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    Sale 1413

    Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections

    16 May 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 59

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black lacquered dial and Breguet numerals


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black lacquered dial and Breguet numerals
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Genève, ref. 1503, movement no. 925’057, case no. 633’116, manufactured in 1944
    Cal. 12-120 mechanical movement stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 18 jewels, black lacquered dial, applied steel Breguet numerals, outer railway minute divisions, sunken engine-turned subsidiary seconds, circular case, teardrop lugs, snap on back, stainless steel Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    35 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with black dial and Breguet numerals in steel in 1944 and its subsequent sale on 10 June 1944.

    This watch has never been offered at auction before and is thought to be the only second reference 1503 in stainless steel with black dial and applied Breguet numerals, all confirmed by the Extract from the Archives, to appear in public to date. Interestingly, the second example was sold in this saleroom on 12 November 2007, lot 33, formerly the property of the celebrated Simon Wiesenthal.

    An extremely rare timepiece due to a very short production run, examples of reference 1503 bearing Breguet numerals on black dial are among the rarest iterations of this reference, and also among the most attractive. Furthermore, the condition of the present example is simply outstanding. Sporting a case extremely well preserved, and an absolutely original dial aged with hardly a blemish, this is without a doubt among the most attractive and collectible examples of this reference to ever appear on the market.

    Together with its sister reference 1509, reference 1503 was in production for only four years, from 1941 to 1944. The minimalist, nearly military layout of the watch fully represents the historical context during which it was produced. The clean dial with the highly sought after Breguet numerals is extremely readable and utilitarian, also thanks to the contrast of the applied numerals with the midnight black background. The teardrop lugs provide however a touch of flamboyance to the ensemble, as if to dilute the martial austerity of the dial.

    The dial was supplied by the renowned Stern Frères, the massif solid silver plate with hand-made engravings, enamelling and numerals (see lot 61 for a detailed description of this process). The lack of the commonly found feet fixing the dial onto the case required the construction of a 2 mm. silver ring with overlapping rim into which both movement and dial fit precisely, a rather uncommon construction.

    The plate of the present dial was finished with black lacquer before applying the entirely hand-made Breguet numerals.

    For a detailed description and illustration of the “Simon Wiesenthal” reference 1503 with black dial and Breguet numerals see Patek Philippe Steel Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 132 & 133.

    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.
    On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

    Pre-Lot Text

    From the Collection of a Gentleman - lots 59 to 61

    The following three lots are superb examples of Patek Philippe’s stainless steel wristwatches made in the 1940s, all fresh to the market and preserved in excellent original overall condition.