The charming Dr Peter Friess, who’s the curator of the Patek Philippe Museum is a person who is aware of quite a bit about time and speaking to him makes one recognize it much more.
His job is a most distinguished and attention-grabbing one within the eyes of watch fans and after we delve into his data about timepieces, we get drawn into the wondrous world of watches. Chances are you’ll assume you already know quite a bit about horology however he’s nonetheless capable of give grains of perception that depart you amazed but once more.
Friess began his profession as a watchmaker and he has a grasp’s diploma in watchmaking. He additionally has a full training as a restorer of watches. “So, I’m very savvy when it comes all the way down to clocks and watches and I constructed my very own clocks and my very own watches. On high of that, I’ve an training as an artwork historian and the PhD, ” he explains. Friess feels that each one this assist him to create the cultural background for all his work and he feels the mixture of that is what makes every part come collectively.
When requested by somebody on what it’s prefer to be a caretaker of a few of the most vital timepieces in historical past, he answered, “It’s a very privileged place.” He shared that the corporate and household that owns the museum put numerous belief in its curators and the folks working there. It actually is one thing to be impressed by and he provides, “It’s not solely me. It’s a gaggle of individuals and you already know, a museum is a really costly endeavour. There are many points. It’s a must to maintain it consistently fashionable, when you’ve got, yearly, 60,000 to 70,000 folks strolling by way of it… new carpets and this and that.” He additionally provides with a smile, “We’re very costly too, ” referring to his function as a curator.
In a heartfelt method he emphasised, “I believe it’s very good of the corporate and household that they make an effort to supply the funds and make it attainable as a result of it’s not solely useful for the historical past of Patek Philippe, however for the entire area of watchmaking.”
He mentioned it is usually vital for the cultural picture of the town and the reverberations are huge. “The affect is large. Proper now, as I mentioned, there isn’t any different place in Switzerland, in Geneva, in no way, that gives as a lot details about the historical past of watches as we do.“
He went on so as to add that Patek’s most vital contribution was when Adrien Philippe invented the stem winding and time setting system. That is mainly the primary one window of 1842 and after that Patek Philippe added the crown to the watch.
“They used to have the important thing and you already know, with a key you’ll be able to lose it and chances are you’ll not be capable of discover it. So, now the crown was absolutely hooked up to it so you can’t lose it. The important thing would additionally scratch both the dial or the again of the case as a result of you need to fiddle with it and put it into the outlet.
“And, with that innovation, the corporate inside 10 years turned the market the other way up. They needed to discover the watchmakers to construct these actions they usually needed to be educated in accordance with what Philippe needed. So actually, he was a sport changer and we’d say at present that each watch we’ve got, each mechanical watch has a crown.”
Friess additionally elaborated, “I’d say the obvious contribution of this firm to the historical past of timekeeping is including the stem winding and setting mechanism.”
On what watchmaking means to him, he defined. “I’d say that watchmaking is the crimson thread by way of European historical past from 1300 onwards till at present, as a result of the change between the craftsmen who work with their fingers and the scientists who work with their mind, that may be a fixed change of knowledge and the inspiration for brand new improvements. So, for me, watchmaking is a vital a part of European historical past.”
He said that Patek Philippe is a giant participant and what he likes in regards to the model is, “You possibly can see it on this complete exhibition very properly. While you stroll your self very rigorously by way of, you be taught that this firm makes use of the brains of individuals and the mechanical abilities of their fingers to construct probably the most lovely timepieces on the earth and you’ll not discover many different corporations or some other firm which does it on this degree.”
Concerning the Singapore and South-East Asia room, his response was, “You recognize, each time we go overseas, like right here, after we got here to this a part of the world, we undoubtedly talked to the folks. We attempt to discover objects which relate to the market.” From what was seen they did showcase some magnificent watches which resonated with the market and Friess helped to make the choice.
On what he needed the expertise to be like for first time guests to the exhibition, he shared, “We need to give all people who comes right here, in a brief time period, possibly two or three hours, a good suggestion of why watches had been constructed at sure occasions or which exact purpose, and so we’ve got little tales in every case.
“While you undergo the audio tales, they clarify issues like within the 17th/18th century, folks wanted watches to navigate. We simply attempt to give folks data in a language or method that they will perceive… what a watch actually means.”
The Patek Philippe museum doesn’t solely handle the general public… it additionally addresses the staff who work for Patek Philippe in an effort to educate them in regards to the historical past and so forth of timepieces.
Friess feels watchmakers are like engineers, and says, “It’s typically useful when I’ve a really attention-grabbing watch, you already know. I say, ‘You need to take a look at this piece, possibly you’ll be able to be taught one thing from it.’ So then the watchmakers come to the museum, the engineers come… we take the watch aside, talk about it, after which they go and do no matter they do. Perhaps we had been useful, possibly they knew it already.” Nevertheless, some helpful data was actually shared.
When somebody enquired about how he engages at present’s extra tech savvy viewers with expertise, he mentioned, “Now we have launched an iPad, which each customer receives when she or he involves the museum. And with the iPad, the particular person can have an audio tour in entrance of a showcase.”
They’ve round 25 hours of audio tour the place they supply all of the social cultural background of the items. “We clarify each piece intimately. This data would by no means match on a small label.” The customer will get the reference numbers and years, some historical past, and many others
He enthuses, “My iPad additionally supplies images — as much as 10 images for every bit. While you look within the showcase you see only one aspect of the watch. You by no means see what’s on the opposite aspect. Generally you’ll be able to put a mirror, however typically, you by no means see what’s inside, proper? So we’ve got photographs of all of the work, whether or not they’re exterior or inside… we’ve got images of the actions. So that you get an excellent overview of what every watch is all about.”
On whether or not he has a favorite piece, he mentioned he was not telling us and it’s as a result of he feels each piece has a particular and really attention-grabbing story. He says, “It’s so unhappy to guage simply because it has extra diamonds or nicer colors.”
Friess gave this insightful interview when he was on this a part of the world for the Patek Philippe Watch Artwork Grand Exhibition in Singapore. The previous, current and the longer term… you might see all of it within the unimaginable net of time as you seemed on the displays.
In the event you missed the exhibition, do go to the Patek Philippe museum if you’re in Geneva. What’s fantastic is that when Philippe Stern began the museum, he devoted it to the town of Geneva and because of this it’s a museum that’s open to the general public.
It’s open to guests within the afternoons. Head there for a rare expertise into the world of horology.