Experience: Celebrating Patek Philippe's 175th Anniversary at the Rainbow Room in NYC. A Once in a Lifetime Invitation.

If you are a true watchlifestyler and a Patekaholic, it is very likely that you already know who's wearing the ultra rare Patek Philippe ref. 5208 in this picture. If you are still in the process of becoming one, this epic wrist shot was taken by us with monsieur Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe during the unforgettable 175th anniversary celebration —the brand hosted at the Rainbow Room in New York City— that we were honored to attend. Very often, journalists in the watch industry become jaded by the amount of watch parties and watch related events they attend and take for granted invitations like this one. Luckily for us, we are collectors first and then journalists. Therefore, we like to share with our readers these type of events and do a full article about the experience. Now, this once in a lifetime invitation, is one that we will never forget  and one that we will always cherish. Before we go into the details of the celebration and the amazing watches we enjoyed two nights ago, we would like to thank Patek Philippe for thinking of us.

This amazing celebration took place on Wednesday November 5th, 2014 at the iconic Rainbow Room located on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The Rainbow Room —one of the oldest establishments in the city— just reopened its doors a month ago after a five year hiatus. This legendary venue that has seen some of the most affluent and famous in the world, was the perfect setting for such an important occasion.

Once upstairs on the 65th floor of the legendary 30 Rockefeller Plaza building —home to NBC and the spectacular Top of the Rock observation deck—, breathtaking views of the NYC skyline and all the grandeur this celebration had in store for us awaited us. Upon entering the room, a cozy intimate atmosphere greeted us with a nicely back lit timeline of Patek Philippe's history extending through a nice long corridor before we entered the main room where the celebration had already kicked-off.

Once in the main room, after briefly running into Larry Pettinelli —President of Patek Philippe U.S.A.—, we were wowed by the splendor of the iconic chandelier hanging from the center of the room and the very elegant display that Patek Philippe had setup at the center of the room right on the revolving dance floor. As the lively Big Band music coming from the main stage filled our ears, we were transported to 1934 when the Rainbow Room first opened its doors —two years earlier in 1932, Patek Philippe was acquired by Jean and Charles Henri Stern.

As we walked around the room and delighted our eyes with the decor and the views, we prepared for the welcoming remarks of monsieurs Larry Pettinelly and Thierry Stern with our usual Negroni in hand —this time, in the company of our rose gold Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse ref. 3738/100R-001. After the brief but very heartfelt remarks, we were delighted by the breathtaking video of the start of the night, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 5175R-001. Ladies and gentlemen, this video is a must see for all of you and you can watch it here.

Following the remarks, the display of the 175th anniversary commemorative watches was officially opened and the stars of the night finally shone their way through the packed room filled with elite personalities, watch collectors and the most influential members of the watch industry press. Behind a glittering curtain of hanging crystals, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 5175R-001 was slowly spinning inside a very well lit showcase mesmerizing everyone in its presence. The Grandmaster Chime with its double-face case with a diameter of 47 mm, accommodates 1,366 parts, four spring barrels and no fewer than 20 complications, including coveted functions such as a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, a second time zone, and two patented global debuts in the domain of chiming watches: an acoustic alarm that strikes the alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand. Its price $2.6 Million USD and only 7 watches produced —one of them going to the Patek Philippe Museum and six other available for sale.

To the left of the area where the Grandmaster Chime ref. 5175R-001 was on display, we were able to admire some of the other watches launched in the occasion of the 175th anniversary. Next to the Chiming Jump Hour ref. 5275P —one of our favorites—, we were finally able to see in the metal the six Multi-Scale Chronographs ref. 5975 and ref. 4675, the new World Time Moon ref. 5575 and ref. 7175 —which happens to be even much nicer in person than in the stock images we previously featured here— and also monsieur Thierry Stern's customary minute repeater presentation trunk showcasing ten exceptional timepieces. As you can see thus far, this was indeed a very special evening and the timepieces on display will forever remain engrained in our heart and minds.

As we sipped our Negronis and enjoyed the delicate Hors d'oeuvre that were passed around during the celebration —a wide selection of savory and sweet bites that included suppli, lobster risotto, foie gras toasts, ravioli al tartufo nero, beef wellington, panna cotta a la mela, popcorn ice cream lollipops, dark chocolate flourless cakes, vanilla cupcakes, etc.—, along with two buffet style bars —one with freshly rolled sushi and perfectly cut nigiri and the other with a beef filet carving station with some decadent sides—, we finally headed to the display located to the right of the Grandmaster Chime to find out more Patek Philippe goodness.

Flanked by two long cases filled with Patek Philippe calibres under an over-sized sliding loupe and some of the friendliest Patek Philippe master watchmakers, we were finally able to take a very close look at the prototype of the Grandmaster Chime ref. 5175. Additionally, we took a look at an over-sized model of the complex strap/lug system that allows for the case of the Grandmaster Chime to rotate by simply pulling on both sides of the strap at the same time while the case rotates freely. Lastly, as a memento of the acquisition of Patek Philippe by the Stern family in 1932, a vintage Calatrava from the same year was on display still running quite strong and keeping time quite accurately.

As we mingled around and enjoyed the rest of this epic celebration, we ran into several of our Instagram followers and friends including Adam Craniotes —co-founder of New York's Red Bar Crew— and Spanish Rob sporting his famous beloved Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3711 with Tiffany & Co. signed dial —of which of course we had to take a wrist shot. 

Now talking about wrist shots, the one that takes the center stage during this special celebration is the one of the Patek Philippe ref. 5208P on monsieur Thierry Stern's wrist. The Patek Philippe ref. 5208P is a triple grand complication platinum watch measuring 42 mm in diameter featuring a minute repeater with its chime equipped with two gongs, a monopusher 12-hour chronograph with 60-minute and 12-hour registers, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with aperture displays including leap year and day/night indicators and moon phases indicator.

After an unforgettable night of exceptional timepieces, decadent food, good conversation with watchlifestylers and pure Patek Philippe goodness in all its glory, the night drifted away surrounded by the delicate smell of the Mizensir 'Fleur d'Oranger' candle we received upon departure along with the 175th anniversary collection book. Thank you Patek Philippe for letting us be part of this historical celebration.

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