• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1376

    Important Watches

    15 November 2010, Geneva

  • Lot 114

    Patek Philippe. An exceptionally rare and highly important 18K pink gold two crown world time wristwatch with 24 hour indication and blue enamel dial

    SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENÈVE, RETAILED BY GOBBI, MILAN, REF. 2523, MOVEMENT NO. 722'715, CASE NO. 306'216, MANUFACTURED IN 1953

    Price Realised  

    Patek Philippe. An exceptionally rare and highly important 18K pink gold two crown world time wristwatch with 24 hour indication and blue enamel dial
    Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, retailed by Gobbi, Milan, ref. 2523, movement no. 722'715, case no. 306'216, manufactured in 1953
    Cal. 12'''400 HU nickel-finished lever movement stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 18 jewels, micrometer regulator, gold baton and Roman numerals on engine-turned gold chapter ring, translucent royal blue enamel centre, stylized gold hands, inner revolving ring calibrated for Arabic 24 hours divided into diurnal and nocturnal hours, outer silvered revolving ring with names of 40 cities from around the world and adjusted by crown at 9, large circular case, facetted lugs, snap on back, 18K pink gold Patek Philippe buckle, case and movement signed by maker, dial signed by maker and retailer
    35.5 mm. diam.


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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1953 and its subsequent sale on 10 April 1957. The Extract further confirms the blue enamel centre of the dial.

    In a world in which it is more and more difficult to impress the spoilt collector, a Patek Philippe world time wristwatch with two crowns can only be greeted with sparkish enthusiasm. If such event is enhanced by the pink gold case version, beautifully contrasted by the original royal blue enamel dial featuring the highly exclusive retailer signature Gobbi, Milano, it is prone to create a standing ovation amongst connoisseurs of supreme timepieces.

    The present reference 2523 combines all ingredients crucial to deserve the label "a collector's dream come true", reserved for the exceptionally small elite of the world's finest timepieces: a state-of-the-art movement of highest mechanical complexity, a design of extraordinary esthetical appeal, an excellent original condition and the signature of a celebrated house - in this particular instance even the signatures of two celebrated houses.

    Made by Patek Philippe in 1953 and sold in April 1957 to their distinguished retailer Gobbi in Milan, it is part of an exceedingly small series of dual crown world time wristwatches. According to research, only fourteen examples of the "large version" reference 2523 are known to have appeared at public auction.

    In fact, a detailed count reveals that eleven examples of these survivors are in yellow gold, two examples in the rare and charismatic pink gold version, and one only in white gold, now prominently exhibited at Patek Philippe's Geneva based museum.

    The watches were fitted with a variety of different types of dial centres, including engine-turned gold (two examples) and the celebrated cloisonné enamelled discs depicting maps. Amongst these are known two examples featuring the map of Europe, five the North American continent and one the map of South America. Considered milestones in Patek Philippe's proud history to such an extent that in 2009, the firm launched a contemporary version, either in yellow gold or white gold, with enamelled maps centring the dial (references 5131J and 5131G).

    The least known of all versions however are examples fitted with a polychrome translucent blue enamel disc. In thirty years of public auctions, only three examples in yellow gold and one example in pink gold have appeared on the market.

    The present watch is consequently understood to be the only third example of reference 2523 in pink gold to be offered at public auction, and the only second one in rose gold with blue enamel dial known to have survived. Interestingly, these two watches have consecutive movement and case numbers but are clearly distinguishable from outside since the watch offered here for sale stands out by its retailer signature Gobbi Milano, prominently positioned on the lower half of the blue enamel disc. This feature is exclusive to this very watch since none of all the other fourteen references 2523 are highlighted by a retailer's signature.

    Another significant aspect of the present watch's arrival to the market is its absolute freshness to the public. In fact, until to date, no indications of the watch's survival nor its characteristics were known outside Patek Philippe's own archives. Its appearance must be appreciated as the ultimately rare event since, according to research, the vast majority of Patek Philippe's entire reference 2523 production has already returned to the market and consequently been enthusiastically absorbed by the world's most prominent and passionate collectors and museums - including three at Geneva's distinguished Patek Philippe Museum. In actual fact, during the last ten years, only three examples of reference 2523 with enamel dial have been offered at public auction, underlining their extreme rarity and desirability.

    To further enhance its exclusivity and desirability, the present reference 2523 is preserved in lovely, all original condition, without any signs of restoration. The case, defined by the solid lugs highlighted by the angular facets, particularly sensitive to careless polishing, demonstrates impressively that it has never been treated disrespectfully. Accordingly, the gold marks to the sides are as crisp as to be expected. The mesmerizing dial does not show any signs of cosmetical enhancement. The royal blue colour of the enamel beautifully harmonizes with the pink gold case material, further enhancing the incredible look of this matchless timepiece.

    Seasoned collectors, familiar with the international auction arena for the last thirty years, are well aware how rare the unexpected arrival of such a trophy watch on public stage has become. Considering the number of references 2523 known in private collections and museums and the extremely remote chance that there is another such comparable example still undiscovered in the original owner family's possession, it may be another decade or never again that another opportunity of such magnitude arises.