PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931
10 More
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931
13 More
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931

MANUFACTURED IN 1924

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN ASTONISHING, POSSIBLY UNIQUE AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD TOURBILLON KEYLESS WATCH WITH WHITE ENAMEL DIAL, BREGUET NUMERALS AND HANDS, ACCOMPANIED BY ITS ANTIMAGNETIC OBSERVATORY CONTEST STAINLESS STEEL CASE AND CONTEST SECTOR DIAL, FIRST PRIZE WINNING TOURBILLON AT THE GENEVA OBSERVATORY TIMING CONTEST IN 1931
MANUFACTURED IN 1924
Movement: Manual, tourbillon carriage made by James Pellaton, movement fitted with Guillaume-type balance, regulated by Patek Philippe’s most famous régleurs Jules Golay-Audemars
Dial: Enamel white dial, Breguet numerals and hands, accompanied by a silver sector dial and hands
Case: 57 mm.
With: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the 18k gold case, further mentioning "Geneva Observatory rating certificate obtained on 03.02.1931", accompanied by its antimagnetic observatory contest stainless steel case, contest sector dial and hands, and Patek Philippe presentation box
Remark: First Prize at the Timing Contest of 1931. To the best of our knowledge, no other Patek Philippe observatory chronometer watch is known publicly with both cases and both dials.
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

This important and large-size Geneva Observatory 1st Prize winning tourbillon is not only in exceptional condition and one of the finest high-precision Patek Philippe watches, it is also possibly unique in retaining both its original gold case and white enamel Breguet numeral dial and, in addition, its original antimagnetic observatory contest case and original contest silver sector dial. To the best of our knowledge, no other Patek Philippe observatory chronometer in private hands is known publicly with both cases and both dials surviving intact.
According to the Geneva Observatory records, the present movement was awarded a First Prize at the Timing Contest of 1931 with 782 marks out of a possible 1000. This chronometer was the 13th out of the 50 classified out of more than 600. The first in the trial gained 856 and the last 604, 58 chronometers were entered for the contest.. The tourbillon carriage was made by James Pellaton and the watch was adjusted by master adjuster Jules Golay-Audemars. In common with all Patek Philippe movements made for observatory testing, it is engraved with the movement number twice. The inscription "Extra" on the bridge of the movement refers to the very high finishing of all the parts of the movement. This watch achieved chronometer standard as attested to by the stamping of the movement with the Seal of Geneva (twice).
Patek Philippe’s early 20th century tourbillon watches for Observatory Contest are by their very nature among the very best precision timepieces ever made. Their prime purpose was to win prizes and accolades at the Observatory timing contests. The prestige conferred by obtaining consistent Observatory prizes was considerable, as a result, the company’s proven track record in making and adjusting watches to extremely fine tolerances resulted in greater commercial success for the brand as a whole.
The present movement is fitted with a Guillaume-type balance to reduce timekeeping errors caused by temperature fluctuation (middle temperature error). It was regulated for observatory trial by one of Patek Philippe's most famous régleurs, Jules Golay-Audemars who was also responsible in adjusting some of the watches sold to the exacting and fastidious American collector Henry Graves Jr. The régleurs were the highest paid workers in the watch industry because success in Observatory trials conferred reputation and prestige on the brand and therefore greater commercial success. The régleurs at Patek Philippe were regarded as the crème de la crème of the horological world.
Precision timekeeping has always been vital to the scientific community, and in 1873, the first annual chronometer competition was held at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory. Rigorous quantitative internationally recognized testing standards were established. The testing, which initially lasted for 40 days, consisted of placing the watches in various positions and temperature conditions. The prestigious watchmakers Patek Philippe were awarded First Prize in the competition as early as 1884.

Literature:
The present watch is extensively illustrated in: ‘Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Watches’ by John Goldberger, 2010.
The history of Patek Philippe’s Observatory trial successes is recounted in: Patek Philippe, The Authorized Biography, Nicholas Foulkes, 2016, chapter 11 “The age of the champion régleurs”, p. 219-237.
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