Patek Philippe replica watches worth hundreds of millions of dollars are set to go on display at a grand-scale public exhibition in New York this summer.
The family-owned luxury Swiss watch replica brand intends to present more than 400 pieces from its current and museum collections during a 10-day exhibition beginning July 13. It has held public exhibitions in Dubai, Munich and, most recently, London in spring 2016.
But “this scale of exhibition has never been done in this country before,” said Larry Pettinelli, president of the Henri Stern Watch Agency, Patek Philippe’s American subsidiary.
The house will invite retailers from each of its 95 sale points across the United States to attend the exhibition, “The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition New York 2017,” with a guest. But Patek Philippe says the exhibition isn’t just for retailers, collectors and its best customers. “We’re always talking about how to reach the 20-something generation,” Mr. Pettinelli said. “Even if they’re not financially prepared to buy a high-end watch, it’s nice to get them involved in understanding what watchmaking is and specifically what Patek Philippe is.”
Mr. Pettinelli expects the exhibition to draw at least 20,000 visitors; the London event tallied 42,500 visitors.
The company will build what Mr. Pettinelli calls a “two-story pop-up museum” inside the 1921 Italian Renaissance-style building on 42nd Street that houses a Cipriani restaurant. The 15,000-square-foot exhibition will have a series of rooms, each with a display telling a different part of the brand’s story. And some of the company’s artisans will travel to New York for enameling, engraving and gem-setting demonstrations.
Mr. Pettinelli expects the American room, created for the New York exhibition, to be the highlight.
It will feature replica watches made in the early 20th century for the banker Henry Graves Jr. and the automobile manufacturer James Ward Packard. The two men commissioned some of the world’s most complex pocket watches, including the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which was sold by Sotheby’s in 2014 for $24 million, the most ever paid for a watch at auction. “The Graves and Packard watches are a big part of the history of the U.S.,” Mr. Pettinelli said.
Entry will be free to the public, with no reservation required. “We want to expose Patek Philippe and the world of watchmaking to people who maybe don’t know about Patek Philippe,” Mr. Pettinelli said, “but are interested in learning.”