• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1353

    Important Pocketwatches and Wristwatches

    12 May 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 187

    Patek Philippe. A superb and unique platinum perpetual calendar wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, phases of the moon and black hard enamel Breguet numerals


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. A superb and unique platinum perpetual calendar wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, phases of the moon and black hard enamel Breguet numerals
    Signed Patek Philippe, Geneve, ref. 2497, movement no. 888'075, case no. 687'949, manufactured in 1954
    Cal. 27 SC Q nickel-finished lever movement stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 18 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, the silvered matte dial with black hard enamel Breguet numerals, sweep centre seconds, two apertures for day and month, subsidiary dial indicating phases of the moon combined with date, the large circular case with downturned fluted lugs, snap on back, original platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    37 mm. diam.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1954 and its subsequent sale on 10 March 1956. Furthermore delivered with the lower third of the Certificate of Origin, still showing the sale date, Patek Philippe brochure from the 1950s, original platinum buckle and original fitted presentation box.

    This watch, the hitherto unknown second example of a reference 2497 in platinum to appear in public to date, is a sensational and most significant discovery to the world of watch collecting.

    Until the day of its rediscovery in autumn of 2007, it was commonly understood that reference 2497 was principally cased in yellow and pink gold (for a yellow gold example see lot 86 and for a pink gold example lot 289 in this auction). The only exceptions are three watches cased in white gold and one example known to exist in platinum: the latter, movement no. 888'029, case no. 678'868, is fitted with a silvered dial featuring applied diamond hour markers and a platinum bracelet. Last offered publicly in 2001 and then prominently featured as the cover lot of the catalogue, it was one of the most coveted watches in recent auction history and achieved a then unimaginable record price for this reference. Today, it is the pride of one of the world's most important private watch collectors.

    The advent of the present watch, purchased by the uncle of the consignor at Patek Philippe in Geneva in 1956 and since then carefully kept in safe custody, redefines the general knowledge about reference 2497 and its peers. With the exception of the until recently only known platinum reference 2497, scholarship asserts that none of Patek Philippe's other vintage perpetual calendar models from the 1940's until the mid-1980's, references 1526, 1591, 2438, 2438/1, 3448, 3449 and 3450, are known to have been originally cased in platinum.

    Another aspect contributing to the outstanding rarity of the watch is its dial, featuring the highly exclusive Breguet numerals in black hard enamel, rendering it an extremely elegant, avant-garde look. All regular production yellow, pink or white gold models of reference 2497 are always fitted with either applied gold Arabic and dot (first series) or facetted baton numerals (second series), underlining the assumption that this watch with its unusual combination of case material and dial layout was made to special order.

    In superb, unspoiled and very original condition, this rediscovered treasure immediately takes a most prominent position in the hall of fame of Patek Philippe's most beautiful, exclusive and important wristwatches.

    Ref. 2497
    In 1951, Patek Philippe launched reference 2497 and its water-resistant counterpart, reference 2438/1. According to literature, a combined total of only 179 examples of these two models were produced, generally cased either in yellow or pink gold. Reference 2497 is commonly divided into two different series, the first with alternating applied gold Arabic and dot numerals and dauphine hands, the second with applied baton numerals and dauphine hands.

    Simultaneously launched like their more complicated sister model with chronograph, reference 2499, references 2497 and 2438/1 replaced the legendary reference 1526 which is best remembered for its Calatrava-style case and unmistakable classic 1940's look.

    Whereas reference 2499 was fitted with the same 13''' movement as its predecessor, reference 1518, consequently offering the same functions to its wearer, the simple perpetual calendar model 2497 newly fitted a centre seconds hand, an absolute first on the watch market. The newly designed calibre 27 SC was upgraded with Patek Philippe's patented perpetual calendar mechanism, now listed as 27 SC Q. The new generation of Patek Philippe's perpetual calendar models, with or without chronograph mechanism, met the more lavish 1950s taste, the case proportions now slightly more playful. References 2497 and 2499 were first fitted with cases featuring a flat snap on back and very prominent claw-shaped lugs, which then were replaced with a more rounded case back and less downturned lugs.

    Examples of reference 2497 are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by M. Huber & A. Banbery, 2nd edition, pp. 285 & 287.

    Pre-Lot Text