What Patrick Getreide‘s friends of 50 years must have made of his grand revelation last year that he was, in fact, a mad keen Patek Philippe and Rolex replica watches wholesale collector, we’ll almost certainly never know.
Getreide’s, after all, were not just any best US fake watches. In his bulging personal treasure trove of horological wonders, as well as pristine GMT Masters and Nautiluses are pieces by Cartier, F. P. Journe and many other big-hitting dial names, together with some historically hugely significant one-offs made for the likes of Henry Graves Jr, one of the 20th century’s wealthiest men.
There were loads of them, too. In total, the tight-lipped French businessman had amassed more than 600 luxury replica watches – some new, some 100 years old – making his arguably the most exceptional collection ever assembled. Experts reckon there might only be four or five to compete with it anywhere in the world and it’s been independently estimated to have a value of 300 million euros.
Part of the reason Getreide came clean was that he had decided to put his collection on the public stage, and to give anyone with an interest the opportunity to see it. This week, and for one week only, the Oak Collection (‘Oak’ standing for ‘one of a kind’) goes on display at London’s Design Museum. The city has never, and may never see anything like it again.
What’s in the Oak watch collection?
Getreide and his team of experts have whittled the 600-odd pieces down to a mere 168, but even then, it is an astonishing haul. There are 17 windows alone devoted to high quality Patek Philippe copy watches, featuring rare and often piece-unique examples of the Geneva watchmaker’s endlessly influential Calatrava, oft-copied world timers and to-die-for chronographs. Each, as per Getreide’s collecting mantra, is in exquisite, as-new condition, even if they’re decades old.
Rolex gets windows, too. My eye caught one filled with Swiss made replica Rolex GMT-Master watches with blue and red bezels enthusiasts know as ‘Pepsi’, which included one of 50 ‘Chuck Yeager’ models produced in 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of the maverick airman’s first supersonic flight. I’d heard tell of this watch, but never seen one in the flesh. Behind it, another vitrine bursting with achingly collectible diver’s 1:1 super clone watches caught my breath. Among them was a so-called ‘Double Red’, a Sea-Dweller with two lines of red writing stacked on the dial.
How much are these watches worth?
No doubt Getreide’s insurers have a good idea, but he insists he’s only ever sold one watch and isn’t in the business of bandying about numbers. He will say he wears all of them though, sometimes two at a time, and that the point of the exhibition is only to give back some of the pleasure top fake watches have given him.
Which for anyone who likes a watch, it will. The Oak Collection is a landmark for ‘watchheads’ and an eye-opener for the uninitiated, a singular moment in time that almost certainly won’t be repeated.
It’s also given Getreide a chance to reflect on how a man comes to possess such a collection. With a Gallic shrug, he says simply: “Because I love perfect replica watches.”
Now his friends know. And so do we.