Patek Philippe. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Split-Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch with Breguet Numerals
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more The Gordon Bethune Collection of Fifty Exceptional Vintage Wristwatches
Patek Philippe. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Split-Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch with Breguet Numerals


Patek Philippe. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Split-Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch with Breguet Numerals
Signed Patek Philippe & Co., Geneve, Leading Apprentice Haleah Park, 1941, Ref. 1436, Movement No. 862'274, Case No. 621'854, Manufactured in 1939
Cal. 13"' mechanical movement stamped twice with the Geneva Seal, 25 jewels, silvered matte dial, applied gold Breguet numerals, outer five minute divisions, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minute register, circular case, two rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, split-seconds mechanism activated through the crown, snap on case back, 18k gold Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial, and movement signed
34mm diam.
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.

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Lot Essay

With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1939 with Breguet numerals and its subsequent sale on January 24th of 1941.

Wendall Eads was an American thoroughbred horse racing jockey, who in 1941, was described as the "leading apprentice" at Hialeah Park, one of the most famous racing parks in American history. Eads began to compete in horse races at an early age in Illinois, and was given a contract with a local horseman who recognized his talent. Trainer Carl Blair saw Eads race and bought out his contract so he could train this promising youth, and in his first couple years racing under Blair, he became the leading rider at several Kentucky races, most notably Keeneland and Churchill Downs. This success led him to the famed Calument Farms in Lexington, Kentucky, where his signed a two-year contract in 1941 at Hialeah Park.

Hialeah Park opened on January 15, 1925, and after a series of renovations and expansions, the race track was completed in 1932 and became one of the top tracks in America, both in terms of the races and the society members who frequented the events. Hialeah Park was named a historical landmark on January 12, 1988, and was continuously used until its official closing in 2001.

The time Wendell Eads spent at Hialeah Park became the most successful years of his jockey career. According to The American Racing Manual records, of 844 mounts in 1941, he won 150, placed in 110, and showed in 110, and earned a total of $343,556 that year. He was ranked the sixth top money earning jockey, and the eighth most winning jockey. In several publications, he was described as the "leading" or "star" apprentice of the park, and the present watch, with its unique dial choices and hard enamel inscription was most likely presented to Eads as the "Leading Apprentice, Hialeah Park, 1941. Shortly after his contract at Hialeah Park ended in 1943, Eads retired from the horse racing community.

Shortly after the introduction of the "simple" chronograph reference 130, Patek Philippe launched the reference 1436 with the same case design, but featuring also a split-seconds chronograph mechanism. Production of the reference 1436 began in 1938 and ran until 1971, and was cased predominantly in yellow gold.

The present split second chronograph reference 1436 is most certainly a unique watch since its dial was a specific order. This can be concluded by the fact that the inscription at the lower part of the dial is not a simple print on top of the dial, but made in black hard enamel underneath the coating of the dial. In fact, whereas some retailers signatures on dials were only added once the watch was completed and handed out by the local distributor to the authorized retailer, this dial must have been a specific order in all its elements; the Breguet numerals, a very typical feature for Patek Philippe's chronograph during the first half of the 1940's, were mounted on a chronograph dial, omitting any additional scales on the outer. Notably, this choice allowed the dial to "grow" and benefit in legibility. In fact, the horse racing environment does not demand any scales normally found on Patek Philippe chronographs of this period, notably pulsemeter, telemeter, or even tachometer, given the speed of horses. Instead, both subsidiary dials were now larger in size, a practical feature for its user who intends to measure lapped times. Complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches which were made to measure according to a specific request are exceedingly rare and are testimony of a golden era long gone by.

The model is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by M. Huber & A. Banbery, second edition, p. 273, pl. 422 (first generation) and p. 274, pl. 423 (second generation).

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