• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1417

    Rare Watches Including Nautilus 40 Part II

    14 November 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 224

    Patek Philippe. A very fine and extremely rare stainless steel keyless lever watch with black Breguet dial



    Patek Philippe. A very fine and extremely rare stainless steel keyless lever watch with black Breguet dial
    Signed Patek Philippe & Cie, Genève, no. 870’961, case no. 623’757, manufactured in 1942
    MOVEMENT: manual, 17''', stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 18 jewels
    DIAL: black gloss with applied yellow gold Breguet numerals, gilt minute track, subsidiary seconds dial, yellow gold Breguet hands
    CASE: stainless steel, flat band, snap back, rectangular bow, 48 mm. diam.
    SIGNED: case, dial, movement
    ACCOMPANIED BY: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the date of manufacture in 1942, steel case and black dial with applied Breguet figures in yellow gold and its subsequent sale on June 27th 1942.

    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

    The present lot has to be considered as one of the most fascinating and attractive steel Patek Philippe time-only pocket watches known publically. It represents a very rare opportunity for the serious connoisseur and would make an exceptional addition to any collection.
    The presence of a Black dial with Breguet numerals on any vintage steel Patek Philippe watch is considered legendary by collectors, uniting two of the rarest and most sought-after traits to be found in any Patek Philippe model.
    Black dials were almost never offered as a standard option, usually reserved only for special orders, they are consequently exceedingly rare. From our research, most of the very few known pieces with black dial and steel cases, both pocket and wristwatches, were made and sold between 1938 and 1943 – the early to middle years of World War II. This includes wristwatch references 530 and 1503 both existing with black Breguet dials on a very small number of watches. The reason for the production of this small cluster of steel watches with black dials in the late 30s and early 40s is interesting to contemplate, was it perhaps that some clients wanted to appear less ostentatious and more discreet during wartime whilst at the same time enjoying the ultimate luxury of a Patek Philippe watch?. Furthermore, in relationship to the price of the watch, the difference in cost between a steel and a gold case was negligible and therefore the choice of a steel case was certainly no cost saving exercise. Whatever the reason, the legacy is a small and rarefied group of watches, including the present watch, that are amongst the most desirable of all Patek Philippe timepieces.

    Pre-Lot Text