With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1956 and its subsequent sale on 23 January 1958.
Since its purchase in this saleroom in November 2010, this second series 2499 has remained in one of the most important private collections in Asia, safely stored away and unused, revealed by the oxidation traces to the case. It has evidently never been subject to careless polishing and impresses with its strong proportions, the well-defined fluting to the lugs and the clearly visible hallmark. Over the course of its 60 years of existence the dial has undergone an ever so gentle cleaning and has accumulated a most charismatic, uniform ivory-coloured patina since, the hard enamel signature and scales are as raised as the connoisseur would expect.
Made in 1956, the present watch is from the earlier series of reference 2499 featuring Arabic numerals - a reminiscence of the legendary model 1518 and the first series of reference 2499. The second generation was enhanced with faceted baton markers. Today, it is believed that only ten other yellow gold examples of the specifications like the watch offered here for sale are known to have survived, further enhancing the appeal of this rare timepiece.
Reference 2499, widely acknowledged as one of the world's greatest watch models ever created, has undoubtedly greatly influenced the designs of many of the most renowned watchmakers. Introduced to the market in 1950 it replaced the legendary reference 1518, the world's first perpetual calendar wristwatch with chronograph made in series (see lots 188 and 291 in this auction).
Over a period of 35 years, reference 2499 was made in four series in a total production of only 349 pieces, the majority cased in yellow gold. The rarity of this model becomes evident when considering that an annual average of only 9 such watches left Patek Philippe's workshops.
Reference 2499 is generally divided into the following four series:
- first series: square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachymetre scale
- second series, the present watch: round chronograph buttons, either applied Arabic or applied baton numerals and tachymetre scale
- third series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions (see lot 116 in this sale)
- fourth series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal
The model is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 302 & 304.