Watch Collector Zach Lu (@zachattack__25 on Instagram) has built a long and storied history with Patek Philippe, one of the world’s most prestigious watch brands. Indeed, his Patek association is largely responsible for his still growing reputation and connections in the timepiece-territory.
Zach Lu first drifted into Patek Philippe’s orbit in 2005 when he was only 15. He’d taken his first tentative steps in what would become a life of bidding wars at the Geneva Antiquorum during the 250th Vacheron Constantin anniversary event. The intelligence with which he won his first world class purchase, and the doggedness with which he began to pursue a Patek relationship, caught the eye of the-then CEO Philippe Stern who extended a personal welcome to young Zach. Patek’s Geneva boutique took the teenager on an extensive tour of their premises and then sat him down to lunch with their stalwart CEO. Even now, seventeen years later, Zach recalls that first lunch fondly. “It changed my life and my view on horology,” he said. “It was definitely a formative occasion. I started to love Patek. I attend as many Patek Philippe auctions as I can. And I try to go to the annual Patek collectors dinner every year without fail.”
Zach Lu has evidently maintained his Patek devotion. He addresses the current CEO Thierry Stern by his first name and talks about how serendipitous his friendship with ‘Thierry’ has been. For instance, his long-time VIP client status scored him an invite to the watch world’s flagship event in 2014, the grand extravaganza VIP Dinner that celebrated Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary, where he met special collectors who hailed from a variety of countries across the globe. Zach was at hand during the start of the fiesta in Patek’s Genevan Manufacture, and he watched the outrageously spectacular fireworks display held in honor of the Fêtes de Genève, to commemorate Patek’s long-standing alliance with the city that had become its mecca. Zach rubbed shoulders with some 3600 other hand-picked journalists, horologists, sellers and buyers, merry-made and joined the large crowd in congratulating Patek for its tradition of elegant hand-crafting and the 100 odd patents the brand had won for innovative designs. He examined the limited-edition commemorative timepieces specially made for the event, and waited with bated breath as they were all purchased long before the grand event had reached its culmination. “It was a terrific event,” he recalls. “Completely unforgettable.”
More recently too, Zach Lu’s Patek relationship has been responsible for putting him on the map with other luxury houses and famed collectors. After the original auction winner had to bow out of the race for Patek’s famed blue-dial Tiffany Nautilus–with a rare co-signing by both Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co.–Patek offered the piece to Zach Lu, in recognition of his long buying history with their brand. Zach Lu bought the watch for $6.5 million all in, and acknowledges that the acquisition comes with a “unique certificate with Geneva” and what he hopes will be “a long and aventureros” relationship with high management at Tiffany & Co. And Zach Lu’s Tiffany aspiration is certainly more than a pipe-dream. He’s already been given several exclusive invitations by Tiffany including those that have taken him to premiere events at famous fashion houses such as Bukhari. In fact, he had the pleasure of meeting Oscar-winning Anne Hathaway and the K-pop sensation Lisa via one such Tiffany invite. Zach also met famed actor Mark Walhberg, after purchasing the same Patek platinum model–dubbed the Grand Complications Black Dial Minute Repeater 5374P.
And Zach Lu is vehement about his confidence both Patek’s continuing innovation and future in the watch world, and his the evolution of his own relationship with Patek. “My interest in Patek isn’t going to end,” he said. “And I know I’m going to continue to make special memories with Patek Philippe.”