July 30, 2013
Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe is redesigning a classic timepiece from its Grand Complications collection to be auctioned off to help research a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.
Proceeds from the Monaco auction of Patek's exclusive titanium-cased Reference 5004 will benefit the Monaco Associate Against Muscular Dystrophy. The exclusive reworking will likely draw attention to both Patek Philippe timepieces and the debilitating disease.
"Patek's strategy to redesign of the Reference 5004 timepiece provides an opportunity to allow them to accelerate their philanthropic efforts," said Dalia Strum, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and founder of Dalia Inc., New York.
"Their alignment with the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy is an opportunity to make a significant impact," she said.
"By creating this limited edition timepiece, Patek has provided an opportunity that allows their clientele to contribute their support for this important cause."
Ms. Strum is not affiliated with Patek Philippe, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Patek Philippe was unable to comment directly.
Patek Philippe is joining 30 other watchmakers by auctioning off a unique timepiece to benefit the Only Watch charity auction.
Now in its fifth year, Only Watch is donating proceeds from the 2013 auction to fund research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy along with auction organizer, the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy.
Watch auctioneers, Antiquorum will conduct the auction, which will be held Sept. 28 in Monaco at the Hermitage Hotel.
Patek Philippe's exclusive auction timepiece is the redesigned Reference 5004.
Both sides of the 5004T
The manually-wound chronograph timepiece will be cased in titanium for the first time. The Reference 5004 timepiece is currently available in yellow gold, white gold, platinum and a limited-released steel casing.
New features to the 5004T added by the brand's master watchmakers include a split-second mechanism and perpetual calendar.The reverse side of the timepiece displays its inner mechanisms through glass.
Only Watch 2013 trailer
Patek’s 5004T is joining other unique timepieces beginning Sept. 6 as part of the international exhibit of the Only Watch collection.
The exhibit will visit Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Geneva and will end in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show on Sept. 25-28. The auction will be held on the final day of the Yacht Show.
Participating in the Only Watch exhibit and donating a unique timepiece for auction is Zenith, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, Armin Strom, Roger Dubuis, Richard Mille, Paiget, Montblanc, Maurice Lacroix, Louis Vuitton, Laurent Ferrier, Julien Coudray 1518, Jaquet Droz, Ikepod, Hublot, Harry Winston, Girard Perregaux, Frédérique Constant, De Bethune, Dewitt, Delacour, Cryus, Corum, Christophe Claret, Chronoswiss, Chopard, Chanel, Breguet, Blacpain, Bell & Ross and Backes & Strauss.
Patek Philippe posted details of the redesigned Reference 5004T on its Facebook page to publicize its participation.
Patek Philippe's Facebook
Brands that keep charity pieces exclusive protect the nobility of the cause while remaining attractive to affluent timepiece enthusiasts.
Other luxury brands approach philanthropy in different ways.
For example, Italian fashion house Gucci is attracting young consumers through its Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund that is giving students in China, Britain and Japan a chance to participate in the Grammy Awards Foundation 2013 Grammy Camp in New York and Los Angeles.
This initiative is part of Gucci Timepieces & Jewelry Music Fund’s three-year partnership with The Recording Academy. Gucci is likely aiming to draw in younger consumers with its music-themed, charity partnerships (see story).
Additionally, Swiss watchmaker Hublot is feting its new brand ambassador, soccer star Radamel Falcao, through a partnership with a United Nations charity to help impoverished families in Colombia.
The watchmaker and Mr. Falcao will be helping to generate additional aid for his hometown of Grand Lagoon of Santa Marta, Colombia, by donating a portion of the sales from each Classic Fusion Falcao watch to the families in that area. The watchmaker is likely to boost brand exposure in South America and Europe through Mr. Falcao and the charity efforts (see story).
Involvement in charities can reveal the personal side of a brand.
"This initiative adds value to Patek as it displays the sensitive side of the brand," said Ms. Strum. "Patek emphasizes that it is not just a company but rather is deeply concerned about current issues and how it could help contribute. "
"It personalizes the brand by offering support to aid in this cause."
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York