Must See: The OAK Collection – an amazing collector shares his passion

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The OAK Collection exhibition – ‘One of A Kind’ – comprises 168 ‘best of the best’ vintage and contemporary museum quality watches was previewed at London’s Design Museum with an exclusive cocktail party event to mark the Grand Opening of the week long OAK Collection public exhibition.

Must See: The OAK Collection – an amazing collector shares passion

An excellent exhibition, and in our opinion, a must visit for al who love watches. See our Invitation article for details on how to visit, if you are in London this week.

Cutting the Grand Ceremony ribbon. From L to R: Nick Foulkes, Patrick Getreide, Lord Peter Mandelson Chairman of the Design Museum, Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner and Tim Marlow CEO of Design Museum.

We were at the Grand Opening in London, and met with Mr. Patrick Getreide, an amazing collector whose passion for watches is as boundless as his spirit and energy.

Mr. Patrick Getreide. the collector.

This is the first time a private collection of this magnitude and importance has been showcased in a museum. And we think it might be a catalyst to inspire other collectors to come out and share their passion. Mr. Getreide has been passionately collecting watches over the last 40 years, and meeting with him in person, we are extremely impressed with the depth, the love and the near maniacal focus on acquiring watches that he liked. The collection has been carefully curated with the help of historian and author Nick Foulkes, and showcases only 168 out of his collection of more than 600 important watches.

Nick Foulkes, the curator of this exhibition.

In one on one discussions with Mr. Getreide, we asked him that there must have been many who are asking why he chose to reveal himself and his collection after many years as a collector. And the expense of mounting such an exhibition and public and press relations campaign must be a very expensive exercise. And his reply told us more about his character than any of the release notes we received. He simply wanted to share his passion, and thought that it is high time watches are displayed alongside masterpiece paintings and vintage cars. He viewed timepieces are just as much works of art as any.

He told us that though he has a bevy of advisors, he is always the final decision maker in any purchase, and he insists on supreme examples which are mint, or new in box, or special order bespoken by him. And hence, the collection is somewhat eclectic and individual, and is a glimpse to his personality.

In his collection, but ommited from this selection, are watches from A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet, and many other important maisons and also of striking watches (we asked Mr. Getreide during the Q&A session why there were no striking watches, and he pulled a Patek Philippe Minute Repeater out of his pocked and handed it over to our Chief Editor. And told us that there were simply too many watches to share than sufficient for one exhibition). This leaves the possibility and the opportunity to do a second and perhaps even a third or fourth part to this immense collection.

The watches are displayed in showcases, categorised into 11 groups.

The Patek World Timer showcase.
M. Getreide leading our group in the guided tour.

The venue is the amazing Design Museum in Kensington, London. A beautiful space where the visitor can also spend time exploring after reviewing the Oak Collection, though for many watch lovers, the visit to the Oak Show is sufficient to keep spirits high for weeks.

Quick facts about the exhibition

  • A World Premiere for such a large and Exceptional private collection of Patek Philippe, Rolex & independants watchmakers.
  • An exquisite selection of 168 watches drawn from a collection of over 600 significant timepieces. A collection built over the span of 40 years, behind the scenes, far from the spotlight, by a passionate watch lover…
  • Quite unique in the world of watch collecting: the collection is a combination of historical, vintage and contemporary watches.
  • ‘One-of-a-kind’ (OAK) not only due to size and scope, but also because it consists mainly of one-offs. Unique vintage pieces, and modern Patek Philippe timepieces made bespoke in close concert with the collector in a creative process based on mutual trust and respect, from design to manufacture.
  • The world’s largest concentration of iconic Patek Philippe ‘Calatrava’ watches.
  • The OAK collection pays also tribute to Henry Graves Jr., Patek Philippe great collector of the 1930’, featuring the greatest number of timepieces that once belonged to him, outside the Patek Philippe Museum.
  • Exceptional pieces from other brands: chiefly Rolex and the independants, F.P. Journe, Kari Voutinalinen and Akrivia.
  • The diversity and rarity of the collection , in combination with the watches quality , excellent provenance and perfect condition, make this collection an hommage both to Haute Horlogerie and to the passing of time.
  • Each of the 600 pieces in the collection has in common its rarity an exceptional state of conservation. The collection almost exclusively features One-of-a-kind watches, watches produced in limited series as special editions or on special order. It also includes many items worthy of being showcased in museums.
  • From intuitive attraction to discerning passion. From initiation to deep connection with the art of watchmaking. The OAK Collection invites you on a collector’s journey.

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