PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
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PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
13 More
PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL

REF. 605HU, MANUFACTURED IN 1948

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K GOLD WORLD TIME POCKET WATCH WITH WORLD MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
REF. 605HU, MANUFACTURED IN 1948
Movement: Manual
Dial: Cloisonné enamel world map
Case: 44 mm.
With: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives, Patek Philippe service invoice 2022
Remark: Fresh to the market, exceptional condition, one out of three known
Note: Serial numbers are available upon request

Brought to you by

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

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Lot Essay

THE REFERENCE 605 HU DE CLOISONNÉ DIAL ‘WORLD MAP’
It is always a very exciting moment when a previously unknown example of one of the great vintage rarities of Patek Philippe is discovered and offered for the very first time at auction. Fresh to the market, this exemplary example of Patek Philippe’s reference 605 HU (Heure Universelles) World Time dress watch with cloisonné enamel ‘World Map’ dial is one such discovery. Highly important, only a handful of these sublimely beautiful horological masterpieces are known publicly. Christie’s is delighted to be able to offer this great vintage Patek Philippe classic rarity to international collectors.
Patek Philippe watches with cloisonné enamel dials rank amongst the rarest jewels within the widespread family of horological masterpieces. It goes without saying that the combination of such a lavish, colourful and artistic dial, paired with a complicated movement catapults a vintage watch beyond exclusivity.
From 1939 to 1964 Louis Cottier and Patek Philippe produced up to 95 pieces of reference 605, for a total production of 68 watches in yellow gold and 27 in pink gold. Reference 605 was available with a plain metal dial or a unique cloisonné enamel dial. The latter could depict individual continents, hemispheres or even the entire planet. The reference was one of the earliest to use Louis Cottier’s world time system and each watch was made under Cottier’s direct supervision to ensure that the world time mechanism worked flawlessly even after it was cased.

Patek Philippe’s cloisonné dial watches are always among the rarest and most exclusive watches of any reference. Today, only around 12 surviving examples of reference 605 HU are known with cloisonné dials, however only two, including the present watch, are known to be decorated with this style of World map:

Movement no. 930’837 – sold Phillips Geneva, 12-13 May 2018, lot 266 (later fitted dial signed ‘LC’)
Movement no. 930'867 – The present watch

The Cloisonné Dial
Cloisonné enamel dials quite naturally take a prominent position in terms of beauty, craftsmanship and rarity. Highly detailed and made by the very best enamel artists of the period, cloisonné enamel dials can be found decorated with other popular subjects such as tropical oasis, sail boats, flowers, portraits and maps. The dial maker Stern Frères supplied most of the great watch houses. The production of these solid gold dials was extremely costly as they had to be individually made by a skilled craftsman and not on a production line. The artist created the outline of the desired motif by arranging thin gold wires on a dial. These partitions, called ‘cloisons’ in French, were filled with small quantities of enamel powder in the desired colour. The dial was then fired in an oven at around 900 degrees Celsius causing the powder to melt. Finally it was hand-polished until a perfectly flat surface was obtained. Hand-made by celebrated enamel artists, notably Nelly Richard and Marguerite Koch, these dials can be regarded as unique works of art in their own right.

Vintage cloisonné dials such as the present dial exhibit a certain colour palette which is softer and more tonal than modern enamels. The beautiful effects were achieved because in the 1950s, materials such as lead, mercury and cyanide were still being used in the enamelling process. For obvious reasons they can no longer used and the result is that the new enamel techniques seen on recent cloisonné enamel dial watches, for example, although still of the very best craftsmanship and masterfully executed, have a bolder less spontaneous quality. Collectors today understand these subtle differences and early examples from the 1950s such as the present watch are consequently very highly prized.


Literature:
A reference 605 HU is described and illustrated in: Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, p. 339, Inv. P-207.

Reference 605 HU
From 1939 to 1964 Louis Cottier and Patek Philippe produced a total of 95 pieces, for a total production of 68 watches in yellow gold and 27 in pink gold. Reference 605 was available with a plain metal dial or a unique cloisonné enamel dial. The latter could depict individual continents, hemispheres or even the entire planet.

Heure Universelle & Louis Cottier
The world time or “Heure Universelle” mechanism was invented in 1931 by the celebrated Geneva watchmaker Louis Cottier (1894-1966). The technology was incorporated into watches by several of Switzerland's leading watch firms, including Patek Philippe (ref. 605, 1415, 2523), Vacheron & Constantin (ref. 3372), Agassiz and Rolex (ref. 4262). Cottier further improved the system in 1953 with the ability to adjust the city disk via a secondary crown, this allowed Patek Philippe to eventually patent a system in 1958 where the hour hand could be moved without affecting the regular progression of the minute hand.

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