With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present in 1950 and its subsequent sale on 28 March 1956. Furthermore delivered with fitted black presentation box.
To many high-end watch collectors with decades of experience in the field of vintage wristwatches certain facts are facts and changes to these should not be expected. It is consequently a landslide event when a historical model in its most exclusive version comes for the first time to the market and redefines scholarship and hence undermines what has been considered a fact until the day before.
The arrival of this "piece de resistance" is such an epiphany as it is not only the first "fresh to the market" reference 2499 first series in pink gold to land in public since 2004 but also the only fourth ever publicly offered example of this ultra-reference.
The most sensational aspect of this watch here is however residing in the fact that it has a different case than the other three known specimen. Those known so far are all fitted with the 36.2 mm. case by Vichet, easily recognizable by the flat back and prominently downturned fluted lugs of slightly elongated shape. Our watch here however is the version with the more rounded lugs and larger diameter, the case made by Wenger. It is fascinating to compare the two siblings since the details in their cases are numerous and the difference in diameter noteworthy. In fact, it is of over 1.5 mm., making more impact than one would expect.
Until today, specialists around the globe assumed that the rose gold variant of 2499's first series was always and exclusively cased by Vichet, a rule which is as of now no longer defendable.
According to the family, the watch has always been with their late father and a close examination can wholeheartedly support this report. We can hardly remember having handled such an honest yet so strong and well-preserved "first series", both gold versions combined. The lugs are very well defined and the hallmark at the tip is just breathtakingly beautiful. The last three digits of the case number are also stamped and clear inside the lug. The dial, in our view never cleaned or restored, is blessed with the right level of ivory-coloured patina without blemishes or other disturbing damage caused by age.
We consider it a privilege to have been entrusted with the auctioning of this trophy wristwatch and wish that it will crown a distinguished collection for many years to come. In fact, for an auction house as for any demanding collector it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to discover, handle and possess (either temporarily or permanently) such a jewel.
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.
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 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, the present lot
- second series: round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachymetre scale
- third series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions
- fourth series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal
Reference 2499 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 302 & 304.