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    Sale 1357

    Important Watches

    17 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 271

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, large and rare 18K gold openface keyless lever tourbillon watch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d'Observatoire and blue Breguet numerals, especially made for Thomas Emery


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, large and rare 18K gold openface keyless lever tourbillon watch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d'Observatoire and blue Breguet numerals, especially made for Thomas Emery
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Geneva, Switzerland, Fabriqué Spécialement pour Thomas Emery, movement no. 197'998, case no. 416'549, manufactured in 1925
    Cal. 19''' "Extra" nickel-finished lever movement numbered twice, 18 jewels, Guillaume balance with gold poising screws, polished steel three arm one minute tourbillon cage by Jämes Pellaton, central jewel carried in gold screwed châton, blued steel hairspring, glazed cuvette with signed gold rim, white enamel dial, blue Breguet numerals, subsidiary seconds, large, heavy plain circular case, hidden hinges, inlaid blue enamel initials TE in a lozenge cartouche to the hinged back, engraved inscription No. 197997 Fabriqué Spécialement pour Thomas Emery Concours de l'Observatoire de Genève 1929-1930 1er Prix, 843 Points: Record, Prix de l'écart moyen diurne, Régleur F. Moudoux, case, cuvette, dial and movement signed
    53 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with enamel dial, blue Breguet numerals and "T.E." monogram in blue enamel on the back cover in 1925 and its subsequent sale on 1 December 1930. Furthermore delivered with a copy of the Geneva Observatory timing sheet No. 118 and the results of the 1929 timing contests where the watch obtained the first prize with 843 points, Patek Philippe wooden presentation box.

    The extremely high accuracy of this chronometer is impressively demonstrated by this, at the time, record prize, and the fact that it was also awarded the prize for the best mean variation of daily rate. It is hardly a surprise that for this trial, No. 197'998 was prepared and adjusted by François Moudoux.

    The present high precision watch is amongst the most impressive tourbillon chronometers by Patek Philippe. It was conceived by the celebrated watchmaker, inventor and engineer Jämes Pellaton from LeLocle in 1925, then delivered to Patek Philippe in Geneva and finished by their highly skilled watchmakers in their workshops.

    Made to special order for Thomas Emery, it is fitted with a most unusual dial featuring blue enamel Breguet numerals; the case is personalized with Emery's initials, T.E., in blue enamel matching the dial. These unusual and extremely attractive features, both confirmed by the Extract from the Archives, render the watch a unique piece.

    Little information is available on Thomas Emery but he doubtlessly was a connoisseur of the fine and rare, impressively proven not only by the present timepiece sold to him in 1930: Thomas Emery also was granted the exceptional honour of receiving Patek Philippe's very first wristwatch fitted with a perpetual calendar in 1927, prominently described and illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 280. According to the workbooks of Patek Philippe, the watch was sold to Thomas Emery on 13 October 1927 and taken back on 24 September 1951. It is today on permanent exhibition at Patek Philippe's prestigious museum in Geneva.

    Possibly of American origin, Mr. Emery could have been a member of the famous Emery family of Cincinnati, Ohio, industrialists, real estate developers and philantropes. Coincidently, James Packard, famous collector of cars and most notably watches made by special order by Patek Philippe, also originates from Ohio.

    It is important to mention that this unique watch combines all aspects of the highest quality, making it a must for the demanding collector: one of the most discerning complications, the tourbillon regulator, fitted in a state of the art gold case with hidden hinges, personalized case and dial, fully documented with the Extract from the Archives and the Observatory Timing Sheets, and last but not least its excellent, original condition.

    Precision timekeeping has always been vital to the scientific community, and in 1873, the first annual chronometer competition was held at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory. Rigorous quantitative internationally recognized testing standards were established. The testing, which initially lasted for 40 days, consisted of placing the watches in various positions and temperature conditions. The prestigious watchmakers Patek Philippe were awarded a First Prize in the competition as early as 1884.

    Pre-Lot Text

    The record-setting Patek Philippe Tourbillon No. 197'998, made especially for Thomas Emery


    Prominently illustrated and described in Das Tourbillon by Reinhard Meis, p. 172 and listed on p. 352, op. cit.