Never before has such an important private watch collection been revealed to the public. The London’s Design Museum is currently hosting the best of the OAK collection – 168 of the over 600 exceptional pieces owned by the French businessman Patrick Getreide (pictured above), who acquired them over the span of 40 years. The collection almost exclusively features One-of-A-Kind watches (hence the acronym OAK), produced in limited series as special edition or on special order. It also includes many items worthy of being showcased in museums.
Among the latter are the timepieces that once belonged to Henry Graves Jr, the American banker and railroad tycoon who commissioned 39 watches from Patek Philippe. Thirteen of them are currently on display at the company’s Museum, whilst Mr Getreide is the world’s only private collector who owns five. Above, the platinum-cased tourbillon pocket watch that won the Geneva Astronomical Observatory Timing Contest in 1933.
The Rare Handcrafts section of the exhibition features pieces such as this Patek Philippe Ref. 2481 with “cloisonné” enamelled dial.
Among the Rolex Sports Chronographs is the 1966 Cosmograph Daytona with Paul Newman dial that belonged to the NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham, who occupied the Lunar Module Pilot seat for the flight of Apollo 7, the first launch of a crewed Apollo mission.
The London stage of the OAK Collection travelling exhibition runs until May 25. It will then move to Bahrain, China and the USA.