The first time I ever heard of Patek Philippe was quite a few years back when my friend Ray in New York told me he was going to sell his father's hand-me-down watch to help raise cash for a new business venture - a film he and his colleagues were trying to put together.
I tagged along that day, expecting to schlep around to all the high-end pawn shops in Midtown Manhattan and to the jewelry exchanges in the diamond district. But instead, we took a taxi to York Avenue on the Upper East Side where he turned the watch over to Sotheby's Auction House.
And a few months later my friend Ray received a check from Sotheby's for $33,500! Whoa! That's some kind of hand-me-down, right? Then a few years after that, while staying with friends in Switzerland, I used to walk past the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva almost every day of the week for the entire summer - and never went in! What was I thinking?
Horologists to European royalty and rich people all over the globe, Patek Philippe has been around since the early 1800's, and if I'm not mistaken they hold the record for the world's most expensive watches, at over a million dollars! But not to panic; they're not all million-dollar watches, of course. They do have a middle range - anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 - to accommodate both the billionaires and the lowly millionaires.
In addition (and here's the good news) they also have a low-end line for those just getting started in their upward climb into the world of the UHNW. With no trouble at all you can find a nice little watch in the $10,000 to $50,000 range.
The reason this all came up is because the Missus had a birthday this week. And Ester the Upstairs Maid reports there's an open, empty watch box in the boudoir with the label Patek Philippe. Of course I can't wait to see it and figure out if it's low end or high. (It's the diamonds surrounding the face of the watch that jacks the price of a lady's watch sky high.)
Anyhow, I'm really kicking myself tonight for not having gone into that museum in Geneva. How dumb can you be? I think it was Aristophanes who said, "Ignorance can be educated, but stupid is forever."
As always, thanks for stopping by.