• IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1369


    16 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 335

    Patek Philippe. An extremely attractive and unique 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with special dial made to the first owner's specification


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely attractive and unique 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with special dial made to the first owner's specification
    Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 1579, movement no. 869'068, case no. 2'633'272, manufactured in 1962
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 23 jewels, micrometer regulator, cream dial, black Arabic numerals, outer five minute divisions, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back, two rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, 18K gold 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 in 1962 and its subsequent sale on 7 April 1964.

    "Unique", "Special Order" and "One-Off" are designations which excite collectors in all fields, particularly in the domain of wristwatch collecting. As such, the present reference 1579 chronograph by Patek Philippe is a most attractive and desirable legend to a generation of collectors. First appeared in 2000, it not only broke a world record for this reference in yellow gold but remained a conversation piece amongst scholars and aficionados ever since.

    This reference 1579 is an outstanding and unique example of this landmark reference, distinguished by its exceptional ivory-coloured dial featuring black Arabic numerals and its spectacular, virtually mint condition.

    In around 1962, a loyal and distinguished client of Patek Philippe approached his retailer of choice, Astrua in Torino, with a special request. He asked for a large chronograph, but not one comparable to those already in his collection "with confusing scales and different tones on the dial" but rather one with exceptional readability and simple to use. The reason for this request was his gradually weakening eyesight, making it more and more difficult for him to wear and enjoy his beloved Patek Philippe chronographs - all faithfully acquired via Astrua. After some correspondence between Turin and Geneva his unusual demand was finally granted. One day, the manager of Astrua announces to the family that the long-awaited piece was ready for collection; most regrettably however, its destined owner had recently passed away. The family, honouring their father's order, paid and picked up the watch but had no use for it. Consequently, the very same day it was locked away in a vault until its consignment to public auction in 2000.

    Extensive research in the archives of the celebrated dial manufacturer Stern Frères in Geneva, Patek Philippe's supplier of dials at the period, has resulted in the discovery of the original drawing for this austere design made in the early 1960s.

    This highly atypical dial stands out by the omission of any of the technical scales (tachymetre, telemetre or pulsometre) that one would usually expect on this reference. Consequently the entire layout could be modified, enlarging the numerals hence increasing the readability. Interestingly due to the different dial proportions, the watch, already one of Patek Philippe's largest chronographs ever made, appears even larger. To maximize the contrast, the hands were covered in black lacquer, matching the black numerals.

    Since its one and only public appearance in 2000, the present watch has obviously not been worn. Consequently it impresses today by its virtually mint condition, the case showing no wear as it has never seen a polishing cloth in its 45 years of life. In fact, its proportions remain astoundingly crisp, most evident to the beholders eye are the sharp edges of bezel and lugs and the crisp gold marks. The oxidation traces to the case are furthermore a typical sign for watches which have not been used in a very long time. The charismatic dial reflects a great shine with no signs of ageing and enhances the overall look of this extraordinary chronograph wristwatch.

    Few yellow gold chronographs by Patek Philippe symbolize in such impressive manner the golden years of the post war decades. Preserved in spectacular condition, this collector's watch adds depth to any collection in the world.

    Production of reference 1579 was launched in 1943. The large case and the unusual lugs, also called spider lugs because of their resemblance to a spider's legs, make it easily distinguishable from other Patek Philippe chronograph wristwatches of the era.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.