J FARREN-PRICE - PATEK PHILIPPE'S LONGEST STANDING AUTHORISED DEALER IN AUSTRALIA
Patek Philippe and it's loyal following
As a specialist for complicated timepieces (they make up nearly half of the current collection), Patek Philippe has a leading position in watch design as evidenced by some of the most recent and important iconic luxury watches of our era – including designs such as the Calatrava or the Golden Ellipse (featured below).
In the domain of casual elegance, Patek Philippe stands in the forefront with two models that have become (as many of our customers will know) genuine cult objects: the Nautilus and the Aquanaut. Today, the manufacture’s collection embraces about 140 different references that are produced in small series with a dozen watches to a few hundred pieces for which a broad selection of movements are available, all of them crafted in the company’s own workshops. Year after year, this collection is evolved in a conceptually balanced manner.
Patek Philippe and J Farren-Price
J Farren-Price was the household name for watches across Australia in the 50s and 60s with over 100 watch shops in operation. Continuing now as a single destination boutique in Sydney's city centre, J Farren-Price these days is well known in watch circles for having one of the most comprehensive collections of Patek Philippe watches in Australia.
Patek Philippe's early days in Australia
Proudly a Patek Philippe authorised dealer since 1977, J Farren-Price - owned and run by Julian Farren-Price is now Australia's longest standing Patek Philippe agent, continuing a 40 plus-year tradition of selling some of the world's most desirable and complicated timepieces ever made.
In 1977, company director at the time and matriarch, the late Krysten Farren-Price approached Patek Philippe based on her in-depth knowledge of the craftsmanship, prestige and quality of the Swiss brand. At the time, Patek Philippe was a highly coveted, yet niche manufacturer, producing only around 6,000 watches per year; today a few decades later and they produce nearly ten times that number.
There is a saying 'be careful of what you wish for, as you just might get it!' says Julian Farren-Price. In 1977, there was a small moment of panic when the first 10 watches arrived with the $100,000 invoice as Krysten Farren-Price (pictured below with Patek Philippe's Head of Sales in the 1980's at our Sydney salon) wondered how they were ever going to pay for them.
In the early days, Patek Philippe recognised J Farren-Price's dedication to quality and having supported the firm through the ups and downs of the business cycle. This support has been well justified as over the past 40 years J Farren-Price has bought and sold exceptional timepieces considered by many as 'works of art' for several millions including Patek Philippe's most complicated wristwatch ever; the 6300G Grand Master Chime.
What made Australia become so devoted to Patek Philippe?
Clients purchase and collect Patek Philippe timepieces for their exceptional craftsmanship, rarity and technical complexity. Each knows that they are acquiring something extraordinary that can be passed down to the next generation.
Patek Philippe manufacture some of the most complicated and high-quality watches in the world, often in very small numbers. This has led over 15 of the 20 most expensive watches ever auctioned being manufactured by Patek Philippe.
J Farren-Price has sold some particularly difficult to acquire Patek Philippe timepieces over the past 40 years and has developed a reputation over the many years in partnership with the brand as the place to go to secure one of these masterpieces of Horlogerie.
J Farren-Price first started selling Patek Philippe in 1977 when the brand was relatively unknown in Australia. The majority of models sold during this time included Calatrava, Gondolo, Ellipse and Nautilus. Looking back through our handwritten record book, the earliest recorded sale of a Patek Philippe Complication was a Reference 3940 Perpetual Calendar (pictured above) purchased by a lady in Woollahra for just over $20,000. Today’s equivalent cost would be valued at over 5 times this amount.
In 1994, J Farren-Price sold a limited edition Reference 5000 model for $16,000 to a client who still shops with us today, a wonderful relationship spanning three decades. A passionate collector who has just been rewarded for his loyalty with the receipt of an incredible rare last edition steel Nautilus with green dial.
In 1997, we sold a Reference 5027P ladies watch with baguette diamond bezel. At that time, Patek Philippe was making less than 10,000 watches per year making this ladies watch an extraordinarily rare timepiece.
2000’s and onwards: the rise of Complications
In 2000, J Farren-Price went on to sell a Reference 5004P, Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Split-Second Chronograph men's watch, showing Australia's increasing penchant for a new calibre of sophisticated complicated timepieces.
