• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1383

    Important Watches

    14 November 2011, Geneva

  • Lot 303

    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, rare and large stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with two-tone silvered dial


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, rare and large stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with two-tone silvered dial
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Genève, retailed by Hausmann & Co, ref. 530, movement no. 862'698, case no. 507'141, manufactured in 1941
    Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, stamped with the Seal of Geneva, 23 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, two-tone silvered dial, applied gold baton and Arabic numerals, gold hands, outer railway five minute divisions and tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned lugs, snap on back, two rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, stainless steel Patek Philippe buckle, case and movement signed by the maker, dial signed by the maker and the retailer

    36.5 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with raised gold hour markers, silvered dial and tachymetre scale in 1941 and its subsequent sale on 16 December 1941.

    To many collectors, reference 530 in the ultra-rare chronograph version is the most impressive vintage wristwatch by Patek Philippe thanks to its over-generous case proportions and pure 1940s design. Whereas many amateurs would be delighted to know that either a yellow gold or pink gold version was part of their collection, the ultimate variant is undoubtedly the stainless steel version.

    In over 30 years of international watch auctions, a total of only seven steel references 530 have been offered, definitely less than what the market desires. A large number of dial variants is associated to the steel version of this mythical chronograph, including some with Roman numerals, some with Arabic numerals and even one example with a sector dial.

    The present "steel five-thirty" however seduces with what scholars will describe as the most exotic dial design: a silver-finished two-tone dial with applied gold numerals and a retailer's signature. Interestingly, all of these elements are unique to this watch here and none of the other six known examples feature any of these components.

    The result is a captivating look, charged with subtle colour nuances and a never-ending discovery of its depth, pending the daylight.

    First appeared during the 1990s at auction, it has since then been the property of the same gentleman collector and has once only benefitted from a professional cleaning at Patek Philippe's workshops in Geneva. As a consequence, the movement is in immaculate condition as it was in 1941 as is the case which has probably never seen a polishing other than during this servicing. The dial, highlighted by the exclusive retailer's signature Hausmann & Co. has equally benefitted since some yellowish surface ageing has been softened during this intervention. Since then, this chronograph has been safely locked away in a climate-controlled vault.

    Few models are so much enjoying dream status as the oversized steel chronograph reference 530 and examples of such quality and provenance, paired with stunning looks and close to perfect condition, are extremely rare finds.

    Reference 530
    Reference 530 was introduced to the market in 1937 and is one of Patek Philippe's rarest chronograph models. Predominantly known to have been cased in either yellow or rose (pink) gold, the stainless steel version is amongst the scarce specialties amongst collectors of complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches. Whereas the gold version is known to have been in production during at least two decades until the mid-1950s, it appears that the stainless steel version was only available during a short period of time, mainly in the early 1940s. One may safely assume that at this epoch, especially during World War II and the years immediately afterwards, stainless steel was the more accessible case material - not limited to watch manufacturers and without regulations imposed by customs.

    Reference 530 is the larger version of the better known reference 130, Patek Philippe's classic chronograph retaining the timeless Calatrava design. However, reference 530 stands out by its impressive diameter overshadowing its smaller "sister model" by a substantial 4 mm. Another important element for this stainless steel version is the width between the lugs, an astounding 21.5 mm. Only a few examples of the gold reference 530 feature such impressive case proportions.

    The model is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 265.

    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.

    Pre-Lot Text