Consigned by an important private collector and not seen on the market for nearly thirty years, the present "tasti tondi" (Italian for round pushers), as this model is described by collectors, is extremely well preserved and particularly appealing.
Regularly worn by their owners, these iconic and noble sports watches have often not survived without visible traces of use. Consequently, examples preserved in such attractive overall condition as the present specimen are exceedingly rare. Its case shows beautiful and rich proportions, most obvious are the well-preserved edges of its bezel and lugs. The overall look of this beautiful timepiece is enhanced by the eye-catching dial, unrestored with beautifully raised hard enamel signatures and scales, displaying a great shine as the connoisseur would expect. The fact that only around twenty other 1463s are known with such a dial configuration obviously adds enormously to its appeal and collectibility.
The steel reference 1463 takes a particularly prominent position in many of even the most spoilt collectors' dreams and is a must-have for the true aficionado of vintage Patek Philippe. Examples with Breguet numerals are not only extraordinarily rare but in terms of looks are probably the most exciting and seducing combination among the reference. Specimens such as the present watch, where the Extract of the Archives confirms the Breguet numeral dial, are nigh on impossible to find.
Close inspection and research reveals that the present watch was originally sold in the United States, confirmed not only by the HOX export mark on the balance bridge of the movement but also by the tachymetre calibrated in miles rather than kilometers, a rare feature reserved for Patek Philippe chronographs intended for the U.S. market. Interestingly, the reference 1463 with the preceding movement number 868’195 is part of the Patek Philippe Museum Collection in Geneva. Identical to the present watch but cased in yellow gold, it was also made for the U.S. market and supplied to the Henri Stern Watch Agency in New York on 5th June 1952 – the very same date of sale as the present watch. One can therefore safely assume that both watches were part of the same shipment to Patek Philippe's celebrated retailer in New York.
Reference 1463 was produced from 1940 until the mid-1960s, however, the stainless steel model was only made until 1960. According to a 1947 advertisement by the New York firm of Black, Starr & Gorham, illustrated in Patek Philippe Steel Watches by John Goldberger, p. 286, the reference 1463 in steel with Breguet numerals had a retail price of US$425.
Reference 1463 is Patek Philippe's only vintage chronograph model with screw back case and round pushers. Even though the notion of "sports watch" is probably an invention of the late 20th century, there is certainly some explanation if one relates the stainless steel version of reference 1463 to this term. In fact, for over half a century there hasn't been any other model by Patek Philippe that better exemplifies the needs of a modern society enjoying outdoor activities and in particular sport during its spare time. In fact, whereas the chronograph movement responds to the sportsman's needs, the beautifully sculpted water-resistant case also protects it from humidity and dust.
The inside of the case back is stamped 'FB', the maker's mark for Taubert & Fils. From the late 19th century, when the company existed under the name Frères Borgel, Taubert & Fils was one of the finest Geneva-based case makers and specialized in water-resistant cases. The case shape has seen a number of improvements and changes over the years: the earliest type featured a more prominent but rather rounded bezel whereas later examples, such as the present, were fitted with a more angular, stepped bezel design. The lugs also developed from the straighter type to the prominent, curved "feet" of later generations as seen in the present watch.
An almost identical watch is illustrated and described in: Patek Philippe Steel Watches, John Goldberger, 2010, p. 286-287.
For another example of a stainless steel ref. 1463 chronograph see Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, p. 269, Inv. P-872.
The model is also illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 267