An Early Example of An Iconic Reference
The presently offered 2497J is the third example of the reference ever to ever be made. The first example was the 2497 prototype with unique elongated lugs sold to Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr. Grandson of Henry Graves, Jr. (M: 888000 C: 663034) and the second was a 2497J with regular 2497 lugs M: 888001 C: 674366. The third, also with the typical 2497 lugs, is the 2497 presented here with M: 888002 C: 674367. It is interesting to note that these three early examples all feature '27 SC' stamped on the movements rather than the 27 SC Q seen on all later examples. Perhaps these early examples are all from the prototype phase of the launch project and the SC, or center seconds, was not yet fully described on the caliber as SC Q, or center seconds quantiemme (perpetual calendar).
The Perfect Combination of Rarity and Superlative Condition
The presently offered 2497 must be considered one of the most attractive examples of reference 2497 to ever appear publicly, revealing the best of all ingredients this important reference has to offer. Fresh to market, and rarely seen the light of day since 1954, this 2497 is a landmark discovery for the Patek Philippe market and offers the collector a chance to own a timepiece that is unquestionably best in class for the reference and arguably one of the best condition Patek Philippe complicated watches from the 1950s known to exist.
Remaining unworn for many years, the watch shows only very light signs of honest surface wear for a watch of its age. The case impresses with its full proportions, sharp fluting to the lugs, and crisp hallmarks. When the caseback is removed, it is obviously the back has only been opened a handful of times since the watch originally left the factory in the early 1950s. This superb example of the first series of reference is fitted with the more generous case proportions and alternating gold dot and Arabic numerals, as opposed to the applied gold baton numerals of the later generation.
The dial is free of all cosmetic enhancements and in absolutely original condition. The signature, dates, and scales are all beautifully raised as one would expect for an untouched dial. The dial color is warmly aged to an even tone and the crispness of the apertures further emphasizes the fact that the dial is untouched and was not exposed to the abuses of hard wear or restoration.
On top of the extraordinary condition, the watch is accompanied by its original Patek Philippe certificate or origin, sales receipt, and box. Fresh to the market, this 2497 is stunning in its condition and completeness, a trophy for the demanding collector.
Reference 2497 is without a doubt among the rarest, most attractive and important vintage complicated wristwatch models by Patek Philippe. It was in production from 1951 to 1964, and over these 14 years a meager 115 pieces were made in total. This means an incredibly low output of roughly 8 watches per year. It is powered by the 27SC Q movement, a perpetual calendar upgrade (Q stands for Quantième Perpétuel) of the best manually wound center seconds movement of the time: 27 SC (SC for Second au Centre). As a matter of fact, a specific movement number range was reserved for these movements: from 888’000 to 888’178. This means a total of 179 movements, 115 of them used for reference 2497 and the rest for its waterproof sister model, reference 2438/1.
The case of this reference is a virtual carbon copy of the case of reference 2499, without of course the chronograph pushers. As with reference 2499, the case design presents an evolution over time. The majority of these watches are cased in a Wenger case, featuring a domed case back and slightly downturned lugs. Very early examples, however, are cased in a Vichet case (case maker number 9), distinguished by markedly downturned lugs and a flat case back. The present timepiece is a representative of this rare and early variation of the model.
Accompanied by its original receipt from retailer Gubelin as well as original Patek Philippe certificate of origin and original presentation box, the present timepiece is offered in excellent condition. With full and crisp lugs and original dial, this represents a very rare opportunity for the discerning collector of vintage Patek Philippe.
Examples of reference 2497 are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by M. Huber & A. Banbery, second edition, pp. 285 & 287, and in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches, Volume II, pp. 295.