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Patek Philippe. A spectacular and probably unique 18K white gold automatic wristwatch with black dial, diamond-set numerals and 18K white gold bracelet
Patek Philippe. A spectacular and probably unique 18K white gold automatic wristwatch with black dial, diamond-set numerals and 18K white gold bracelet

SIGNED PATEK PHILIPPE, GENÈVE, REF. 2526, MOVEMENT NO. 764'728, CASE NO. 3'603'314, MANUFACTURED IN 1957

Details
Patek Philippe. A spectacular and probably unique 18K white gold automatic wristwatch with black dial, diamond-set numerals and 18K white gold bracelet
Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 2526, movement no. 764'728, case no. 3'603'314, manufactured in 1957
Cal. 12'''600 automatic lever movement stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 30 jewels, Gyromax balance, engine-turned 18K gold rotor, black lacquered dial, applied diamond indexes, white gold dauphine hands, subsidiary seconds, circular water-resistant-type case, screw back, 18K white gold Patek Philippe bracelet by Ponti Gennari, model G, case, bracelet, dial and movement signed
35.5 mm. diam.

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Sabine Kegel

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Lot Essay

With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the production of the present watch with black dial and diamond indexes, white gold bracelet in 1957 and its subsequent sale on 8 December 1958.

Reference 2526 takes a historically most relevant role in the further establishing of Patek Philippe's fame to be the premier manufacturer of the world's finest wristwatches. In fact, it was this landmark model to be given the privilege to house the first automatic calibre ever by Patek Philippe, the famous 12'''-600. This state-of-the-art calibre with the main spring wound through the oscillating movements of a massive 18k gold engine-turned rotor is seen by many as the most lavishly finished automatic movement ever made by any manufacturer.

Reference 2526 furthermore gained celebrity status amongst watch collectors as it was generally fitted with a beautiful ivory coloured enamel dial. The egg-shell hue displayed by this dial is unique and ensures that still today, over half a century later, this model still enjoys massive popularity amongst collectors.

Some examples were fitted with extraordinary gold bracelets of the highest quality. Always removable, some were in the more traditional brick-stone design, others of more fanciful shape and construction. The most lavish bracelet version used for this model is certainly the type where the central links resemble scallops.

The "twenty five- twenty six" was mostly cased in yellow gold and in a smaller number also in pink gold, mostly reserved to the South American market. Very few examples of this landmark model were case in white gold or platinum. These two versions were not only available with the sought after ivory coloured enamel dial, but some were also fitted with silvered dial featuring diamond-set hour markers.

Besides the traditional enamel dial and the exclusive "tuxedo version" with diamonds, hardly any other dial variants were ever made. Experienced collectors and scholars would list a small handful of enamel dials with Breguet numerals and an equally limited number of black dials.

The present reference 2526 unites, in each "discipline", the rarest and most sought after version ever made and available. Cased in white gold, the rarest of the four case metals available to this model, it is also fitted with the most exclusive bracelet type, also in white gold. The most astounding feature however is the black lacquer dial featuring diamonds as hour markers. This dial has so far only been seen once on another watch (in platinum) and is beyond a doubt the rarest dial typology. To one's full satisfaction but also surprise, the case material, bracelet and dial version are all absolutely original to the watch and fully confirmed by the archives of Patek Philippe. Our research shows that no other example of this historic model is like the present one, rendering this example here probably unique.

The good news to the avid connoisseur don't end here: this reference 2526, offered for the first time at auction ever, is preserved in superb condition and all elements are original to the watch.

With the standard dial version, reference 2526 is always a masterpiece, regardless of the case version. An example of this milestone model where each element is consistently the rarest, most sought after and aesthetically most eye-catching, as it is the case here, must be considered a collector's watch of substantial interest and considerable gravitas.

Other examples of reference 2526 are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, first édition pp. 168-169, second édition pp. 213, 216-217.

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