the most important watch collection in the world

Funny place for a meeting. A series of awesome Swiss hangars, which it is forbidden to name, where wonders are stored: paintings of masters, collectors of cars, amazing jewelery … this universal time ref. 2523 J from Patek Philippe, this 1932 tourbillon pocket watch belonging to the famous collector Henry Graves Jr., an American banker, this unique Daytona Paul Newman from Rolex or even these dozens of Nautilus from Patek Philippe, including the smallest model today takes years to wait for ordinary mortals who want to buy it.

The watches I bought had to be perfect

In this eternal place, Patrick Getreide, a Parisian who makes his fortune in business, hides his “mistresses” locked up, as he calls them. The dancers were so fierce that the businessman took forty years to form his corps de ballet. Its collection, which is one of the five largest in the world, now includes six hundred watches from about fifty brands. Experts estimate more than 300 million euros. Because, not content with being from the most famous Swiss manufacturers, timepieces obtained in France have the characteristic of being in the best condition of storage. Their beauty never suffered the damage of time. “Whether it was produced at the beginning of the last century or now, the watches I buy have to be perfect,” says the collector. The dial should not be changed, the case should not be polished and the movement should work. It’s so sad because, of the twenty watches I love, sometimes I can only buy one! The man thus refuses to claim Winston Churchill’s “Victory” because it is broken on all sides.

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In addition to the more stringent details, its collection is distinguished by great eclecticism. Patrick Getreide loves vintage pieces like new models, “star” brands, like Patek Philippe and Rolex, as well as contemporary creations at Marseillais FP Journe or Finn Kari Voutilainen, simple three hand mechanism as a major complication. .

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The Oak Collection is a complete reference to the world of collectors

In addition, all of his models are made in the smallest quantities or editions and special orders. “Most of this collection includes one-of-a-kind watches, it’s called” OAK “for” One of a Kind “in English, says auctioneer François Curiel. He has the most important. Calatrava world set by Patek Philippe, seven pieces ordered by Henry Graves Jr., unique Rolexes … The Oak Collection is a perfect reference to the world of collectors.To preserve this ensemble, Getreide has an interior store designer Patek Philippe transforming an industrial hangar into a cozy living room.The expensive wooden displays are full of precious cogs that, to date, have yet to be revealed. ”This the first time an individual will exhibit a collection of watches in a major museum such as the London Design Museum, ”said expert Geoffroy Ader, who participated in selecting 160 pieces for the exhibit.

Among these unique pieces, we will discuss five pocket watches owned by Henry Graves Jr. Only the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva has more, i.e. thirteen copies of the thirty-nine banker ordered from the Swiss watchmaker. . There is also the famous refrigerator. 2499 J, a chronography with an infinite calendar and lunar phases, the holy grail of Patek Philippe enthusiasts. In yellow gold, Patrick Getreide’s dates from 1952. It has a unique “monochrome yellow” dial. In the same vein, here is the ref. 1518 R from 1948 “monochrome pink”, only twelve of them were made. One of these was recently sold at auction for $ 9.5 million at Sotheby’s. “Mine is more exclusive, because it has a special strap made by Gay Frères, Patrick Getreide specified. I could have given him to his sister, ref. 1518 in iron, but it cost a fortune: some million euros! I like to make families: if I have a pink gold model, I need one in platinum, steel, yellow gold … »

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I want the watch item to be considered a work of art

To enjoy the things he desires, the Frenchman broke twenty -five world records at auction by applying his father’s advice: pay the price tomorrow today. Thus he was able to pin this noble – and unique – Calatrava in iron, black dial and Breguet numbers, ref. 530 A, said to be the most important three -handed watch made by Patek Philippe. “I collected cars, and paintings too, I had Picasso works, but none of these collections gave me the same emotion, like goosebumps on my watches! I want the watch item to be considered a work of art. That’s why I want to share my love with the general public. “

This exhausting love began at the age of 10, when he was exhausted by an Omega in the window of a Swiss store. The new collector offered to buy it in installments from the watchmaker, he paid him with his weekly pocket money – 10 francs – until his father gave it to him … At the age of 20, the young man man won 39,000 francs in a horse race and immediately bought one he considered a watch to build his collection, a Cartier Tank. “It’s so beautiful in shape! I slept with him! “, He recalls. His first Patek Philippe comes in 1980, when he lost, avenue Montaigne, to the beauties of the ref. 3970, a perpetual chronography of the calendar. It cost 360,000 francs. Getreide can only pay 100,000. He would borrow money to wear on his wrist. During a cocktail party in Paris, his meeting with Thierry Stern, owner of Patek Philippe, throws him into the world of this watchmaker, “making all, enamelled, simple, intricate watches …” The collector nurtures his love as his horological. knowledge and wealth grew.

Read also. Second-hand watches: the new Eldorado

“Patrick lives with his collection of watches, as they are living creatures, observes Aurel Bacs, the founder of the auction house Bacs & Russo. He wears them, loves them and has an unconditional look. love for them, which he expressed when he fought to win a model auction and the pride he felt as the owner of this unique group.The French sold nothing.The only thing he lost, the Omega of his youth -on. “The more hours that pass, the better I know about watches, the more I want to buy them.” And the greater the joy.

The Oak Collection, May 19-25, 2022 at the Design Museum in London

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