Since the company's founding in 1839 Patek Philippe has always stood for quality, craftsmanship, precision and style. It is to no surprise that this great firm's history is interwoven with the lives of Kings and Queens, Statesman, businessman, scientists, and famous artists. Patek Philippe's clients have included Queen Victoria, King Umberto II, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Richard Wagner, Duke Ellington, Henry Graves Jr. and James Ward Packard.
According to research the present lot, previously unknown and unrecorded anywhere in literature, is one of 17 watches made specifically for James Ward Packard incorporating his own particular specifications. It is also important to note that minute repeaters with power reserve are extremely rare and the present example with Murat-style case decoration is the only known example.
James Ward Packard's Patek Philippe collection was comprised of very different watches all unique in their complications and decoration. Masterpieces such as the large minute repeating watch with musical alarm, sold to Packard in 1927 for 8,300 Swiss Francs, and the Grand Complication, sold to Packard in April of the same year for 12,815 Francs, are just two highlights from one of the world's most renowned watch enthusiasts.
The known watches made specifically for Packard and the only watches of their kind are as follows:
No. 125009: Clockwatch with perpetual calendar, chronograph with 60-minute register made in 1905. This is the first known watch to have been sold to Mr. Packard and is illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 242-243.
No. 138227: Minute repeating pocketwatch converted into a wristwatch in 1931, offered at public auction in 2008.
No. 157392: Pocketwatch with chronograph made in 1912.
No 174129: The most complicated watch of its time with perpetual calendar, moon phases, split-seconds, jumping seconds, grande and petite sonnerie clockwatch, minute repeating, up-and-down chronograph and double power reserve made in 1916. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 248-249.
No. 174623: Two train pocketwatch with eight-day power reserve, equation of time, time of sunset-sunrise perpetual calendar clockwatch made in 1917. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 206-207.
No. 187679: Cushion-form wristwatch with enamel dial made in 1918.
No. 174720: Minute repeating pocket chronometer with tourbillon made in 1919. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 180-181.
No. 174876: Clockwatch with carillon and power reserve made in 1920. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 240-241.
No. 174907: Minute repeating pocketwatch with up-and-down indicator made in 1920 (The present watch).
No. 190757: Dual time pocket watch made in 1920. Sold Christie's New York, June 2004.
No. 197707: Eight-day perpetual calendar desk timepiece with power reserve made in 1923. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 72-73.
No. 197791: Clockwatch with carillon made in 1924. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 240-241.
No. 174749: Clockwatch with perpetual calendar, Westminster carillon and double power reserve made in 1925. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 242-243.
No. 197505: Clockwatch with perpetual calendar and double power reserve made in 1925.
No. 198014: Musical alarm pocketwatch made in 1927. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 252-253.
No. 198023: Double-dialled minute repeating carillon pocketwatch with equation of time and sky chart made in 1927. Illustrated in Patek Philippe by M. Huber and A. Banbury, 1998, pp. 224-225.
The present watch, a gold open face watch with minute repeater, up-and-down indicator, Murat-style case, original presentation box, original certificate, spare crystal (still wrapped in the original paper with the case number in pencil hand inscribed on the outside) and two spare main springs was delivered to James Ward Packard on April 22nd of 1920. The watch is in impeccable condition and has seldom been used at all during its life. With its freshness to the market combined with the fact it has so far been unrecorded in any literature and virtually unknown to the market, this watch presents a unique opportunity for one to acquire one of the most historically significant watches to come to market in recent years.
We are indebted to Eric Tortella for his invaluable assistance with researching this watch.