PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD ‘PETE’ H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD ‘PETE’ H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD ‘PETE’ H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.
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PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD ‘PETE’ H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.
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Lot incorporates material from endangered species … Read more
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD ‘PETE’ H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.

REF. 2497, MANUFACTURED IN 1951

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND HISTORIC 18K GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, MOON PHASES, CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, PATEK PHILIPPE SALES RECEIPT, SOLD TO REGINALD PETE H. FULLERTON JR., GRANDSON OF HENRY GRAVES JR.
REF. 2497, MANUFACTURED IN 1951
Movement: cal. 27 SC, manual, 18 jewels, signed
Dial: silvered, applied dot and Arabic numerals, English calendar, signed
Case: snap on back, 37.8 mm. diam., signed
With: detachable 18K gold Gay Frères for Patek Philippe bracelet, original Certificate of Origin, Patek Philippe sales receipt dated 22 September 1960 for 4315 Francs ($1000), Customs receipt, original product brochure for a standard Ref. 2497, embossed Patek Philippe envelope, Extract from the Archives confirming manufacture of the present watch in 1951 and its subsequent sale on 22 September 1960
Remark: Irreproachable provenance, remarkable condition, prototype '888'000' movement number, full set of papers, detachable bracelet, uniquely shaped lugs, uniquely shaped Arabic hour markers, unique piece
Special notice

Lot incorporates material from endangered species that is not for sale and is shown for display purposes only. The endangered species strap shown with the Lot is for display purposes only and is not for sale.Upon sale, the watch will not be supplied to a buyer outside Hong Kong with any watch strap.

Brought to you by

Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler Vice President, Head of Watches, Asia Pacific

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Lot Essay

This phenomenal watch, offered complete with its original Certificate of Origin and original 1960 sales receipt, is one of the most significant reference 2497s in private hands today. Furthermore, it was purchased new from the Patek Philippe salon in Geneva by Reginald H. Fullerton Jr., the grandson of the firm’s most famous client, Henry Graves Jr., a provenance that is considered irreproachable in the world of Patek Philippe.

Regarded as the ‘prototype’ watch and starting point for reference 2497, it is of immense historical importance as the very first example of the reference and also in the wider development of Patek Philippe’s ‘golden age’ complicated wristwatches during the 1950s. Indeed, this was the very watch that was displayed on the Patek Philippe stand at the Basel Fair in 1953 to promote the proposed new model.

Christie’s are extremely proud to offer to our clients, international collectors and all admirers of Patek Philippe watches this extraordinarily rare wristwatch. Not seen in public for over a decade, this collector’s dream has been consigned by an important private gentleman who is, remarkably, only the watch’s second owner since its original purchase by Reginald H. Fullerton Jr. in 1960.

The History and Significance of Reference 2497, movement no. 888000, case no. 663034
In September 1960, Reginald H. Fullerton travelled with his mother to Switzerland bringing several of his late grandfather Henry Graves Jr.’s watches with him for servicing at Patek Philippe. It was during that visit to the company’s salon in Geneva that the present watch was offered to and bought by Mr. Fullerton, who would have immediately understood and appreciated its importance and rarity.

Production of this first ever reference 2497 was started in 1951 as the test piece or prototype for the proposed new model and it was ready for the Basel Fair of 1953. The case features elongated narrow curved lugs and is fitted with the first movement of the series, no. 888’000 which is a caliber 27 SC to which the Victorin Piguet workshops upgraded with the under dial perpetual calendar feature patented by Patek Philippe. Later examples of reference 2497 were engraved ’27 SC Q’ in reference to the perpetual calendar feature. At around this time, three or four other watches were made to the same design as the present watch just as necessary for demonstration and display purposes, these few pieces were given the reference 2498 but were never available for sale. Following the Basel fair it was decided to redesign the case of the 2497, the eventual production model has shorter and wider fluted lugs almost identical to the reference 2499. The present watch which has the reference number 2497 punched on the inside of the case remains as a singular and unique piece of the reference with the original ‘prototype’ case design.

It is probable that Patek Philippe never intended to sell this important archive watch. However, for such an important customer as Reginald H. Fullerton, they would have wanted to offer him a fittingly impressive and exclusive complicated watch and, for that purpose, the present watch fitted the bill perfectly.

Sold from the estate of Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr. in 2012, both the wonderful untouched condition of the watch and the careful preservation of the original Certificate, sales receipt and even customs receipt showed how particular and fastidious a collector Reginald ‘Pete’ Fullerton was. In this he was continuing the tradition his grandfather Henry Graves Jr. had instilled in him, insisting that no elements of the dials or cases of his watches were ever changed or restored during services at Patek Philippe.

The appearance of this truly exception watch at auction, of incalculable importance in understanding the evolution of reference 2497, offers collectors the once in a generation chance to own a Patek Philippe that is a piece of functional history.

The Dial
Made by Stern Frères in 1951, probably a solid gold base plate, matte silvered finish, applied yellow gold hand-cut Arabic numerals and dots, hand-cut calendar and moon phase windows, champlevé black hard enamel signature, outer seconds track and subsidiary calendar scale, hand-made gold ‘feuille’ hour and minute hands, blued steel date and seconds hand. The enamelled outer seconds scale, signature and subsidiary calendar dial were first engraved by hand by an engraver artist, the enameller would then fill the engravings and heat the dial at around 900 degrees.

The Case
Case no. 663’034 was made in 1951 by master case maker Emile Vichet, three-piece 18K yellow gold with snap on back and snap on bezel, the flat back of the type used on the final reference 2497. Gold crown, date correctors and spring bars for the bracelet. Inside case back with the maker’s signature, punched by Patek Philippe, Switzerland designation always at the same position and punched at the same time as the signature, Swiss ‘Helvetia’ hallmark, 18K/0.750 for the gold title punched by the casemaker, case number generally punched by the casemaker following Patek Philippe’s instructions. Two Swiss gold hallmarks on the main body, the head of Helvetia and the ‘G’ for Geneva underneath, one placed on the underside of the upper left hand lug, the other on the main body. The underside of the bezel is scratched numbered ‘034’, the last three digits of the case number.

The Movement
Movement no. 888’000 was made in 1951 and is the first movement to feature perpetual calendar and sweep centre seconds to be issued from the 27 SC caliber series. Prior to the production of this movement, very few of the caliber had the perpetual calendar feature mounted. It is interesting to note that the caliber 27 SC was only engraved ’27 SCQ’ for the addition of the perpetual calendar after a few movements were made. The present watch, no. 888’000 and no. 888’001 do not bear the ‘Q’ and are still engraved ’27 SC’ only.

We are grateful to Eric Tortella for his assistance and study in researching this watch.

Provenance:
Purchased by Reginald ‘Pete’ H. Fullerton, Jr. (1933-2012), grandson of Henry Graves, Jr. (1868-1953) from Patek Philippe’s Geneva boutique in September 1960.
Sotheby’s New York, Watches from the Collection of the Late Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr. and his Grandfather Henry Graves Jr., 14 June 2012, lot 17.
The Property of an Important Private Collector

Literature:
Ref. 2498J and calibre 27 SCQ are illustrated in : Patek Philippe
Wristwatches, M. Huber & H. Banbery, 1998 edition, p. 285,
figure 283.
Ref. 2497 is illustrated in the ‘Blue Book 1’, 2018 edition by Eric Tortella, page 536-539
It is also illustrated in: Patek Philippe Museum Vol. II, Patek Philippe, 2014 edition, p. 294.

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