In 2002, we sold a Reference 5101P Patek Philippe Tourbillon 10 Day Power Reserve, which belongs to Patek’s family of Grand Complications, and discretely yet resolutely defines their take on Haute Horlogerie, a manual winding Tourbillon.
5002G Sky Moon Tourbillon
In 2010, a eponymous 5002G Sky Moon Tourbillon was sold. This was a Reference 5720/1G Limited Edition Rare Handcraft diamond and enamel Dragon Watch. One of a kind Rare Handcraft enamel dome clock titles “Koala’s”. The Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon is one of the most famous models in the contemporary Patek Philippe catalogue. This $1+ million watch is rare, exotic and beautiful. Available by application only from dedicated Patek Philippe collectors, it must be approved by Patek Philippe before being a custodian of such an masterpiece. J Farren Price has sold a number of these intriguing timepieces including the Sky Moon Tourbillon ref 5002G and 6002G.
6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon
The famous Reference 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon (12 complications) celebrated a comeback with an extraordinary white-gold case entirely hand-engraved with elegant volutes. The black dial features cloisonné and champlevé enamel motifs. Here we find the quintessence of rare handcraft skills, paired with a masterpiece that reflects the utmost in watchmaking artistry. The Sky Moon Tourbillon features a minute repeater chime with two 'cathedral' gongs activated by a slide piece in the case. A double faced wristwatch, the front side features a perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand, hours and minutes of mean solar time, day, month, leap year in apertures and moon phases. The reverse side features sidereal time, sky chart, phases and orbit of the moon. The case, crowns, slide piece, hands and lugs are entirely hand-engraved. The dial is black enamel in champlevé and cloisonné with gold applied Roman numerals. An alligator strap with square scales is hand-stitched and shiny in black. The white gold case is humidity and dust protected (not water resistant) with a case diameter of 44 mm and height of 17.35 mm.
Grand Master Chime 6300G - Patek Philippe's most complicated watch ever sold
In 2018, J Farren-Price sold the Grand Master Chime 6300G, Patek Philippe's most complicated watch ever sold at the time for $2.5M.
The Grand Master Chime, reference 6300, is an incredibly rare wristwatch and the first grande-sonnerie in the collection. Featuring a reversible case in 18ct white gold decorated with the Patek's hobnail pattern, this masterpiece showcases an incredible 20 complications, including five chiming modes, two of which are patented acoustic world debuts. This wristwatch was several years in the making, requiring over 100,000 hours to complete much of it by hand alone.
The Grandmaster Chime is a manual winding, double-faced reversible wristwatch. Featuring an incredible 20 complications including Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, strikework mode display (Silence/ Grande Sonnerie/Petite Sonnerie), alarm with time strike, date repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar, movement power-reserve indicator, strike-work power-reserve indicator, moon phases, strike-work isolator indicator, second time zone, second time zone day/night indicator, display of day and month, date display on both dials, leap year cycle, four-digit year display, 24-hour and minute subdial, crown position indicator (winding, alarm setting, timesetting) and reversible case with hand-guillouched hobnail-patterned decoration. On the time side, ebony black opaline dial, gold applied Breguet numerals, hand-guilloched hobnail-patterned centre. On the calendar side, silvery opaline dial. 18K solid gold dial plates. Alligator strap with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black. The reversible case with hand-guilloched hobnail-patterned decoration protects against moisture and dust ingress, although is not water resistant. The case is white gold with a case diameter of 47.7 mm and height 16.07 mm.
Patek Philippe and it's stronger than ever following in Australia
J Farren-Price has been a trusted authorised dealer of Patek Philippe timepieces for over 40 years now at our 80 Castlereagh Street boutique, Sydney. In December 2019 opening up a whole new first floor with a specially designed and dedicated Patek Philippe lounge, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
After all, as the now infamous saying goes, 'You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation'. Our Patek Philippe first floor lounge is a place where we can entertain and privately discuss with clients, their next Patek purchase.
When pushed to pick a favourite, Managing Director Julian Farren-Price says it is hard to choose as he has many, but if he had to live with just one - currently his choice would be the newly released 6119R (below) manually winding Calatrava with crystal back and iconic guilloche pattern known as hobnailed or Clous de Paris.
The rose gold exudes a beautiful warmth, the size is perfect and it enjoys a slightly vintage feeling which he finds most appealing.