Patek Philippe… The most conservative, traditional and however desirable manufacture is celebrating its 175th anniversary October 13th, 2014. Meaning that a very special collection will be introduced. Alongside this event, we have to remind Patek’s enormous history, with so many great watches manufactured. As a tribute, Christie’s will be holding one of the best auctions ever seen, with some of the most beautiful, rare, exclusive and interesting Pateks for sale. So, sell the house, sell one of your kidneys or sell the kids and invest!
Editor’s note: Don’t forget that next Monday (October 13th, 2014) is Patek’s 175th anniversary. We’ll be in Geneva, at the Manufacture, for a live report of the novelties presented. Stay tuned on Monochrome-Watches!
We won’t tell you which one is the rarest or the most exclusive here, as all of them are almost unique and in stunning conditions. We’re talking about a really serious selection made by Christie’s Watch Department. For Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary, the famous auction house will be holding a special sale in Geneva (November 9th, 2014) composed of only 100 lots, all deserving some attention and all being some vintage timepieces. Some of them, if not most of them, have something special: a famous owner, a unique dial, a unusual case’s material, a special marking on the dal, some never seen before in public… Here are the 6 most impressive watches of this coming auction (full catalog here).
A first series Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 perpetual calendar Chronograph in pink gold
This is certainly the best example of what a vintage Patek Philippe should be: a 1951 pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases. The Patek Ref. 2499 is a legend and is considered by some as THE most desirable vintage Patek Philippe (produced between 1951 and 1985). In the long history of the perpetual calendar chronographs, this reference is the second of the lineage, after the Ref. 1518. It is also the same reference that Eric Clapton owned (and sold for $3.6 Millions, as it was the only one in platinum in a private collection – the other one is owned by Patek) and the ancestor of the actual ref. 5270 we reviewed recently. This one is even more exceptional because it is a first series – less than four dozen produced on a total of 349. Only 4 of this first series had been manufactured in pink gold. Among these 4 examples, this is the only one with english markings. The estimate is of course high, very high, considering it is a unique example of a legendary watch: CHF 1,600,000 – CHF 2,600,000 (listed here).
A blue enamel double-crown Word-Timer Patek Philippe Ref. 2523
This 1953 symmetrical double-crown yellow gold and blue enamel dial World-Timer ref. 2523 is something that you won’t find easily. To be precise, only two other examples of this Patek Philippe ‘Heures Universelles‘ with a royal blue enamel dial are known. The Ref. 2523 is certainly among the rarest Pateks (if not the rarest), as only a very few of them had been manufactured by Louis Cottier, the watchmaker responsible for modifying Patek’s movements into world-timers. For this reason, and because of its stunning design (that lugs!) and condition, this watch is estimated at CHF 1,500,000 – CHF 2,500,000 (listed here).
A Patek Philippe Ref. 2497 perpetual calendar in white gold, from the descendants of the original owner
This Patek Philippe Ref. 2497 has several rare features. First of all, it comes on sale directly from the descendants of the original owner. Then, most of the Ref. 2497 were made in yellow gold and, sometimes, in pink gold (for only a few dozens of them). However, platinum and white gold editions are another story. Only 2 platinum models are know. And that was also true, until today, for the white gold edition. Here is the third one. With this watch, Patek Philippe followed the success of the 2499 with a cleaner edition, which traded off the chronograph for a sweep second. However, the day, month and moon-phase apertures, as well as the specific lugs are similar to the 2499. This watch also comes with its original 18k white gold Gay-Freres bracelet. Considering its rarity and history, it’s estimated at CHF 1,000,000 – CHF 2,000,000 (listed here).
A UNIQUE ‘Tre-Scalini’ or ‘three-step’ Patek Philippe Ref. 3449 Perpetual Calendar
You might look at this watch as one the most classical Patek Philippe ever made. In a sense, it is. But don’t forget that we are in front of a unique piece. This 18K gold manually-wound perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases and straight elongated lugs is nicknamed ‘Tre-Scalini’ by the collectors because of its triple-stepped bezel. Only three of the ref. 3449 were ever produced in 1961 (all sold in 1965) but all are slightly different, rending them unique. The first is fitted with a triple-stepped bezel and angular lugs. The second comes with a double-stepped bezel and angular lugs. The one presented here, the third and last of the collection, has a triple-stepped bezel and elongated straight lugs, at least 1 mm. longer than those of its predecessors. It comes from the George Poston’s collection and is estimated at CHF 1,000,000 – CHF 2,000,000 (listed here).
A possibly unique Patek Philippe Split-Second Chronograph Ref. 1563 with two-tone pulsation dial
For Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary, not only Christie’s reunited famous watches but also famous owners. This Split-Second Chronograph Ref. 1563 comes from Jean-Claude Biver’s collection. The President of LVMH Group Watches Division not only has a strong personality and a successful career but he’s also a serious Patek collector, as this beauty can attest. Only 3 examples of this reference are know. The first is exposed at the Patek Philippe Museum and was the property of the Jazz legend Duke Ellington. The second had been sold in 2013 for CHF 1,500,000. The third is listed here and will be sold during this auction. So the 1563 is already an extremely rare watch, but this one may be unique because of its dial, that differs from its peers. It shows a specific two-tone finish and a pulsometer scale instead of the usual tachometer scale (attested by the Extract from the Archives). It is estimated at CHF 800,000 – CHF 1,600,000.
A Mono-pusher Split-Second Chronograph Patek-Philippe Ref. 130 owned by William E. Boeing, signed Cartier
This one is important both because of its condition (it’s a 1930 watch!), because of its pedigree and because of its rarity into the Patek Philippe collection. Considering all these elements, it is a one-of-a-kind watch, extremely important on an historical side, both for aviation lovers and for Patek Philippe collectors. It is a Ref. 130 mono-pusher split-second chronograph (and that is already quite of complicated watch), a rare bird as only 10 are known to have survived. Most of the other ref. 130 are coming with two pushers. This specific example is one of the four that are coming with a round case and the only one signed with Cartier on the dial and the only one with applied gold Breguet Numerals and without tachometer scale. This was a special order of William E. Boeing (yes, the aircraft constructor) to Cartier New York. Last unique feature of this watch: the 3 red stripes on the minute hand, added in New York by Cartier at the same time as the Cartier signature. The case of the watch is engraved, ‘W.E. BOEING, SEATTLE, WASH.’. It is estimated at CHF 400,000 – CHF 800,000 (listed here).