• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 428

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare platinum openface keyless lever watch with Breguet numerals, Guillaume balance and Bulletin de Marche


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare platinum openface keyless lever watch with Breguet numerals, Guillaume balance and Bulletin de Marche
    Signed Patek Philippe & Cie., Geneve, movement no. 190'998, case made by Schwab & Wuischpard, no. 423'498, movement manufactured in 1921
    Cal. 19''' nickel-finished EXTRA movement numbered twice and stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 21 jewels, Guillaume balance with gold and platinum poising screws, micrometer regulator, diamond endstone, wolf's tooth winding, platinum cuvette, the silvered matte dial with applied Breguet numerals, spade hands, subsidiary seconds, in plain circular case, case, dial and movement signed, cuvette numbered
    50 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 movement of the present watch in 1921 and its subsequent sale in 1939. It was submitted several times to the Geneva Observatory for rating, namely in 1924, 1929 and 1930.

    At the 1924 timing contest, it was awarded a third prize with 841 points. The movement had been prepared and adjusted by the precision adjuster F. Modoux. In 1930, the regulator was the renowned H. Wehrli.
    The high quality platinum case was made by the distinguished casemakers Schwab & Wuischpard who signed their products "S&W". They were closely associated to the Henry Stern Watch Agency in New York who, still today, acting as importers of Patek Philippe watches to the American market. The "S&W" signature appears regularly on platinum Patek Philippe cases, predominantly during the 1940s and early 1950s, delivered to the US market.

    Interestingly, whereas the case of the present watch was made in the US, the Archives of Patek Philippe have a record of its case number. This leads to the conclusion that even though the case was made outside Switzerland, Schwab & Wuischpard were granted the permission to double-sign their products "Patek Philippe & Co. Switzerland" and "S&W".

    The case and dial style and finish are meeting Patek Philippe's high standards and correspond to comparable watches entirely made by Patek Philippe around 1940. It can therefore be safely assumed that the present watch was completed shortly after its delivery to the US in 1939.

    The present "Extra Quality" lever watch is one of only four platinum cased Patek Philippe watches with Guillaume balance, without tourbillon regulator, known to the market. Interestingly, they all differ in regard to their dial designs, featuring either black enamelled Breguet numerals, black enamelled Roman numerals, applied baton numerals or applied Breguet numerals, such as the present watch. Previously unrecorded, this watch is furthermore the only example which apparently remained in private hands as all the others are owned and permanently exhibited at the prestigious Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

    The other three watches were all made for the celebrated patron and collector Henry Graves Jr., underlining the fact that such platinum high precision watches were exclusively reserved for the most demanding clients and probably only made upon request.

    Its near perfect aesthetics combined with its state of the art competition quality movement in conjunction with its excellent original condition and freshness to the market render this piece a highly sophisticated testimony of 20th century horology.