Stunningly attractive, the present watch is an extremely rare example of a black dial reference 530, one of only three pieces in steel with black dial currently known publically. Considered one of the most appealing vintage Patek Philippe references thanks to its large dimensions and timeless design, reference 530 was originally released as a time only model; later a chronograph version, with the same reference number and design was introduced.
The presence of a Black dial with steel numerals on any vintage steel cased Patek Philippe watch is considered legendary by collectors, uniting two of the rarest and most sought-after traits to be found in any Patek Philippe model.
Black dials were almost never offered as a standard option, usually reserved only for special orders, they are consequently exceedingly rare. From our research, most of the very few known pieces with black dial and steel cases, both wrist and pocket watches, were made and sold between 1938 and 1943 – the early to middle years of World War II. This includes wristwatch references 530 and 1503 both existing with black dials on a very small number of watches. The reason for the production of this small cluster of steel watches with black dials in the late 30s and early 40s is interesting to contemplate, was it perhaps that some clients wanted to appear less ostentatious and more discreet during wartime whilst at the same time enjoying the ultimate luxury of a Patek Philippe watch?. Furthermore, in relationship to the price of the watch, the difference in cost between a steel and a gold case was negligible and therefore the choice of a steel case was certainly no cost saving exercise. Whatever the reason, the legacy is a small and rarefied group of watches, including the present watch, that are amongst the most desirable of all Patek Philippe timepieces.
As confirmed by the Extract from the Archives, the present watch was manufactured with a black dial with raised steel hour markers. However, sometime later it was fitted with a silver dial, in all likelihood simply to bring it into line with the fashion at the time. Being a very discerning and highly dedicated collector, upon acquiring this watch, the present owner decided to try to find an original Patek Philipe black dial with steel numerals to return the watch to its original and breathtaking appearance. This was thought to be an almost impossible task but after a search lasting nearly a decade, remarkably a suitable dial was discovered, as everyone would agree, this watch has now been returned back to its original splendour.
In production from 1937 and 1944, reference 530 is one of Patek Philippe's signature pieces. The model has a large diameter of 36.5 mm and a concave bezel.