Watch enthusiast Michael Safdie shares his private collection of rare Patek Philippe timepieces with the public.
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Watch collectors and admirers, there’s a new must-see attraction in town. Madison Fine Time, at Madison and 61st Street on the Upper East Side, recently opened its doors under the direction of owner Michael Safdie, who has spent more than three decades amassing one of the finest collections of rare and vintage Patek Philippe timepieces in the world.
A native New Yorker, Safdie got his start in his family’s art-dealing business, which led him to Europe, where he fell in love with Patek. As a young man in the late 1970s, he bought his first Patek Philippe wristwatch, a Golden Ellipse, and from that moment, he was hooked. Safdie invested in other luxury watch brands in the years that followed, but about a decade ago he decided to focus his collecting efforts only on Patek.
“I’d rather buy an important Patek Philippe than anything else in the world,” Safdie tells Robb Report Collection. “Gold. Stocks. Anything. It gives me constant appreciation.” Safdie now owns more than 50 rare specimens from the company, including such rarities as the Reference 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph and the Reference 3450 perpetual calendar, of which only 250 were made.
Aside from their significance as objects of beauty and as extraordinary investments (Safdie says Patek watches are the only timepieces to continually appreciate in value), the collector also cherishes his pieces for their precise timekeeping capabilities. In fact, there’s not a single wristwatch in Safdie’s collection that the 52-year-old won’t wear. “You might wear it once a year, but you still wear it,” he says. “That’s the beauty of watches.”
Madison Fine Time is open by appointment only. It’s as impressive as a private museum as it is a place to make an acquisition.