Diary of a Patek Philippe Collector – creating memories (1st March 2020)

Last week, I looked at the wonderful philosophy endorsed by @Pateklust that encourages us to live life and wear our watches. Scratches, either metaphorically or actual, are evidence of “living.” This week, I want to extend the philosophy one step further.

This weekend, my family celebrated the success of my son in completing 6 years of medical school. 6 long years of intense study at a university renowned for stretching their medical students to the limit. It was, indeed, a long journey but one that is now successfully complete. To mark the occasion, my wife and I decided that he would get a Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5167A. It is a major milestone and it seemed fitting to mark the occasion. The watch reflects not only the incredible achievement but also the sacrifices that needed to be made to attain that success.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5167A – I wonder how long this will remain in our family?

We kept the watch a secret from him. We had arranged to go for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason but en route we stopped off at the Patek Philippe London Salon. With the watch in hand, the Salon treated us stunningly well. Some champagne. A lesson about the watch from Kevin the watchmaker. Fabulous hosting by Nicola and with much prior help from Ed and Holly. Saturday 29th February became an altogether very memorable occasion. Thank you so very much Patek Philippe London Salon.

Surprise awaiting

At the Salon, there was a single clasp that had previously been engraved for me. So, when we brought the watch in, and whilst it was being fitted for size, Kevin secretly swapped the standard clasp on the 5167A so that the engraved clasp was now on the watch. Again, this was a little surprise to make the occasion all the more memorable. Patek Philippe knew of the plan and it was executed superbly. It has always been my experience that Patek Philippe understand customer relationships way better than any other manufacturer. It is absolutely top class.

“Marking” the occasion

After leaving the Salon, we made the short journey from the Patek Philippe Salon to Fortnum & Mason where we enjoyed what can only be described as the most hedonistic afternoon tea known to man.

Doing some “research” into the best Afternoon Tea in London?

Yes, this was a special occasion and embedded in that 5167A is now a set of memories that will last forever. Every time that watch is worn, it will carry those memories.

But it is also the case that my watch and the watch worn by my wife will also carry the memories of the day. Each watch is now “scratched” with the memories of a fantastic day in celebration of something very special.

It would have been easy to have just gifted the 5167A. But actually, the “scratches of life” are more about the poignancy of an experience. The longer I collect watches, the more I come to realise that I have absolutely no interest in having boxes full of perfect watches that carry next-to-no meaning to me at all. I don’t make my living buying and selling watches. And I don’t want my hobby to become affected by the financial aspect of the process. To me, the most valuable watch in my collection is the watch that carries the most precious memories. It is as simple as that.

Does that mean I will never buy another watch?

For sure, I will buy more watches. However, the lesson I have learned is that I owe to myself, my family and indeed my watches the obligation to create as many outstanding memories as possible. I want each watch to have embedded as many outstanding memories as possible. It may even spur me to create a “watch diary” detailing those moments and memories. A beautiful and rare watch in perfect condition that is never worn is for me, something that goes 100% in the opposite direction of my new philosophy.

Bring on the “scratches of life.” Create them.