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PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL
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PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL
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This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules an… Read more PATEK PHILIPPE'L'HEURE D'OR'THE FIRST EXAMPLE OF THE REFERENCE 2523 TWO CROWN WORLD TIME - THE FIRST TIME AT AUCTIONTHE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL

SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENEVE, REF. 2523, MOVEMENT NO. 720'300, CASE NO. 305'699, MANUFACTURED IN 1953

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTREMELY FINE, HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND THE FIRST 18K GOLD TWO CROWN WORLD-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH 24 HOURS INDICATION AND FIRST TIME SEEN WAVED GUILLOCHE GOLD DIAL
SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENEVE, REF. 2523, MOVEMENT NO. 720'300, CASE NO. 305'699, MANUFACTURED IN 1953
Movement: Cal. 12-400 HU, manual
Dial: Guilloché gold centre, outer silvered revolving ring with names of 41 world cities adjusted by the crown at 9
Case: Snap on back, 35.5 mm.
With: 18k gold Patek Philippe buckle, Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with raised gold indexes and guilloché gilt centre in 1953 and its subsequent sale on 8th October 1958, Study by Eric Tortella, 2021
Remark: First example of the reference
Literature
Four ref. 2523 are displayed in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

Ref. 2523 watches are illustrated in: Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Martin Huber and Alan Banbery, 1998 edition, pp. 240 to 242.

Other examples are illustrated in: Patek Philippe Museum book, 2014 edition, Volume 2, pp.345 & 346.

Ref. 2523 watches are illustrated in: Blue Book 2, Eric Tortella, 2019 edition, pp. 354 to 399.
Special notice

This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules and 7.7% VAT will be charged on the ‘hammer’ and the ‘buyer’s premium’
Sale room notice
Please note the following lots require a High Value Paddle for bidding; 33 and 88, Should you wish to bid on these lots please contact Client Services; infoswitzerland@christies.com

Brought to you by

Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Department, Geneva

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Lot Essay

It is always a rare and much anticipated event when any example of reference 2523 is offered at international auction. It is therefore with great excitement that Christie’s now offers to international collectors and all admirers of Patek Philippe, not only a superb example of reference 2523 but also the very earliest specimen of the two crown world time wristwatch ever made. Furthermore, the beautiful gold guilloche dial is not known on any other yellow gold example of the reference. Never before seen at auction, the present watch which is fully Extract confirmed can be considered an exemplar of Patek Philippe’s 1950s ‘golden age, when design, craftsmanship and technological advancement coincided to perfection. Being the earliest reference 2523 to be manufactured, this historic watch has an immense status even amongst the ultra-rare two crown world time model and can be considered as the cornerstone watch of the entire reference.

Patek Philippe’s two-crown reference 2523 is one of the ultimate world-class rarities, sitting alongside the other Patek Philippe wristwatch legends such as the steel reference 1518 and the first series 2499. Made in extremely small numbers, a total of only 26 examples were ever made in either yellow or pink gold and one example in white gold.

Until the discovery of the present watch, the earliest known case number was 306’193. The present watch with case number 305’699 is also fitted with the earliest movement number 720’300. Whilst undoubtedly the first ever production watch of reference 2523, it was perhaps also the last ‘prototype’ piece for the final design. The following list shows the known sequence of reference 2523 with movement numbers starting with ‘720’.

Movement Case Dial
720’300 - 305’699 – Yellow gold –Guilloché – The Present Watch
720’301 - 306’193 – Yellow gold – Eurasia cloisonné dial
720’302 - unknown
720’303 - 306’197 - Yellow gold – Eurasia cloisonné dial
720’304 - 306’201 - Yellow gold – Eurasia cloisonné dial
720’305 - unknown
720’306 - 306’196
720’307 - 306’198
720’308 - 306’199 - Pink gold - Guilloché
720’309 - unknown
720’310 - unknown
720’311 - unknown

Further Detail of Watch no. 720300, case no. 305699

The Dial

Made by Stern Frères and under dial mechanism by Stern Frères in coordination with Cottier. Probably unique guilloché yellow gold centre with applied yellow gold indexes. Revolving silver 24 hours ring, day silvered and night black. Two gold applied dots for the noon and midnight markers. Silvered outer dial ring for the cities, with engraved enamelled 41 cities around the World according to the time zone. Gold Lys hour hand and Dauphine minutes hand.

The Case

Serial no. 305’699, made by Antoine Gerlach, Geneva Master case maker key 4, three-piece, snapped bezel and back, bevelled cut bezel with angled and faceted turned down lugs, both hallmarks visible and legible, solid gold crowns.

The Movement

Serial no. 720’300, made in 1953, cal. 12 400 HU (Heures Universelles) with Cottier’s dial modification; bimetallic balance, swan-neck micrometer regulator.
The calibre 12 400, evolved from the calibre 12 120, it was made from 1950 and was numbered from 720’000 to 729’999. It was the best 12’’’ calibre with subsidiary seconds of its time with 18 jewels and 18’000 oscillations.

The World Time System

The revolutionary world time system - or ‘Heures Universelles’ was designed and patented in the early 1930s by legendary watchmaker Louis Cottier (1884-1966). Patek Philippe immediately saw its potential and commissioned Cottier with the development and production of a series of ‘World Time’ watches.
The world time mechanism of the reference 2523 is a functional complication that is simple to calibrate. One must first set the local or mean time by the crown at 3 o'clock (the 24 hour ring will revolve in the opposite direction of the hands). Then the outer ring is adjusted by turning the crown at 9 o'clock until one's current global location is indicated at the 12 o'clock position. Once this is calibrated, the relative time of each world location is set. The two-tone 24-hour ring indicates world locations that are in night time by the grey section and daytime by the silvered section.

History of the Reference 2523 HU, 1953-1957

Ref. 2523 HU (Heures Universelles) was launched in 1953, produced in replacement of the former ref. 1415 HU (1939-1954).
Louis Cottier, a Geneva watchmaker who invented the ‘World Time’ system in the mid 1930’s, delivered around 45 modified caliber ‘12 400’ movements to Patek Philippe gradually from 1953 until 1965; the calibre 12 400, becoming 12 400 HU with Cottier’s modification. It is thought that in total only 26 watches were cased with ref. 2523, 18 in yellow gold, 7 in pink gold, 1 white gold. Even though ref. 2523 was listed and sold until the mid-1960’s, the 25 yellow or pink gold cases were ordered between 1953 and 1954 and the only white gold known in 1955. The yellow and pink cases were gradually delivered to Patek until 1957. After 1957, 20 more ref. 2523-1, with less prominent lugs, were made, about the same case distribution ratio. The tree-piece cases of the ref 2523 and 2523-1 (35.5mm diam.) were all made by Antoine Gerlach. The dials were made by Stern Frères, in particular the outer world time ring, the ref. 2523 was usually produced with enamel dial decoration, translucent or cloisonné, or, like the present watch, with a metal dial.

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

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