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    Sale 1413

    Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections

    16 May 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 184

    Patek Philippe. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface keyless lever watch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d'Observatoire, original certificate and box


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. A very fine and rare 18K gold openface keyless lever watch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d'Observatoire, original certificate and box
    Signed Patek Philippe & Cie., Geneva, Switzerland, movement no. 177'509, case no. 409'837, manufactured in 1919
    Cal. 19''' nickel-finished Extra lever movement numbered twice and stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 20 jewels, Guillaume balance with gold poising screws, micrometer regulator, wolf's tooth winding, gold cuvette engraved Fait Spécialement pour son Excellence N. Titulescu, Premier Prix au Concours d'Observatoire de Genève 1923-1924, white enamel dial, Breguet numerals, subsidiary seconds, plain circular case, hidden hinges, case, cuvette, dial and movement signed
    49.5 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Certificat d'Origine & de Garantie and wooden presentation box containing a spare crystal and main spring. Furthermore delivered with the Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with "Extra" lever movement, hidden hinges and white enamel dial with Breguet numerals and subsidiary seconds in 1919 and its subsequent sale on 11 February 1924. The Extract furthermore states that the watch obtained a First Prize on 9 July 1923 at the Geneva Observatory Chronometer Contest. Also delivered with copies of the Geneva Observatory timing sheet and results of the 1923 First Class timing contest where the watch obtained a First Prize with 823 points. It had been prepared and adjusted by the renowned adjuster J. Golay-Audemars.

    Based on the engraved inscription on its cuvette it can be assumed that the watch was originally made for the Romanian statesman Nicolae Titulescu.

    It stands out by its very good overall condition and superior quality including the "Extra" movement and the gold case with hidden hinges. The rarity of this watch is further enhanced by the presence of the original certificate, accessories and box and its interesting provenance.

    Patek Philippe chronometer movements were made to the highest possible standards and specially adjusted by master adjusters such as the celebrated F. Modoux, Henri Wehrli, J. Golay-Audemars and C. Batifolier. Watches prepared by them, especially those awarded prizes at the Observatory Contests, were several times more expensive than the standard versions.

    The present watch is exceptionally well made, adjusted for the Observatory Contest, and engraved on the pillar plate and bridge with the serial number, which was one of the prerequisites of the Observatory Contest rules. It is furthermore stamped twice with the "Poinçon de Genève" or Geneva seal. In November 1886, legislators established a system of optional inspection for watches made in Geneva. Makers could submit their movements and, provided they met the standards, they would then be engraved with the arms of the city of Geneva.

    A variety of details including the Guillaume balance with small "wings" at the arm for poising "in the raw", e.g. before the screws were fitted hence assuring that the temperature compensation adjustment would not affect poising, the superior polish of the steel parts, the olive-shaped jewel holes and the very light undercut escape wheel with raised teeth, prove the highest quality of this particularly fine watch.

    Precision timekeeping has always been vital to the scientific community, and in 1873, the first annual chronometer competition was held at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory. Rigorous quantitative internationally recognized testing standards were established. The testing, which initially lasted for 40 days, consisted of placing the watches in various positions and temperature conditions. The prestigious watchmakers Patek Philippe were awarded First Prize in the competition as early as 1884.


    Nicolae Titulescu (born 4 October 1883, Craiova, Romania-died 17 March 1941, Cannes, Fr.), Romanian statesman, was an outstanding diplomat who, as foreign minister (1927; 1932-36) for his country, was one of the leading advocates of European collective security.

    A professor of civil law, Titulescu entered politics in 1912 and was appointed minister of finance in 1917. After World War I, he attended the peace negotiations at Paris and signed the Treaty of Trianon (1920). He was again appointed finance minister in 1920, and his unpopular fiscal reforms helped topple the government in December 1921. From 1922 to 1926 and again from 1928 to 1932, he served as Romanian minister plenipotentiary in London. In 1927-1930 and in 1935 he was a member of the League of Nations Council, and was twice elected president of the General Assembly (1930 and 1931). In 1928 he served as minister for foreign affairs, and in 1932 he was again appointed to this post, role during which he championed Romania's accession to the French-sponsored Little Entente of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, engineered its attachment to the Balkan Entente (1934), consisting of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey, and pursued a policy of friendship with France and the U.S.S.R.

    His difficulties with King Carol II and the impending breakdown of collective security, however, led eventually to his dismissal (August 1936). He was also the author of several works on law and finance.