe, but also historically important timepieces dating back to the late Renaissance, from the Patek Philippe Museum. Here are four of the important Patek watches that will be shown in the U.S. Historic Room.
The James Ward Packard Astronomical Pocket Watch
"The Packard" was commissioned by James Ward Packard in 1927, and is one of the most complicated Patek Philippe watches ever made; it includes a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, running equation of time (equation of time marchant), and sunrise and sunset times. As well, the back has a highly detailed star chart, showing the stars visible at any time of year rising and setting in the sky above Warren, Ohio—Packard's birthplace.
A 1928 Complicated Pocket Watch Owned by Henry Graves
As everyone interested in watches finds out sooner or later, there was a bit of an arms race between James Ward Packard and Henry Graves, with each attempting to outdo the other in both the cost and complexity of the timepieces they ordered from Patek. For Graves, the ultimate weapon was the ground-breaking, record-setting watch now known as the Graves "Supercomplication," which hammered for about $24 million at auction in 2014. However Henry Graves owned many other watches as well, and six pieces from his collection, from the Patek Philippe Museum, will be in the U.S. Historic room—including this one, with grande et petite sonnerie, minute repeater, and perpetual calendar with moonphase.
Joe DiMaggio's Personal Patek Philippe Ref. 130J
This particular Patek 130J was given to DiMaggio by the owners of the New York Yankees, and was made in 1948. Currently in a private collection, it has been loaned to Patek Philippe for the exhibition (and you can't help but idly wonder what this reference, with this provenance, would fetch at auction).
A Desk Clock Showing the Time in Three Time Zones, Owned by JFK
This clock was presented by Will Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin, to John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1963 (the day after his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech). It was commissioned for the occasion from a German retailer named Heinz Wipperfield and shows the time in Moscow, Berlin, and Washington D.C. for obvious symbolic reasons. Patek was an early innovator in quartz timekeeping and in its time such a clock would have been both a precision instrument, and a luxury. The book, Patek Philippe Museum Vol. II, says, "This portable clock, fitted with a completely autonomous quartz movement, was developed by Patek Philippe's Electronic Division ... Used in conjunction with the 'red telephone' and the telefax linking the White House to the Kremlin, this clock was kept on President Kennedy's desk in the White House." The Electronic Division was created right after World War II, in 1948, and by 1958 had produced its first prototype quartz clocks.
This is obviously just a small sample of all the watches which will be in the U.S. Historic Room, much less the exhibition as a whole, which will include watches going back to 1530, over a two-story space constructed just for the show. For more details on "The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition," check out our coverage of all the details, and the announcement at Patek.com.
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