Haute Timepieces: Patek Philippe

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“You can’t always get what you want…” The infamous line in the song by the Rolling Stones is oh-so true. When you don’t get what you want, you want it even more. Like that ice cream carton you dug into when you were little after your mom forbade you, the hot girl that wouldn’t give you the time of day despite your persistence or that coveted Hermes bag your budget wouldn’t allow yet you insisted on breaking the bank for. By nature, humans are out for the hunt, the chase, the game… so when something is hard to get we immediately pay more attention to it.

Such is the case with prestigious watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. Last weekend I had the unique opportunity to attend an exclusive event at the Trump Waikiki Hotel celebrating Ben Bridge Timework’s most loyal customers and hosted by Ben Bridge’s grandson Ed along with chairman of Patek Philippe, Henry Edelman. The exquisite evening started off with a sunset cocktail reception followed by a three-course poolside meal. From start to finish the experience was impeccable similarly to the time-pieces we were honoring.

But, the true highlight for me was learning more about the independent family-owned company, the innovators behind the brand and their luxury watch-collecting customers. It’s no secret that Patek Philippe watches are arguably considered to be the finest timepieces in the world. As the last independent Genevan watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe crafts all of its mechanical movements according to the strict specifications of the Geneva Seal. The company controls all stages of the watch-making process from design to production to assembly to finish. To put things into perspective, it takes more than 1,200 operations to create one watch!

In addition to highly regarded quality and craftsmanship, Patek Philippe is a top innovator known for one-of-a-kind timepiece creation. Mechanical movements take between three and five years to create and some select styles can take up to 10 years to complete with as low as five offered at the end result. These ultra-coveted collections are extremely sought after. In fact, a strict application process is in tact, which Patek Philippe loyalists line up for in hopes of attaining custom timepieces to pass down from one generation to the next.

All in attendance at the Patek Philippe dinner had something special in common. They weren’t so much about “flash and cash” albeit the brands high price tag. These were customers with surprisingly low-key lifestyles who cherished the timepieces for the utmost quality, the history, and collectors-worthy appeal behind the label. In fact, one of the most interesting bits of information I learned at my post next to Edelman during the few-hour affair was that some of their top customers are from Fargo, North Dakota with San Antonio, Texas not too far behind. So, it’s safe to say that some people who got it, sometimes don’t flaunt it and some that flaunt it, might not got it. And along with the adage “you can’t always get what you want”, the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is also very true. And, at the most basic level, quality over quantity is the way to go.

Ben Bridge Timeworks is located at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. # 2059, www.benbridge.com, 808.951.5600.

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