Within the spring of 2018, after his favourite watch seller helped him safe a Patek Philippe 5960/1A—a roughly $45,000 chrome steel watch with a black dial, annual calendar and chronograph—funding banker Shahriar Attaie despatched her a bobblehead. It was a gag present, far mellower than the magnum bottles of Veuve Clicquot usually traded within the aftermath of a high-priced transaction, however its topic made it stand out: bobbling atop a black go well with was the top of that watch seller herself, Kelly Yoch. Attaie purchased half a dozen—it was cheaper to order 5 or 6, he says, than it was to get simply three.
In Attaie’s rarified world, the bobbleheads grew to become one thing of a sensation. Collectors inside Yoch’s huge circle handed them round after they went on journeys, photographing the bobblehead in far-flung locales. Somebody made an Instagram account for the bobblehead. One was stolen. Yoch posted a photograph of hers to Instagram and John Mayer jumped into the remark part asking for one. And it’s not even Yoch’s solely lusted-after accent: on eBay bidders drove up the worth of a toothpick she allegedly used. (“We have been all bidding on it as a joke,” Attaie says. “We knew who was promoting it.” Nonetheless: what number of of your used toothpicks have attracted bidders, jokesters or not, on eBay?)
So why all of the fanfare? As a result of, as protectors of treasure go, Yoch is someplace up there with the hundred-headed dragon that protected the golden apple tree Zeus gave his spouse Hera. In the event you occur to be a sufficiently superior watch collector, there isn’t a larger treasure than a Patek Philippe kissed with an official stamp from legendary jeweler Tiffany & Co. Solely two or three of probably the most fascinating fashions are made every year. For shoppers, getting their arms on one can really feel like an odyssey worthy of fantasy, which frequently requires the approval of Patek and Tiffany’s personal hundred-headed dragon: Kelly Yoch, the senior Patek Philippe marketing consultant for North America at Tiffany & Co. “She is an important particular person within the watch world,” opines Jonathan Schwartz, a film and movie producer and considered one of Yoch’s shoppers.
Yoch doesn’t single-handedly resolve who receives Tiffany-stamped Pateks, and even allocate all of them, however she is probably the most seen guardian of one of many watch world’s most unusual partnerships. The connection between Tiffany & Co. and Patek started in 1851, when the model’s respective founders met and found a mutual appreciation for one another’s wares. Greater than a century and a half later, Tiffany is Patek’s oldest U.S. companion, and the one firm that frequently co-brands the watchmaker’s dials. In 2008, the jeweler’s large Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan grew to become dwelling to the primary Patek “salon”—a retailer inside a retailer—within the U.S., and Yoch was one of many first folks put in that retailer. She is the ultimate reply to a form of math downside: Patek Phillippe’s watches are already scarce, and the addition of the Tiffany brand solely serves to intensify a bit’s rarity. There’s a purpose salesperson is just not in her title, regardless that that’s in essence her function. Greater than that, what Yoch does is play matchmaker, pairing every watch with probably the most deserving buyer. Due to Yoch’s place, a vibrant neighborhood of collectors have shaped round her. “Kelly Yoch is the excessive priestess of horology for the Patek Philippe collectors who hearken to her each phrase,” says John Reardon, a Patek Philippe professional and proprietor of the positioning Collectability, which buys and sells the model’s watches.
Yoch’s most devoted clients count on perks when shopping for from luxurious manufacturers, however what they get from Yoch is wildly completely different than they’re used to. Whereas many glitzy high-flying manufacturers concentrate on the massive—the events and occasions, the weekend getaways, the large Fifth Avenue retailers with opulent window shows—Yoch orchestrates one thing far more intimate, and infrequently salty-sweet. Schwartz speaks to Yoch ten instances a day—”In the event you search [our texts], the phrase ‘fool’ is there most likely 700 instances within the final 4 months,” he says—and can be in a gaggle chat with greater than 100 different of her shoppers the place they speak watches and share photos of their newest pickups.