The Rhyming Histories


When Patek Philippe’s history rhymes with Singapore’s history

Patek Philippe celebrated Singapore’s 50th year of independence and its golden jubilee in Singapore with a charity gala dinner and auction held at the National Museum of Singapore.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, Patek Philippe is honoured to present as gifts to the nation three exceptional creations - “The Peranakan Culture”, “The Esplanade – Singapore” and “The Farquhar Collection” dome table clocks to raise funds in benefit of the National Heritage Board (NHB) in support of charitable causes as well as causes related to the preservation and promotions of the arts.

Each of these clocks is unique and masterfully created by artisans capturing the quintessence of Singapore, taking inspiration from Singapore’s past and present, its flora and fauna, its culture and heritage and its iconic modern landscape. 

Mr Philippe Stern, Honorary President of Patek Philippe S.A who fifty years ago established Patek Philippe’s presence in Singapore, graced the event with his presence that evening. Also in attendance were Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office and for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Yeoh Chee Yan, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, His Excellency Mr Thomas Kupfer, Ambassador of Switzerland, honoured guests and partners.

“My father started the long term relationship between our company and Singapore back in 1965, so it goes without saying that it was important to us to present our gratitude to the nation on its 50th independence anniversary” said Mr Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe S.A. “To mark this historical moment we created three unique commemorative dome table clocks that reflect themes that are integral parts of Singaporean history and evolution. We hope that with the auctions proceeds of these unique pieces achieved thanks to our esteemed collectors’ generosity, Patek Philippe will contribute in preserving Singapore’s heritage for the generations to come.”

Auction house Christie’s lent its support for this endeavour and the auction was conducted by Mr John Reardon, Christie’s International Head of Watches. The three clocks – “The Esplanade – Singapore”, “The Peranakan Culture” and “The Farquhar Collection” raised $700,000, $750,000 and $1,000,000 respectively. A total of $2.45 million dollars was raised and to top it off, the proceeds will be matched dollar for dollar through the Cultural Matching Fund which will see the contribution gain greater mileage in the heritage sector. In addition, the successful bidder of the “Farquhar Collection” dome table clock has generously donated the clock to the National Museum of Singapore.

Mr Ong Yew Huat, Chairman of NHB, said: “On behalf of NHB, I would like to thank Patek Philippe for choosing to give back to Singapore’s museum and heritage sector. The specially designed dome table clocks are meaningful visual representations of our Singapore story and a fitting tribute on our 50th birthday. More importantly, the proceeds from the auction will go towards enhancing our museums’ exhibition offerings and programmes, providing Singaporeans and visitors with more quality opportunities to enjoy and experience our shared heritage. The contributions will also benefit NHB’s Heritage Cares programme, which strengthens our efforts in sharing our heritage offerings with different segments of society, especially the less fortunate. The support of patrons of heritage such as Patek Philippe, allows us to continue the work we do, so as to leave an enduring legacy for future generations.” 


When Patek Philippe’s history rhymes with Singapore’s history

1965 marked the beginning of Patek Philippe’s collaboration with Singapore. It was the year that Singapore also gained its independent nation status. Mr Philippe Stern, present honorary president of Patek Philippe, travelled to Singapore in order to develop the company’s sales network and his journey marked the beginning of a promising cooperation with two multi-brand boutiques. Over the years, some new sales outlets have joined the official network, most of which are still partners of the brand today. In 1987, the company formed Geneva Master Time LLP in Singapore after more than twenty years of establishing Patek Philippe in the region.

Thus for fifty years, Patek Philippe has witnessed the great changes this country has undergone and its growing importance on the economic scene in Asia. Today a thriving city-state, Singapore is an essential hub for the distribution of Patek Philippe watches in the South-East Asian region.

Amongst its customers, Patek Philippe counts the major entrepreneurs, hotel owners, property developers and families involved in the post-independence development of Singapore. For these collectors, Patek Philippe is a natural choice as the family values upheld by the brand – represented by the slogan “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation” apply very much to the Asian culture, which places the family at the centre of everything. Therefore a Patek Philippe can be compared to a family heirloom that has to be kept carefully before being passed on to one’s children. As enthusiasts of horological complications, this clientele also looks forward to Patek Philippe rare handcraft creations in both timepieces and dome table clocks.


