• Important Watches, including A auction at Christies

    Sale 1391

    Important Watches, including A Gentleman's Pursuit for Excellence, Part I

    12 November 2012, Geneva

  • Lot 188

    Patek Philippe. An extremely rare, attractive and important platinum chronograph wristwatch, one of three platinum examples ever made of this reference

    SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE & CO., GENÈVE, REF. 1579, MOVEMENT NO. 867'005, CASE NO. 645'566, MANUFACTURED IN 1946

    Price Realised  

    Patek Philippe. An extremely rare, attractive and important platinum chronograph wristwatch, one of three platinum examples ever made of this reference
    Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Genève, ref. 1579, movement no. 867'005, case no. 645'566, manufactured in 1946
    Cal. 13''' mechanical movement, 23 jewels, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, black enameled baton and applied gold Arabic numerals, Arabic five minute divisions, outer tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back, 18K white gold 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 applied gold hour markers in 1946 and its subsequent sale on 28 September 1948.

    The reference 1579 offered here for sale featuring a platinum case is without a doubt the rarest version of this landmark chronograph model. In fact, only three examples cased in this noble metal are known to exist today, interestingly bearing consecutive case numbers 645'564, 645'565 and 645'566, the present being the last example 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 "simple" wristwatch chronographs with caliber 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 in-between the numbers
    "case no. 645'566, the present watch, 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. Most amazingly, the hour markers and ring with the fifth-of-a-seconds calibration are in dark blue hard enamel - opposed to black.
    It is interesting to note that the last example of this series, case no. 645'564, was sold at Christie's Geneva on the 14 November 2012 (lot 141) to a distinguished European Collector, following a fierce battle between several room and telephone bidders. The result, just short of 2 million Swiss Francs and then setting an auction record for any Patek Philippe chronograph reference 1579 ever sold at auction, is proof of the importance and historical relevance of this version amongst collectors. The second watch of this series (case number 645'565) is the pride of an important, private European collector. Both these watches are cherished trophies by the current owners and will make the present offering a very important opportunity for collectors - may be the last one for many years - to acquire one of these treasures.

    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.


    Provenance

    Christie's Geneva, Important Pocketwatches and Wristwatches, Tuesday, 18. May 2004, lot 271.