In summer 2017, Patek Philippe opened a one-of-a-kind luxury timepiece popup museum – Art of Watches Grand Exhibiition – at Cipriani 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. For 11 days, Pettinelli and the Patek team put some of the brand’s finest wares on display for tens of thousands of visitors.
CSQ What is the first watch you ever bought or were given?
Larry Pettinelli My father gave me a Timex when I graduated from high school. Later in life he gave me a few pocket watches his grandfather had given him and since then a timepiece, to me, has been about the story of the specific watch, regardless of the brand.
CSQ When did you join Patek Philippe?
LP I’ve been with Patek since 1988 and in 1989 we had our 150 year anniversary which allowed me an opportunity to own one of the 150-year limited edition pieces.
CSQ What is your most successful market?
LP The most successful single market country is the U.S. Regionally, it’s Europe with Asia coming in right behind it. The markets are somewhat beholden to the inventory Mr. Philippe Stern allocates to them each year.
CSQ In the luxury timepiece space, has there been evolution or change in retail?
LP There is. When I first started we had case displays and counted the length of the case and number of watches inside. We’ve made a concerted effort in the last 20 or 25 years to build a consistent worldwide image, down to the lighting and wood. We want to create an environment that whether you’re in Dubai, London, or Beverly Hills, you will know it’s a Patek boutique. Beyond a consistent look and feel of a store, we have begun to work with specific retailers (Geary’s) to identify their best clients and offer them the opportunity to come to Geneva and tour our facilities.
CSQ Talk to me about the Grand Exhibition.
LP We typically focus our advertising and marketing on a specific, targeted demographic and as a result we occasionally need to do something unique that moves the needle for the brand. The Grand Exhibition had been in London and Dubai prior and this was our opportunity to produce a branding event and try to create the next wave of customers and we did. Using Survey Monkey we found out that the highest percentage of attendees were ages
25-36. Beyond demographics, we wanted to make this an educational process where people who did not know much about watches and did not own watches were not alienated and we wanted to display some of our historic timepieces owned by Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio, and President Kennedy