Incredible One-Of-A-Kind OAK Collection Premieres At London Design Museum On May 19, 2022
A very special new exhibition opens this week at London’s Design Museum, an event that was supposed to have taken place in December 2021, but fell prey to the COVID waves that canceled most of the watch world’s in-person events right up through the spring of 2022.
But now the OAK Collection – “OAK” stands for “one of a kind” – will run for one week beginning on May 19, 2022 and closing at the end of the day on May 25. If you are not able to get to the UK exhibition within this time period, do not fear: it is set to travel to a few other locations, including the Bahrain National Museum in Manama and as-yet undisclosed locations in China and the United States.
This exhibition comprises one-of-a-kind and ultra-rare museum-quality timepieces that have been amassed by a single collector over the last 40 years, including the largest number of Patek Philippe timepieces (five) once owned by Henry Graves, Jr., American industrialist and one of the most famous Patek Philippe collectors in history (still famous for “the Henry Graves Supercomplication,” which sold at auction in 2014 for more than 23 million Swiss francs).
The collector, a Mr. Patrick Getreide from Paris, owns more than 500 such watches. The exhibition is set to show “just” 160 of these, curated for their beauty, rarity, and importance in the horological world.
The advent of the OAK Collection exhibition is significant for another reason as well: this is the first time in history that a private collector has organized an exhibition of his privately owned watches, a practice that is currently much more common in the art world. These are watches that would generally be bought and then hidden away in safes until they come up for auction somewhere near or at the end of a collector’s life.
“I see being able to send the OAK Collection exhibition around the world both as a reward to myself for building it and as a unique opportunity to share it with the many people who are just as passionate about watches as I am but have not been as fortunate as me in having the time and the means to acquire so many special pieces,” Getreide said. “I really do see owning them as an honor and with that comes an obligation to let others enjoy them.”
Please enjoy this video of the collection narrated and guided by Nicholas Foulkes and featuring short interviews with the world’s foremost auctioneers and collection curators as well as Getreide himself.
To say this video and exhibition are extraordinary treats would be to highly undersell the importance of this moment.
For more about this free-of-charge temporary exhibition, please visit designmuseum.org/exhibitions/the-oak-collection.