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Patek Philippe. A Rare 18k Gold Automatic Wristwatch with Unusual Dial
Patek Philippe. A Rare 18k Gold Automatic Wristwatch with Unusual Dial

SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENÈVE, REF. 2552, MOVEMENT NO. 762'567, CASE NO. 693'489, MANUFACTURED IN 1955

Details
Patek Philippe. A Rare 18k Gold Automatic Wristwatch with Unusual Dial
Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, Ref. 2552, Movement No. 762'567, Case No. 693'489, Manufactured in 1955
Movement: Automatic, Cal. 12-600, stamped HOX, stamped with the Geneva seal, 30 jewels
Dial: Silvered, baton numerals, gilt central script reading; Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You, subsidiary seconds
Case: 18k gold, screw back, 35.5mm diam.
Strap/Buckle: Associated leather strap, associated gold plated buckle
Accompanied By: A Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming date of sale on November 5, 1956

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Lot Essay

It was a mystery that perplexed collectors of Patek Philippe watches for many years: What was the origin of these gold Patek Philippe reference 2526 and 2552 watches with "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You" on the dial in a semi-circle around the hour markers to the subsidiary seconds dial? It was after some discovery, that it was determined these "Golden Rule" watches were likely all ordered by then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson as expensive gifts, likely all through Tiffany & Co., in the 1950s. At least one was given to Senator George Smathers of Florida in 1956 while it is likely that others were gifts to other elected officials and campaign supporters of then-Senator Johnson.

Two of these watches are in the LBJ Museum, while a number have come to market and auction over the years. Given the high cost of these watches, one must believe that they were gifts for very important persons. Previously, auction houses have called these watches with these dials “Masonic” Pateks, which could be somewhat correct as LBJ was initiated as a Mason in 1937, although it is understood that he did not pursue it after that time.

The present watch was recently discovered in Texas and is fresh to market. It has a movement and case serial close to other LBJ 2552 examples, helping lend legitimacy to the fact it was likely a gift from LBJ to a friend in Texas. Furthermore, it has HOX stamped on the movement, indicating its original importation to the United States, just as for the other known 2526 and 2552 examples. Unusually, Patek Philippe does not have record of the dials for most of these watches, suggesting that the dials may have been placed on the watches at Tiffany & Co. in the United States.

For more information on these LBJ "Do Unto Others" watches, please see the article, "Historical Perspectives: Your Complete Guide To The Watches Of United States Presidents (Updated Yet Again)" by Eric Wind on HODINKEE.com.

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