Ref. 1665M “Peranakan Culture”: Dome table clock in cloisonné enamel

Ref. 1665M “Peranakan Culture” - Dome Table Clock in cloisonné enamel is the first amongst the three dome clocks that was presented at Baselworld 2015 for a rare public preview.

This unique piece in cloisonné enamel pays tribute to the Peranakans, the Straits-born Chinese descended from immigrants to settle in former British crown colony of Malacca, Penang and Singapore. Its decoration draws on traditional motifs from their vibrantly coloured art that can be seen in their architectural elements such as tiles or windows.

To create the roses and geometric figures, the enameller outlined the design using more than 28 meters of gold wire (53.3 g) measuring 0.2 x 0.6 mm in cross-section, and filled the cells thus created with transparent, opaque and opalescent enamels in 14 colours. 

Each element required from 7 to 8 firings at temperatures of about 890°C. The hour circle, adorned with black-enamelled Breguet numerals, frames a dial centre hand- guilloched under translucent rose-pink enamel.

Cloisonné enamelling is a rare and ancient art form. It is used to create splendid multi- coloured decorations. It consists of tracing the outline of the design in fine gold wire and then filling the cells formed by wire partitions with coloured enamel powders. These are vitrified by successful firings in a kiln.

Unique piece specially created to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence. Full proceeds from the auction of the “Peranakan Culture” dome table clock will be donated to the Peranakan Museum.


1675M “Farquhar Collection”: Dome table clock in cloisonné enamel

This unique piece was inspired by the celebrated “William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings”, a treasure-trove of 477 watercolours depicting plants and animals of the Malay Peninsula and Singapore. The works were produced in the early 19th century by Chinese artists at the request of William Farquhar, Singapore’s first Resident and Commandant at that time. These drawings were important records in a period that pre- dated the invention of photography, and remain today valuable archives of a local biodiversity that is fast disappearing.

To convey all the beauty and wealth of detail of the drawings, which are equally prized for their scientific precision and their refined aesthetics, the enameller used transparent, opaque and opalescent enamels in 78 colours. Tracing the outlines required 32.55 meters (65.1 g) of gold wire measuring 0.2 mm wide. Each enamelled element called for between 8 and 14 firings at temperatures of about 930°C.

The hour circle is adorned with black enamelled Breguet numerals and frames a silver dial center guilloched under sand-coloured enamel. Height: 213.5 mm.

Unique piece specially created to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Full proceeds from the auction of the “Farquhar Collection” dome table clock will be donated to The National Museum of Singapore. 


1677M “The Esplanade – Singapore”: Dome table clock hand-guilloched under cloisonné enamel with silver leaf

This unique piece presents one of the most famous panoramic views of modern Singapore, taking in the familiar sights of the river and the distinctive architecture of the theatre.

To reproduce the building’s geometric patterns in the sky, the artist delicately hand- guilloched the silver panels that form the dial and the body of the clock. Depicting the skyline and its towers required 6.25 meters of gold wire (12.5 g) measuring 0.2 mm wide, and some 20 enamel colours. Most of the colours were transparent, with a few opalescent tints and one opaque shade. Inclusions of silver leaf beneath the translucent enamel conjure up the glow of the fireworks, the glitter of the cityscape and the sparkle of light on water. Each enamelled element called for some 11 firings at temperatures ranging from 810°C to 920°C.

The hour circle is adorned with black enamelled Breguet numerals. Height: 213.5 mm.

Unique piece specially created to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Full proceeds from the auction of the “The Esplanade - Singapore” dome table clock will be donated to seed the “Heritage Cares” initiatives for beneficiaries of Singapore Comchest to enjoy programmes and activities offered at the museums.

All three dome table clocks embody Patek Philippe’s dedication to the preservation of artisanal skills that have been directly associated with horology for more than four centuries. Today, these skills are in the hands of a few masters.