Zach Lu’s view on watchmaking

Published: Fri 9 Dec 2022, 4:04 PM

New York watch collector Zach Lu (@zachattack__25) began to be noticed in the horology scape when he was only 15. In the 17 years since, he refined his already discerning eye, and doggedly pursued the world's most exquisite watches. Lu's resultant status as an excellent timepiece connoisseur is entirely unsurprising.

In 2005, the story of an eager young collector had begun to make waves in the Geneva watch circle. He’d purchased a very fine VC and horology stalwarts were curious about the new owner. Philippe Stern, CEO at Patek Philippe consequently asked the Geneva boutique to personally welcome the new collector and invite him to lunch. Before he could wrap his head around what was happening, Lu was sitting down to dine and talk shop with Stern. Those first meetings with Philippe converted Lu to a Patek devotee; “I’ve been buying from them for seventeen years, and I’m sure I’ll keep buying from them for very long,” he said. And indeed, some of Lu’s most enviable pieces are Patek classics. He nabbed Patek’s second perpetual calendar chronograph, the unique yellow-gold 2499 first series. He also has the second most complicated Patek, the Grand Complication Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002R with its warm ornate rose-gold setting, and the most complicated Patek ever dubbed the Grandmaster Chime with Ref. 6300. And recently, in a fortuitous turn of fate, Patek offered Lu the auction example of the coveted Tiffany Nautilus, co-signed by both Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. after the original auction buyer was unable to complete the transaction.

The name Patek Philippe is frequently bandied about as, in Lu’s words, one of the “most iconic watchmakers in history”, and according to Lu, this reputation is well-earned. The brand has a 177-year-old tradition of manufacturing haute pieces with excellence permeating through every aspect of watchmaking. Patek uses both standard complications with annual calendars or second time zones, and sophisticated expert complications with minute repeaters, tourbillons, and split second-chronographs. Despite their storied heritage, Patek has consciously evolved its technology and unparalleled decoration quality to match the millennial era. Lu who characterises his watches by their sporty or classy demeanour, loves the way Patek infuses every timepiece with abundant class.

When Lu wants to circle his wrist with something sporty, he typically turns to Richard Mille.

“The design components in Richard Mille models make them perfect for daily wear,” he said. “I love their futuristic style. The innovation in their material design is absolutely amazing.” Lu especially treasures his RM 52-05 Pharrell Williams Sapphire, with its transparent case, sapphire crystal and astonishing decor–its dial boasts a vivid view of the Earth from Mars–and his Rafael Nadal RM 27-04 which was limited to 50 pieces worldwide. Lu added: “I’m going to have a strong interest in Richard Mille for so long.”

Lu, who hasn’t ventured beyond Patek and Richard Mille–despite his 'great respect for the other watchmakers' is confident about the future of timepieces especially in Patek and RM. “I’m closely acquainted with both brands in a way that’s up-close and personal,” he said. “And they’re going to keep doing fantastic work. Lu did however, proclaim his belief that the wide world of horology in general would continue to reach new horizons. “It’s not going to go away,” he said. He believes in, with other timepiece aficionados, the art of hand-making, and the countless hours it takes to ensure quality craftsmanship. These watches are long-lasting and reliable and so are the manufacturers who commit to the art of time.

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