• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1398

    Important Watches

    11 November 2013, Geneva

  • Lot 152

    Patek Philippe. An exceptionally fine, rare and important 18K pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An exceptionally fine, rare and important 18K pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases
    Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 2499, movement no. 868'226, case no. 696'524, movement manufactured in 1951, watch encased in 1957
    Cal. 13''' mechanical movement, 23 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, two-tone silvered matte dial, applied pink gold baton numerals, pink gold dauphine hands, outer Arabic five minute divisions and tachymetre scale in miles, two windows for day and month, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes register and phases of the moon combined with date, circular case, stepped downturned lugs, snap on back, 18K pink gold Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    37.8 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the movment in 1951, the encasing of the watch in 1957 and its subsequent sale on 15 December 1960.

    To many elite collectors of vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches, reference 2499 represents the pinnacle, beautifully combining easthetics, complications, rarity but also wearability. To most of those lucky few actively pursuing Patek Philippe's most legendary of all references, the second series is often cited as the most perfect of them all as it brings together many of the elements so cherished by scholars and aficionados: the substantial 47.8 mm case highlighted by the round buttons but most notably blessed by a dial design reuniting the following key elements: a tachometer scale, an exclusivity to the first and second series, with all the printings (the signature and all scales) in beautifully raised hard enamel. This technique was only used on 2499 dials approximately during the first 20 years of its production. All these elements give the watch an unmatched vintage look which is often reserved to the 1950s.

    The greatest of all aspirations to a serious collector must still be a pink gold version from the sacred second series, one of the rarest and most important wristwatches in the world. In fact many of the world's most important watch collection do not include a rose gold example of reference 2499 due to its limited availability.

    The present example of this extremely exclusive series has many of the most appealing features and thus positioning it comfortably amongst the very best of this small family. The case is of exceptional quality with incredibly strong definition to lugs and bezel and to the best of our knowledge and understanding was never polished in its entire life. We conclude so based on the sharply profiled lugs and their fine vertical satin finish which will be lost after the first polishing. The hallmarks of which one is applied at the lower right lug and the other one on the upper left side on the band are of maximum crispness, rarely seen on an over half a century old wristwatch.

    The dial is a work-of-art by itself. In our view never cleaned since its manufacture and in absolutely untouched original condition. Notably, the signature and all scales are perfectly well-defined without any loss and in wonderfully raised "indelebile". Most importantly however, the dial has taken over the years what one must consider the most perfect, smooth and warm ivory-coloured patina, lending the watch the ultimate touch of vintage. Interestingly, the outer tachometer scale and inner ring calibrated for the 1/5 seconds have kept more of the original off-white tone as most likely due to the vicinity of the bezel and convex edge of the crystal, preventing over exposure to light during its life.

    During the last decade, Christie's Geneva had the privilege to offer three outstanding examples of Patek Philippe 2499 reference second series in rose gold. Each time, the world's most important wristwatch collectors have gathered to eagerly compete for these treasures. In fact, all of them have been events on the market and all have finally find home after excessive bidding above high estimates.

    Acquired by a demanding gentleman collector in 2005, this rose gold "twenty four - ninety nine" is possibly the earliest example of all rose gold examples of this series which today comprises another 8 watches. Since its making in 1957, it is now only the second time that this watch is offered for sale, offering collector's around the world a rare opportunity to crown their collections with one of the world's most beautiful and valuable wristwatches in private hands.

    Reference 2499, widely acknowledged to be one of the world's greatest watch models ever created, has undoubtedly greatly influenced the design 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 workbench.

    Reference 2499 is generally divided into the following four series:
    - first series: square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachymetre scale
    - second series, such as the present watch: 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

    The model is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second édition, pp. 302 & 304.

    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.