• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1383

    Important Watches

    14 November 2011, Geneva

  • Lot 141

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare platinum chronograph wristwatch

    SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE & CO., GENÈVE, REF. 1579, MOVEMENT NO. 863'875, CASE NO. 645'564, MANUFACTURED IN 1946

    Price Realised  

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine and rare platinum chronograph wristwatch
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Genève, ref. 1579, movement no. 863'875, case no. 645'564, manufactured in 1946
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 23 jewels, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, baton and applied Arabic numerals, outer five minute divisions and tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back engraved David J. Paper, platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    36 mm. diam.


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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with silvered dial and raised hour markers in gold in 1946 and its subsequent sale on 3 April 1947.

    Reference 1579 takes a unique position in Patek Philippe's production of vintage chronograph wristwatches as it is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only example with the highly attractive facetted lugs. Launched in 1943, the model was predominantly available in yellow and pink gold, few examples were cased in stainless steel.

    The reference 1579 offered here for sale featuring a platinum case is without a doubt the version with the most evident gravitas. In fact, only three examples cased in this noble metal are known to exist today, interestingly bearing the consecutive case numbers 645'564, 645'565 and 645'566, the present being the first model from this extraordinarily small series. One may safely conclude that these three chronographs were the only ever references 1579 cased in platinum, based on statistic calculations.

    More importantly, in the history of Patek Philippe's four decades spanning production of wristwatch chronographs with calibre 13'''130, no other reference has received the honours to be finished in the most costly case material, platinum. It is unknown why Patek Philippe dared, closely following the end of WW II, to produce an extremely limited run of three platinum cased chronographs but one can assume it was rather to impress the public with its savoir-faire than by special order. As a matter of fact, the sale dates of the three watches spread over nearly two years (who would want to wait so long for such an extraordinary piece). On top of that, close examination reveals that all the three known references 1579 in platinum are fitted with different dials:

    case no. 645'564 with an "American" dial calibrated in miles and the tachometer scale with the speed numbers "sitting" on the scale
    case no. 645'565 with a "European" dial highlighted by prominent comma markings on the right half of the tachometer scale inbetween the numbers
    case no. 645'566 with a very different dial design where the tachometer scale is nearer to the inner fifths of a second ring, allowing to place the numbers ranging from 900 to 130 vertically pointing towards the centre and, to balance the dial, with enlarged numbers "looking" towards the centre going from 120 to 60.

    Very much to the spoilt eye's delight, this "icy beauty" is blessed with a matte silver-coloured dial, perfectly harmonizing with the platinum case. The signature, hour markers and scales are finished in black hard enamel and are raised to an extent that any cosmetical enhancement can be excluded. The case, highly sensible to inappropriate polishing, has maintained well-defined facets and angles to the lugs.

    Few 1940s designs radiate so much masculinity yet flamboyance and elegance and even fewer examples preserved in such good condition can offer so much quality to a discerning collector as the present "spider lug" reference 1579.

    Pre-Lot Text

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