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    Sale 1357

    Important Watches

    17 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 307

    Patek Philippe. A superb and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. A superb and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch
    Signed Patek Philippe, Geneve, ref. 1579, movement no. 863'277, case no. 635'152, manufactured in 1943
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 23 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, applied baton and Arabic 6 and 12 numerals, outer ring five minute divisions and tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes registers, large circular case, downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back, stainless steel Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    36 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with silvered dial and applied steel hour markers in 1943 and its subsequent sale on 31 October 1946.

    This watch is a very well preserved and most honest example of the celebrated reference 1579 chronograph in stainless steel. To date, only five other references 1579 cased in stainless have been offered at auction or published in literature. These watches are all, without exception, proudly-cherished trophies in the world's most distinguished private watch collections.

    The present watch furthermore impresses by it overall most harmonious appearance. The case shows only little wear and has not suffered from overpolishing. In fact, its proportions remain crisp, most evident to the beholders eye are the sharp edges of the lugs. The dial reflects a great shine with no signs of any restoration and enhances the overall look of this legendary wristwatch.

    Undoubtedly amongst the most attractive examples of a stainless steel reference 1579 ever to appear in public, its very good, original overall condition and the charismatic dial render this watch a must for the discerning collector.

    Reference 1579, introduced into the market in 1943, takes a unique position in the production of chronographs at Patek Philippe, as it is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only one with facetted lugs. According to our researches, only six examples in stainless steel have appeared in public to date.

    Stainless Steel
    The virtues of stainless steel, durability, resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and its radiant shine, make it an ideal base material for a multitude of commercial items. Steel has been used since ancient days but a process for producing stainless steel was only developed in the late 19th/early 20th century.

    Particularly in vogue during the Art Deco period, stainless steel was the favourite metal of many renowned watchmakers and jewellers and embellished their most beautiful pieces. It was also used for the interior and exterior decoration of houses, the most famous example being the spire of the Chrysler Building in New York. During the economical boom following World War II, when the production of watches and jewellery was nearly halted due to the rationing of metals, stainless steel had lost its appeal. Considered the "poor man's material", it was replaced by the more apparent yellow and pink gold, demonstrating the wearer's wealth. Consequently, production of stainless steel watch cases by the most prestigious makers was reduced drastically and only few examples of these small series produced in the late 1940s/early 1950s have survived to date.

    Pre-Lot Text