It’s the Patek Philippe 5175R Grandmaster Chime Watch and it’s clearly a work of art. It’s undeniably beautiful so what purpose can it possibly serve if most people cannot afford it? Does it help society as a whole?
No. It’s purpose is not to help everyone. Nothing has that purpose. The watch cannot help someone who doesn’t have it because they can’t buy it. It only helps the buyer or anyone he shows it to who can appreciate it’s beauty.
Is beauty supposed to be appreciated by society as a whole? Of course not. Beauty exists as an end in itself. The beauty of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, or Kate Upton is not supposed to help society. Their beauty is an end in itself.
Not everyone can admire beauty nor can everyone appreciate the beauty of a watch. The Patek Philippe 5175R would be wasted on them. Nor can everyone admire the craftsmanship that goes into a masterpiece of this sort. Most people have no idea about craftsmanship. the politically correct would say craft work.
Some people are dedicated to the idea of producing the best. They should consider the perfection of the 5175R. The detail and the attention given to that detail is astonishing compared very expensive watches that are clearly among the greatest watches ever made. The love of making something beautiful for beauty’s sake is not for everyone but for those who want to create something so far beyond just perfect can be seen in the workmanship of those who assembled this amazing watch.
In our politically-correct world, such admiration counts for little. It is much more fashionable to write off this $2.6 million watch as a superfluous luxury using money that might be better spent helping the poor or some other purpose. The politically correct would say the watch has no social value. But no watch is supposed to be valuable to society. A watch is only valuable to it’s owner. The same goes for the owner who paid $2.6 million.
The Patek Philippe 5175R watch offers something of inestimable value, a very high standard of excellence. That standard becomes useful to others who quickly see that it’s possible so they try to duplicate it. The high craftsmanship of this watch is the newest model for all watchmakers. Thus, all watchmakers are inspired to foster in their own way a dedication to perfection and attention to detail. Looking at this watch’s beauty, they all sense the full beauty that can be used in their own work. Watchmakers find inspiration for their own beautiful watches proportional to the budget of those at all levels of society that prefer to buy their handiwork. Their watches become not just practical instruments, but works of art or even family heirlooms that could be passed down for generations. The spirit of craftsmanship of this fine watch permeates throughout the craft and eventually society receives a free gift because some few people had a personal desire to create the best.
But the watch not only provides a standard of excellence, it also provides a launching pad to dream of even greater things. It is only natural that when someone finishes making something beautiful, it prompts the person to think of creating even greater beauty. Every new creation triggers the same question: “How might I do this better and more beautifully?”
The role of the $2.6 million watch is not only to be a plaything of the rich. It also works to push things toward higher perfection. And when something becomes more perfect, it elevates the whole class of things. The quest for a perfect watch pushes all watchmaking upward toward perfection.
Finally, beautiful things tend to appear in public places since they are made to be displayed. They tend to create a world of beautiful things showing people how some people live their lives in extraordinary ways.
The tragedy of today’s cheap culture of instant gratification is that it deadens people’s sensitivity to the beauty of crafted things in general. It is not that we no longer can afford craftsmanship; everyone buys terribly expensive gadgets and gizmos. Rather, craftsmanship is no longer so universally valued.
That is why a society that fails to admire the beauty of watches like the Patek Philippe 5175R does so to its detriment. When people admire great things, they acquire something of the stature of that which they admire. But when people become immersed in the cheap, superficial and sensational, they create a culture that places value on the cheap, superficial and the sensational over the perfect and the common over the extraordinary. All culture deteriorates and people lose their capacity to dream of a more beautiful and better world.
The watch belongs to a fortunate individual who has decided to invest in a work of art. If Patek Philippe decides to make perhaps 100 of the 5175R the price will drop and more people will be able to afford such luxurious beauty on their wrist.