The OAK Collection exhibition – for ‘One of A Kind’ – comprises 163 ‘best of the best’ vintage and contemporary museum quality watches, among which are unrepeatable special orders, ultra-rare limited editions, the most valuable examples of their type and the largest number of Patek Philippe pieces once owned by the celebrated collector Henry Graves Jnr. to now be held in private hands.
The OAK Collection traveling exhibition opened at the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG on May 19 and runs until May 25. It will then move to the Bahrain National Museum, Shaikh Hamad Causeway, Manama, China and the USA in 2022.
Every watch is in truly perfect condition, with the majority of examples being new or virtually unworn. All are serviced on a regular basis by a highly experienced watch maker whose working life is dedicated to maintaining the collection which, having been patiently gathered and never previously revealed, could fairly be described as one of the watch world’s ‘best kept secrets’.
The OAK Collection exhibition, which has been curated by a hand-picked team of watch world elites, will first be unveiled in London before embarking on a global tour incorporating four international stops at spectacular exhibition venues in the USA, Middle East and Asia.
Visitors to the OAK Collection exhibition will be taking part in a ‘world first’ event, because never before has a privately-owned collection of such exceptional watches, all in impeccable condition, been made available to the public.
It is also unlikely that such a comprehensive and carefully curated collection encompassing the best of the best of both vintage and modern watches will ever be compiled within the lifetime of current generations.
As a result, the exhibition will undoubtedly set a new benchmark for quality, rarity and scholarship in the field of watch collecting.
The OAK Collection will be displayed within a series of bespoke-designed, interconnected rooms that will be recreated at each location and will take the viewer on a tranquil horological journey comprising 11 sections, each of which could be described as a ‘chapter’ of time that encapsulates the collector’s appreciation of specific genres of watch, from simple, three-hand models to high complication pieces.
The maker most strongly represented in the exhibition is Patek Philippe, with many examples owned by the collector having been made specifically for him in close, creative collaborations with the manufacture – a process available only to a small number of the firm’s most respected clients.
Vintage Patek Philippe models, meanwhile, include references once owned by noted individuals including the musician Eric Clapton and the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, as well as pieces that were developed for particular uses or which display the maker’s mastery of rare hand crafts such as enameling and engraving.
Also remarkable is the OAK Collection’s extraordinary holding of Patek Philippe watches that once belonged to the legendary patron Henry Graves Jnr, the late banker and railroad tycoon who, between 1922 and 1951, commissioned no fewer than 39 watches from the revered maker. Of those, only around 30 are believed to have survived, five of which form part of the OAK Collection. The only larger selection of Graves watches belonging to a single entity is that on show at the Patek Philippe museum, which holds 13.
The Patek Philippe models in the OAK Collection account for six of the exhibition’s 11 sections, covering Calatrava, Nautilus, World Time and perpetual calendar/ complication models in addition to the aforementioned Graves and rare handcraft pieces.
But while Patrick Getreide, the collector, focuses strongly on the work of Patek Philippe, he does not do so exclusively. As a Rolex connoisseur, he has allocated three significant sections of the exhibition to its pieces, and has also dedicated an area to watches made by the ‘new age’ independents, notably Francois-Paul Journe and Kari Voutilainen.
Patrick Getreide’s commitment to modern makers is further demonstrated in the fact that, during the eight editions of the biennial Only Watch charity auction, he has been the most prolific buyer, accruing no fewer than 10 unique pieces with dial names as diverse as Kari Voutilainen, H.Moser, and Chanel.
THE OAK COLLECTION International Exhibition
Four Decades Of Watch Collecting Passion Revealed To The World
The Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High St, London, W8 6AG
May 19 – 25, 2022