• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1398

    Important Watches

    11 November 2013, Geneva

  • Lot 193

    Patek Philippe. An extremely rare and very important 18K gold split seconds chronograph wristwatch with luminous Breguet numerals dial and screw back


    Price Realised  


    Patek Philippe. An extremely rare and very important 18K gold split seconds chronograph wristwatch with luminous Breguet numerals dial and screw back
    Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 1563, movement no. 867'196, case no. 657'132, manufactured in 1947
    Cal. 13''' mechanical movement, 25 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, metal dust cover, silvered dial, luminous Breguet numerals, outer railway five minute divisions and outer tachometer scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, circular water-resistant-type case, screw back, two round chronograph buttons in the band, 18K gold Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    35 mm. diam.

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    With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with luminous Breguet figures in 1947 and its subsequent sale on 30 June 1950.

    Few complicated Patek Philippe references are as rare as mythical reference 1563 with only three examples, all cased in yellow gold, known publicly to exist. Resembling Patek Philippe's well-known reference 1463 with round chronograph pushers, reference 1563 is remarkable as it also features a water-resistant screw back case, like reference 1463 and also contains a split seconds function on top of the 13 lignes caliber usually found in reference 1436.

    Reference 1563 is also known among collectors as the Duke Ellington chronograph because the Jazz legend once owned one of the three examples (movement 863'791, case 630'551) known to exist. Ellington's wristwatch was sold at auction in 2002 after fierce bidding and can be admired today in Geneva's prestigious Patek Philippe Museum.

    The present reference 1563 is a remarkable example in its own right. Its dial differs from the other two pieces known and showcases the much sought-after Breguet numerals dial, more often seen on steel cases for reference 1463 than on yellow gold cases. Even more noteworthy is the use of luminous material on the dial, confirmed in the Extract, and inlaid in the shape of the Breguet numerals. As is evident from photographs taken when it first became into public view in 1990, this exquisite timepiece hasn't lost its allure over the past two decades thanks to the collector's care lavished on it since.

    The case is as well preserved as any demanding collector could hope for, with strong definition to the bezel, lugs and screw back, a beautiful satiné finish to the sides, original pushers and crown as well as crisp hallmarks to the band and lower left lug.

    The back of the watch speaks of the timepiece's past, bearing the engraved signature L. Estée and the initials S.G.H. The inside back is stamped 1463, and the Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirms that this example, bearing the case number 657'132, is a reference 1563 with reference 1463 stamped on the inside of the case back.

    With one of the three examples of reference 1563 beyond the reach of collectors in the Patek Philippe Museum and another in private hands, the sale of the present watch represents a unique opportunity to acquire such a rarity and treasure.

    The present example is prominently illustrated and described in Patek Philippe Orologi complicati da polso by Paolo De Vecchi and Giorgio Gregato, p. 64-65.

    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.