PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
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PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
16 More
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL

REF. 605HU, MANUFACTURED IN 1950

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. AN EXTRAORDINARY, EXTREMELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD WORLD TIME KEYLESS WATCH WITH “NORTH AMERICA” MAP CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
REF. 605HU, MANUFACTURED IN 1950
Movement: Manual
Dial: “North America” map cloisonné enamel dial
Case: 44 mm.
With: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives, pouch
Remark: Exceptional condition, one out of four known with “North America” map
Note: Serial numbers are available upon request

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

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Lot Essay

THE ESMOND BRADLEY MARTIN REFERENCE 605 HU CLOISONNÉ DIAL ‘NORTH AMERICA’
This stunning example of Patek Philippe’s reference 605 HU (Heure Universelles) World Time dress watch with cloisonné enamel ‘North America’ dial is one of only a handful of these sublimely beautiful horological masterpieces known publicly. Furthermore, it has wonderful and impeccable provenance, its first owner was one of the great American watch collectors of the 20th century – Esmond Bradley Martin, who purchased this watch from Tiffany & Co. in New York in December 1957. For the past decade, it has been a highlight of an important private watch collection.
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 four, including the present watch, are decorated with the map of North America.



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 be 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.

Provenance:
Originally purchased by Esmond Bradley Martin at Tiffany & Co., New York.
Sotheby's, New York, 22 October 2002, Property from the Estate of Esmond Bradley Martin, lot 58.
Christie's, New York, 8 December 2003, lot 54.
Christie’s Geneva, 14 May 2012, Property of a Gentleman, lot 87.

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