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    Sale 1353

    Important Pocketwatches and Wristwatches

    12 May 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 189

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare 18K gold hinged single button chronograph wristwatch with gilt dial, Breguet numerals and vertically positioned subsidiary dials


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare 18K gold hinged single button chronograph wristwatch with gilt dial, Breguet numerals and vertically positioned subsidiary dials
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Geneva, Switzerland, movement no. 198'055, case no. 290'999, manufactured in 1926
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 27 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, hinged gold cuvette, the gilt dial with black hard enamel Breguet numerals, blued steel spade hands, outer railway five minute divisions, two vertically positioned subsidiary dials indicating 30 minutes register and constant seconds, the circular case with wire lugs, hinged back with engraved inscription Walter V. Struby Dec. 1928 Peter V. Struby 1943, chronograph mechanism operated through the crown, original 18K gold Patek Philippe buckle, case, cuvette, dial and movement signed
    34 mm. diam.

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    Accompanied by atek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with gilded dial and Breguet numerals in 1926 and its subsequent sale on 23 November 1928.
    This single button chronograph is one of the finest examples of Patek Philippe's early production of complex and complicated wristwatches. Its rarity and exclusivity is underlined by the fact that since production of single button chronographs ceased in the late 1930s Patek Philippe has never resumed production. Furthermore, research shows that only five other examples of such early Officer-style cased single button chronographs with vertically positioned registers are known to have survived, the majority of them being either in private Museums or the world's most distinguished private collections. However, the present watch is understood to be the only example of such chronograph with the charismatic and much wanted champagne coloured dial.

    In fact, the charismatic gilt dial and the much sought after Breguet numerals, all confirmed by the Extract from the Archives, are a superb feature on this master piece of 1920s watch making. This historical chronograph shows all of the further, for the period typical elements such as lack of an outer telemetre, tachymetre or pulsometre scale, small vertically placed subsidiary dials and the position of Patek Philippe's signature, reaching horizontally from one side to the other. Many of these style elements are still upheld in greatest respect today, reflected in the latest state-of-the-art production of Patek Philippe, most notably reference 5959, the ultra limited split seconds chronograph wristwatch with Breguet numeral dial and Officer case.

    The ébauche for this unusual watch was commissioned by Patek Philippe and made by Victorin Piguet & Co. of Le Sentier. During the 1920s the company made most of the ébauches for complicated movements, including single button and split seconds chronographs, repeaters and perpetual calendars, exclusively for prestigious firms like Patek Philippe.

    It is interesting to mention that light surface oxidation on the case, which could easily be cleaned off if one wanted to, is known to this watch since its first public appearance at a 1993 auction. Close study of the catalogue illustration then reveal that the oxidation was not cleaned off nor that any other part of the watch was restored - further underlining the honest and authentic condition. The combination of the, especially considering its age, very well and most originally preserved case and the highly attractive dial render this watch a rare and early timepiece of considerable interest for any discerning collector.

    Similar examples of early single button chronograph wristwatches are described and illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 258 & 259.