Watch Collector Zach Lu's Seventeen-Year-Long Journey with Patek Philippe

 Zach Lu

When fifteen-year-old Zach Lu first attended the 2005 Geneva Antiquorum, and so took his first steps in the timepiece territory he had no intention of living the life of a famed collector. He went to Geneva simply because he found watches and their mysterious mechanized beauty alluring, and he wanted to learn more. But Zach Lu (now also known as @zachattack__25) became the watch world's hot story with surprising rapidity; news of the teenager's discerning eye and dogged pursuit of well-designed pieces rippled across Geneva's haute boutiques, and after Zach's attempts to build contacts in Patek became public knowledge caused particularly large waves among Patek Philippe personnel. Before had time to digest his widespread new-found popularity Zach was courted by Patek Philippe, one of the world's most prestigious watch manufacturers.

He sat down to lunch with the the-then CEO Philippe Stern, talked watch talk, and decided that horology and Patek horologes in particular really were worth all the trouble and committed his life to watch-collecting and whatever experiences happened to come along with watch collecting and his new-found Patek devotion.

And Zach Lu's seventeen-year long collecting journey has been far more adventurous and memorable than he could have predicted, and his career-long intimacy with Patek has indeed furnished him with many of his best memories. In 2014, for example, Zach Lu was one of few unique horologe aficionados who was invited to Patek Philippe's 175th anniversary VIP dinner at Patek's Genevan Manufacture. The festivity was marked with a fiesta attended by 3600 special journalists, retailers, and experts, and Zach reverently recalls meeting the best-of-the-best, collectors with internationally coveted collections, horologists with unparalleled depths of watch-world knowledge and influence. "It was incredible," said Zach. "I felt so fortunate."

And in a recent career highlight, Zach Lu fortuitously scored the Patek auction example of the famed Tiffany Nautilus 5711 after originally losing the piece to an anonymous phone bidder. In fact, this auction was perhaps the most significant of his career; he chose to step from his typical comfort zone of anonymous phone bidding and honored the blue Nautilus by "putting himself out there" attending the auction in person. He was physically present when the Nautilus was under the hammer and marked the excitement of the occasion by posting a picture of himself calling out increasingly higher bids on his Instagram. Although he trudged home alone from the December auction without the Tiffany and Patek co-signed piece, his devoted history with Patek spoke for itself.

The current Patek CEO Thierry Stern offered Zach the watch for an approximate total of $6.2 million all in after the original buyer had to bail for undisclosed reasons and assured Zach that the initial winning bid of $6.5 million promised to the Nature Conservancy would still be donated to the charity. Zach recalls taking less than an hour to commit to the timepiece despite its high financial price; the piece was coveted by collectors world over for its distinctly vivid turquoise dial, and its status as the crowning glory of Patek's steel Nautilus line before the steel collection was retired for good; "it represents trifecta of luxury" Zach added. "Jewellry through Tiffany & Co, horology through Patek Philippe, and fashion through Tiffany's new LVMH association. There's no way I would have passed up on it." Zach bought the watch and unwrapped it live with Paul Burtros on an Instagram video in January 2022. And since this weighty occasion, Zach Lu's feed has often been dotted with photographs of his wrist adorned with the astonishing Tiffany-Blue dial. He calls his Tiffany Nautilus purchase "one of the most amazing moments" in his collecting journey.

And this famous acquisition has opened Zach's life to several other striking career highs. Zach Lu has developed what he hopes will be a "long-lasting and exciting" relationship with Tiffany & Co. High Management and has been invited to several exclusive events as Tiffany's guest. He recently met and conversed with both Anne Hathaway and the K-pop sensation Lisa at one such event. And his still-burgeoning relationship with Patek helped him nab the platinum Grand Complications Black Dial Minute Repeater 5374P, an occasion which also included the added perk of meeting and building a friendship with Oscar-nominated Mark Wahlberg, a famous collector, who owns the very same watch; Zach poses with Mark Wahlberg in an Instagram post as the two keep their wrists on display together.

"I often look back on my collecting journey," Zach Lu told us after narrating his slew of cherished Patek-related memories. "I've met so many famous people, and I've attended special events across the world. And I really couldn't ask for anything more.