“You never really own a Patek Philippe, you merely take care of it for the next generation,” or so we are meant to believe. Rubbish! Buy one for yourself and if you are lucky enough to have a son who understands and appreciates it, you can then not concern yourself to its whereabouts beyond your earthly presence.
In 1991, I was in Zurich on holiday; I happened to glance in a shop window and fell in love with a watch in the window, a Patek Philippe. It was simple, thin, gold, and rare. It put my Rolex Submariner to shame, made it look clunky and somewhat flashy. I vowed to own one some day.
Fast forward: it’s 2009, and I’m actually focused on a real search. My favourite dealer in Melbourne finds a Calatrava 3998 at a price I can actually think about; in other words if I trade in my entire collection I can swing it.
The Calatrava has a simple movement and no complications, it only tells time with a date function. A complication would be a chronograph or an astronomical function such as moon phases. The more complications, the more intricate and certainly the more expensive, running $200k and more based on the manufacturer, the age, and of course the rarity. Well beyond my wildest imagination!
So back to reality. The Calatrava 3998 is an automatic, or self winding watch, that contains 29 jewels, 229 parts, and a 21 carat gold central rotor to manage telling me time on a daily basis. It tells me the time and the date, and that is all.
For that I traded in 3 almost new watches, (Stainless and Gold Omega Constellation with a self winding movement, Stainless and Gold Omega Double Eagle Constellation with a Co-Axial movement, and a Rolex Milgaus in Stainless Steel) all with boxes, registration, receipts aka provenance. The Calatrava is about 12 years old and is one of 300 created that year
So now I strap on my dream every work day and wear it proudly and continually think about two things:
Will my daughter appreciate it someday?
Einstein completely debunked my notions of keeping time so do I really need anything to tell me what time it is?
My $400 Blackberry tells me the time, wakes me up, and tells me where to go at any given particular time of the day, why do I need a $10,000 used watch?
Why is there a market for these items really, it certainly isn’t just to tell time. They are works of art, they are rare, and as a man it’s really the only jewelry I can bear to wear.
Funny, that reminds me of a Vertu phone I used to own…