• IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1369

    IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A CONNOISSEUR'S VISION

    16 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 380

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch

    SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENÈVE, REF. 1579, MOVEMENT NO. 863'733, CASE NO. 660'238, MOVEMENT MANUFACTURED IN 1945, CASE AND DIAL CIRCA 1950, FINISHED UPON SPECIAL REQUEST IN 1990

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    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch
    Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 1579, movement no. 863'733, case no. 660'238, movement manufactured in 1945, case and dial circa 1950, finished upon special request in 1990
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 23 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, silvered dial, applied white gold square and Arabic numerals, outer five minute divisions and tachymetre scale, 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, stainless steel 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 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.

    Stainless steel
    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.

    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.