Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Patek Philippe factory Tour Day 2

For history buffs the Beau Rivage Geneva had several famous guests in the 1800’s. Empress Sissi of Austria spent her final days here before being assassinated as she was boarding a boat to Montreux. Her body was returned to the hotel before being taken back to Austria.  In 1918 documents were signed in the Masaryk Salon creating Czechoslovakia. Other famous guests have included composer Richard Wagner, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, drummer/singer Phil Collins, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Jean Cocteau, King Farouk of Egypt and many more.  Since 1987 it has also been the Geneva location for Sotheby’s auctions, of which the most spectacular must be the auction of the Duchess of Windsor’s collection of jewels.
Waking up early I headed down for breakfast on the terrace. An elegant enclosed space overlooks the lake and provides a perfect backdrop for enjoying a relaxing breakfast.
Like the Beau Rivage in Neuchatel, the buffet isn’t large but offers a great selection of local produce. Freshly baked breads were delicious and there were several types each day.
After breakfast it was back up to the room to get ready for our first full day of the trip which required full suit and tie. Quite a formal day as we would be having lunch with Mr Thierry Stern.

A quick bus trip found our group at Plan Les Ouates, an industrial area on the southern side of Geneva. I know what you are thinking, luxury watches in an industrial area? Plan Les Ouates is no ordinary industrial area. Locals give it the nickname Plan Les Watches as it is home to many Swiss watch brands (Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Piaget, amongst others). It is also home to several Swiss beauty/cosmetic brands like Clarins

Upon arriving we had a quick coffee, met our guides and then headed in to the lecture room auditorium for a presentation about the Patek Philippe brand.  After the presentation we were broken in to two smaller groups to begin our tour of the factory. Sadly we were not able to take photos inside the factory areas, but it was fascinating to see how the parts are manufactured and machined.
After the tour it was time for lunch which was in the private dining salon. Mr. Philippe Stern was our host for lunch. What a lunch it was! Prepared by a chef poached from a Michelin star restaurant, we were informed that he also prepared the meus for the 2 staff cafeterias.

Lasagne style Zita pasta # 18, eggplant confit,poultry and Pata Negra ham.
Brittany lobster, cauliflower and curry foam.
Lemon cheese cake, thin vanilla crepes.
Coffee and chocolates ended our meal.
After our fabulous lunch it was back on the bus for the short journey back in to Geneva central for our tour of the Patek Philippe Watch Museum. WOW what a museum! The Patek Philippe Watch museum houses thousands of watches and pocket watches, and has examples of  clock and watch making from the 1500’s right up to the year 2000. Mr Henry Stern has built up a fabulous collection and continues to add to it. The museum is broken in to two sections, Antique watches 1500’s to 1800’s and the Patek Philippe collection 1839 to present. There is so much to see that I will definitely be going back for another visit, you could spend a whole day looking at these masterpieces of horlogerie.

After a wonderful short tour of this fascinating museum it was back to the Beau Rivage for a quick freshen up and then to dinner at L’Observatoire Restaurant. We knew it was close to our hotel but didn’t realise it was in the hotel next to ours, Hotel D’Angleterre. The hotel is very old school British in style, very elegant and sophisticated. They even have a classic wood lined cigar room, lots of wood polished silver and leather. A good selection of whiskeys were stocked too.

I love a unique butter presentation!
Crispy mille-feuille of crispy potatoes, vegetable puree flavoured with truffles and crispy chips.
Veal medallion Gamay jus, stuffed vegetables and mushroom filled potatoes.
Caramel pear, pink praline custard and orchid ice cream.
After our second three course meal of the day our group was very glad it wasn’t too far back to our hotel and another good night of sleep.