Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Patek Philippe Factory Tour With LK Boutique

Late September saw me jetting to Geneva, Switzerland for a tour of the Patek Philippe factory. I was  invited by LK Boutique and Patek Philippe to visit the Patek Philippe factories and see behind the scenes of watch making. Unfortunately I was not able to take photos while in the factory but let me say it was a truly amazing experience.

I flew to Geneva on Emirates with a stopover in Dubai. Previous trips to Europe have  been after a week in New York so it was a rarity for me to fly westward from Sydney. The flight is of course LOOOONNGGGGG, nearly 14 hours to Dubai with 2 ½ hour layover then a further 7 hours to Geneva. Of course First class lounges help.
The first meal of the trip was dinner in the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney. A glass of rose Champagne got the trip of to a nice start. I ordered minute steak with chips and salsa verde.
For dessert I ordered the cheese selection and a fig, toasted hazelnut and honey tart with rosemary infused cream, housemade ricotta whey sorbet. Great cheeses and the tart was delicious and light.
Flying First Class is a rare experience and when you can upgrade you really enjoy the treat.

I arrived in Dubai early in the morning and after going through all the barriers, I stumbled along to Emirates First Class lounge. I had been here earlier in the year so it was nice to return for the break between flights.The lounge is quite impressive in terms of the size and fit out, water features, plenty of lounging areas, dining room, spa, business desks. The service was impeccable and the lounge very relaxing.
Freshly squeezed juice and bakers basket.
The only thing missing from breakfast was some bacon but it is a small thing. The sausages that were served (veal or chicken) with the scrambled eggs were sensational.

Scrambled eggs, veal sausages, roesti and baked beans.
After nearly 2 hours on the ground it was time to head back to the plane for the second leg of the trip which flew across Iran, then Turkey and the Balkans before crossing the northern parts of Italy, over the majestic Alps and then in to Geneva airport.
After landing I headed to my hotel for the week, The Beau Rivage Geneva. Located across the road from Lake Geneva, it offers an old world touch of luxury that was very welcome.
My room was one of several that had a balcony facing the lake and the Jet d’Eau, with views to the city centre, the Alps and Mont Blanc in the distance.
After settling in I had a little time to myself and decided to take advantage of the sunshine to explore a little. Our group was given public transport vouchers for the duration of the stay. I decided to use mine to take one of the Mouettes Genevoise across the lake. The Mouettes Genevoise are wooden boats that have a long history on Lake Geneva. There are three routes to choose from and I took the one that goes directly across the lake and offers good views of the Jet d’Eau fountain. 
From the drop off wharf I walked back to the city centre, a walk of around 10 minutes. Naturally, I had to find some watch boutiques. I was also successful in finding M.A.D. Gallery, where I was to catch up with Max Busser later in the week.
Walking through the old town I also found the carousel/merry go round located in the street leading up to the cathedral.
A bit more walking found me at the Quai de l’Ile, historic headquarters of Vacheron Constantin. This building (in the centre of photo below) is now home to a Vacheron Constantin boutique as well as home to their heritage department.
At this point, Lake Geneva starts to narrow again and become the mighty Rhone River. I had never realized that the Rhone River starts its 812 kilometer journey down  to the Mediterranean Ocean from the Lepontine Alps in the canton of Valais. You can see the water starting to flow quite quickly in the photos above and below.
Of course it was impossible to miss the famous flower clock.
Peak hour traffic was a nightmare! I thought Sydney was bad, but the traffic in Geneva shocked me a bit. Although I was later told that the road in front of the Hotel is the main one people use to go around the bottom of Lake Geneva and there is only the one vehicular bridge at that point.
Back at the hotel there was enough time for a quick freshen up before meeting the other members of the group at a welcome cocktail party. Only a few shots of the food but as it was dinner there was plenty of food and all delicious.
Tiredness was starting to catch up with me so I headed back to my room where I had this stunning view out the window.