Patek Philippe. A superb and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with pulsation dial
Patek Philippe. A superb and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with pulsation dial


Patek Philippe. A superb and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with pulsation dial
Signed Patek Philippe, Geneve, ref. 1579, movement no. 862'753, case no. 660'235, movement manufactured in 1941, case and dial circa 1950, finished upon special request in 1991
Cal. 13''' nickel-finished lever movement, 23 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, the silvered matte dial with applied square-shaped and Arabic 6 and 12 numerals, feuille hands, outer ring calibrated for 14 pulsations, two subsidiary dials indicating constant seconds and 30 minutes registers, in large circular case with downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back, stainless steel Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed
36 mm. diam.

Lot Essay

Accompanied by Patek Philippe Duplicata of the Certificate of Origin confirming production of the present watch in stainless steel with applied white gold numerals and applied white gold Arabic numerals to 6 and 12. The Extract of the Archives confirms production of the movement of the present watch in 1941 and its subsequent sale on 23 December 1942; the original case, reference 685 in yellow gold, was replaced by the present case, bearing number 660'235, during a servicing in Patek Philippe's workshops in Geneva in 1991. Furthermore delivered with the sales tag and presentation box.

Stainless Steel
The virtues of stainless steel, durability, resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and its radiant shine, make it an ideal base material for a multitude of commercial items. Steel has been used since ancient days but a process for producing stainless steel was only developed in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Particularly in vogue during the Art Deco period, stainless steel was the favorite metal of many renowned watchmakers and jewellers and embellished their most beautiful pieces. It was also used for the interior and exterior decoration of houses, the most famous example being the spire of the Chrysler Building in New York. During the economical boom following World War II, when the production of watches and jewellery was nearly halted due to the rationing of metals, stainless steel had lost its appeal. Considered the "poor man's material", it was replaced by the more apparent yellow and pink gold, demonstrating the wearer's wealth. Consequently, production of stainless steel watch cases by the most prestigious makers was reduced drastically and only few examples of these small series produced in the late 1940s/early 1950s have survived to date.

The present watch constitutes a significant discovery to the world of wristwatch collecting as it is a true "new old stock" Patek Philippe chronograph reference 1579 in stainless steel. This watch is of great importance to purists as it is a superb witness of how a reference 1579 left the workshops of Patek Philippe, showing how all the case elements were originally finished. It is consequently a perfect example to all the other watches of the celebrated and complex reference 1579 when it comes to comparison, condition and possible restoration.

The stainless steel watch case, made around 1950 by the celebrated casemakers André and Edouard Wenger, remained on stock at Patek Philippe's workshops in Geneva until 1991 when it was assembled, upon special request of the original owner, a physician, with the period pulsometre dial, also unused Patek Philippe stock, and the chronograph movement supplied by him.

Since 1991, the watch has remained in the same family, unused and locked away in a vault, until its consignment to this auction in 2007. It is undoubtedly, thanks to the exclusive and very beautiful pulsation dial, the most astonishing example of a stainless steel reference 1579 ever to appear in public. The combination of its literally new condition, the charismatic and exceedingly rare pulsometre dial, absolute freshness to the market and private provenance render this watch an exquisite treasure for the discerning collector.

Reference 1579, introduced into the market in 1943, takes a unique position in the production of wristwatch chronographs at Patek Philippe, as it is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only one with facetted lugs. According to our researches, only six examples in stainless steel are publicly known to date.

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