Patek Philippe & Rare Handcrafts Exhibition

We are Thierry Stern here in the
Salon of Geneva to talk about something that we know is pretty dear to you, this
notion of fine craftsmanship and “métiers d’art” so tell us a bit more about it.
Well you know “métiers d’art” for Patek Philippe we’re not talking about business, that’s for
sure, we’re talking about passion. How can you talk about business when you only
produce 50, 55, 57 different type of pieces like that. You know it’s not a lot
of pieces but when you talk about the dream, when you talk about passion, that’s
a lot of them. So for me it’s really something that I have learned when I was
a kid, you know growing up with my grandfather and my father showing me
those beautiful pieces. The first time I ever saw a watch it was a pocket watch,
so and I still remember it very well. I remember the color of the pocket watch, I
even remember to drawing with this beautiful scenery on it and today it’s
still in the museum. So for me talking about “métiers d’art” means talking about my own history, my passion for dreaming, because you are
talking about just having a dream. The difficult part is then to design the
dream and to put it on the watch and this is what I like really. It’s that
you’re going to create something, which will last after you, which will maybe spend most
of its life on a wrist or maybe on a desk
and finally in a museum. And this is something I think is beautiful because I
will be gone since many years, but still those pieces will remain. So that’s
really what I like about it. And you had organized like a few years ago also an
event a bit like this one showcasing these timepieces and the crafts and the
people that are behind them of course, how important for you to organize these kind of events? Well there’s two thing; the first thing is to to be able to show it to most of the people, because I have a lot
of comments coming from email on internet that people always tell me the
same and that they are not able to see them. Once they have been produced, you
show them once at Basel and if I cannot come in Basel, but after that they are gone and
they’re right, I mean we we present them only once at Basel. The dealer will come,
they will take their order, then I will have to select them because you know I
have for example 50 pieces this year for maybe thousand and thousand of orders. So
I have to choose who’s going to receive them and the problem is that those
people they will never see them, they say well I know you did create them but they
are gone. So the idea was to say okay you may not be able to order one of them but
let me at least show it to you. I think that’s very important you know because
people are enjoying it, it’s exactly like the museum you know. They like to
come to enjoy, to talk about it, so that’s something I think it’s important to do.
The second thing is also that you always have to say that this is
real rare handcraft. Most of the brands those last years have been doing a lot of
rare handcraft. Believe me not all of them were very
nice, some of them were very good, some of others very bad. So I think it’s also
very important to explain to the people what are you comparing. You know it’s
exactly like a car, you have a Ferrari who is very expensive, then you
have maybe I don’t know a Renault who is cheaper, both of them work, but what is
the difference? That’s what you have to explain to people, because they can get
confused and I can understand that. You know, they are not part of the
creation team, they are not expert, so it’s also our duty to say; well
come let me show you those pieces and let me let explain you why those ones
are better than the other one. And how can you do that? You know and most
important I think for those people, they should also talk to the artisan, the
people who are making them, because I can talk as a commercial
person, they don’t need to believe me and I can understand that, but they
can talk to the guy who is making them or to the girl who is working on that or
an engraving, enameling, marquetry, guilloché. Once they see it, then they will
understand a little bit more and that’s I think what is important for me. So it’s
really to show, to explain, so at least that when they will go away from Patek
Philippe and say I had a good day and now I know something that I
didn’t realize before. And it’s true, I mean you could totally see that those craftsmen are really happy to share and talk
and discuss with people, explaining what they’re doing, because I mean tonight
we’re a little bit among ourselves, meaning between journalists, but as you
mention this is going to be a public
exhibition for a few days here open in Geneva. I mean it’s complicated to move
those pieces around like you were mentioning but this is a strong
will of yours to make it as open as possible? Totally, you need
really to be able to say I will take the risk to show them. Now the risk
is limited in Geneva that’s for sure. But for example I would not agree
to travel with those pieces in ten different places around the world. There are not
too fragile but they are too beautiful to do that and it’s hard. I always say the same if I could keep all of them in a museum I
would do it, so I’m definitely a very bad commercial person but we are
not talking about business at this level. There are precious, they are our babies
and sometimes it’s not easy to release them. So imagine now I cannot say “let’s go
for a tour worldwide tour for ten months and I will not see them”, no I am not
going to take the risk. As Patek Phillipe your are manufacturing quite a lot of timepieces per year, tens of thousands,
and you’re only talking about 50 timepieces but this represents your core identity. It’s our own core identity,
but it’s also the skill and the history of Geneva, which is part of it and that’s what
is very important also. We should not forget that in the past here in the
Rue du Rhône there were plenty of artists and plenty of them. Each of them was making
once one part of the piece, that means you didn’t had a watchmaker making
everything, they used to give it to the enameler, then to the engraver, then
to the diamond setter and what is beautiful when you are creating such a
piece is that imagine the first one who is making it, if he’s doing a
mistake, that’s fine he can restore it, now imagine the last one if he is doing
a mistake he’s gonna destroy the whole work from all the other one. So it’s a
very complicated work and a lot of tension because if you’re missing
something, if you are scratching one of the parts, maybe you’re gonna have to
restart two years of work and you have to explain that to the other one and
that’s not easy, but it does happen and you have to respect it. Sometimes you
accident will happen and I have seen that quite a few times
and it’s not easy because you have a lot of young people who are so happy to
present their work and suddenly they crack or something happens and I’m
always trying to explain tp them that this is normal, don’t get disappointed, don’t stop your art, this is part of practice. I think all our life this is
what we are learning, at school, at our work. It is exactly the same for those
artisans and they also have sometimes to work the hard way.
Well thank you very much for putting this exhibition together. I had a great time, I hope you too.
Thank you

29 thoughts on “Patek Philippe & Rare Handcrafts Exhibition

  1. I love 💕 metier d’art watches. That makes the watch more emotional 😭 & personal for the person wearing it.

  2. Pas très accessible, mais tout à fait magnifique. Si l’être humain est parfois bête et ridicule, il est heureusement capable de poésie et d’absolue beauté .

  3. R&D, craftsmanship, beauty and achieving this kind of art on the wrist that's what makes the difference

  4. I guess the best world to describe this video is delicious 😊
    Amazing coverage.
    So jealous of you guys today!

  5. Ahhh….. The time pieces of Patek Philippe is lucky To have such parents who create them and to have a teacher like Stern

  6. They are very humble for very talented people. Thank you for sharing the other side of artisans and owner that we can rarely see.

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