With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with silvered dial, raised gold hour markers and tachymetre scale in 1945 and its subsequent sale on 17 July 1946.
Patek Philippe's reference 1579 in stainless steel is one of the rarest gems in the world of wristwatch collecting. In fact until today only six examples have surfaced in literature or at public auction. Interestingly, it is understood that only a very small number was cased and sold in the 1940s. The other examples, including the present one, were finished to a later date upon request by Patek Philippe's most loyal clients following the approval of the firm.
The present example impresses by its crisp case lines and its beautiful off-white silvered dial. Thanks to its generous proportions, it is an effigy of exquisite technical design and pleases its wearer as much it did when launched over 65 years ago.
Reference 1579, introduced into the market in 1943, takes a unique position in the production of chronographs at Patek Philippe. It is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only one with such angular faceted lugs, making it easily distinguishable from other Patek Philippe chronograph wristwatches of the era.
The virtues of stainless steel, durability, resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and its radiant shine, make it an ideal base material for a multitude of commercial items. Steel has been used since ancient days but a process for producing stainless steel was only developed in the late 19th/early 20th century.
Particularly in vogue during the Art Deco period, stainless steel was the favourite metal of many renowned watchmakers and jewellers and embellished their most beautiful pieces. It was also used for the interior and exterior decoration of houses, the most famous example being the spire of the Chrysler Building in New York. During the economical boom following World War II, when the production of watches and jewellery was nearly halted due to the rationing of metals, stainless steel had lost its appeal. Considered the "poor man's material", it was replaced by the more apparent yellow and pink gold, demonstrating the wearer's wealth. Consequently, production of stainless steel watch cases by the most prestigious makers was reduced drastically and only few examples of these small series produced in the late 1940s/early 1950s have survived to date.