Patrick Getreide with part of his OAK collection | Source: Torvioll Jashari

The OAK Collection: Exhibiting 160 of the Finest Watches Ever

A real treat for horology enthusiasts and watch collectors, 160 of the ‘best of the best’ vintage and contemporary museum quality timepieces are on display to the public for the first time ever.

A world premiere in the watch world, the one-of-a-kind private collection dubbed ‘The OAK Collection’ will be exhibited at The Design Museum in London before a world tour.

Showcasing timepieces that are not just rare, but “one-of-a-kind,” hence the OAK acronym, it’s the first time a private watch collection has gone on display in a public institution.

Carefully curated by French businessman Patrick Getreide over the course of four decades, the full world-class collection includes around 600 watches estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The bulk of the collection highlights Getreides’ particular passion for Patek Philippe as well as plenty of rare pieces from Rolex, F.P. Journe, and Cartier.

OAK Collection exhibition
The OAK Collection exhibition | Source: Hypebeast

So special is the collection, many of the timepieces are unrepeatable special orders, ultra-rare limited editions, and the most valuable examples of their type. Amongst the collection is also the largest number of privately held Patek Philippe pieces once owned by the celebrated collector Henry Graves Jr.

What’s more, all of these timepieces are serviced and maintained by one master watchmaker whose job is solely dedicated to this collection.

Patek Philippe Henry Graves Jr. Pocket Watch | Source: Robb Report

One of the many highlights comes straight from the pocket of New York banker, and prolific watch collector Henry Graves, Jr. The platinum Patek Tourbillon pocket watch ordered by Graves in 1932, won the “Geneva Astronomical Observatory Timing Competition” in 1933-1934 and is engraved with Patek’s dedication to Graves.

A Patek Philippe World Time reference 2523J from 1953 is one of just two examples ever made in 18K gold. A rare specimen, it’s in pristine condition, barely ever worn for 60 years with Getreide saying this piece is “the watch I like the most—very rare, very much in demand.”

Patek Philippe World Time Ref 2523J | Source: Robb Report

One of the most collectable watches in the world, the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman is another gem amongst the many rarities. This particular manual-winding, stainless steel chronograph however is far from just another Daytona. It was once owned by NASA astronaut “Walt” Cunningham, who took it into space on the first successful manned mission of the Apollo program in the late ’60s.

Getreide admits “I had to fight very hard to get this one”.

An iconic design yet still one-of-a-kind, at first glance this Patek Philippe Ref. 3800 appears to be a regular Nautilus. In fact, it features a quartz movement inside made especially for a doctor with a time-sensitive profession. Collectors will struggle to find another Ref. 3800 with a quartz movement and Getreide mentions “It’s actually incredibly difficult to make this watch with quartz”.

Patek Philippe Ref. 3800 | Source: Robb Report

There’s plenty more to explore from rare a Patek Philippe Aquanaut and special Rolex Day-Date Oyster Perpetual to a limited edition F.P. Journe Octa Calendrier.

The OAK Collection is on display at the London Design Museum until 25th May, before going on tour in the United States, Asia and the Middle East.

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