Made in 1952, this reference 2526 is a well-preserved and attractive example of the rare first series version of the model. It features the rare calibre 12’’’600 movement and the first series cream-coloured enamel dial. To the best of our knowledge it has never been offered in public before. The HOX stamp on the movement indicates that it was destined for the North American market.
Recently serviced in the workshops at Patek Philippe it furthermore impresses with its very attractive, original overall condition, still retaining the International Customer Service sticker to the case back.
Introduced into the market in 1952, reference 2526 was Patek Philippe's first self-winding or automatic watch ever made. The model features the legendary calibre 12-600 AT which was granted Swiss patent No. 289758 in 1953 for "a self-winding mechanism for a wristwatch movement using the energy supplied by a rotary mass causing an eccentric part to transmit a swinging movement to an organ of the mechanism". The first 500 examples of reference 2526, such as the present watch, were fitted with the earliest version of calibre 12'''600 without ball bearing, rendering these watches particularly rare and collectable.
The dials for reference 2526 went through a simplification process over the years. At the very beginning, we find enamel dials with flared holes for the numerals, like the one mounted on the present timepiece. Such construction methodology is enormously complex, requiring 26 holes for the numerals (2 holes for each numeral, 4 holes for the double numeral at 12), plus two holes for the hands and subsidiary seconds. Given the highly complicated construction methodology, soon a new series was launched: the dial is still enamel, but with only two flared holes for the hands and the subsidiary seconds. The indexes are instead secured with glue. Finally, the last evolution presents metal dials.