Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, historically important and possibly unique platinum full calendar wristwatch with moon phases
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more THE PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, historically important and possibly unique platinum full calendar wristwatch with moon phases


Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, historically important and possibly unique platinum full calendar wristwatch with moon phases
Signed Patek Philippe & Co, Geneve, retailed by Guillermin Paris, Calatrava model, ref. 96, movement no. 198'103, case no. 294'400, movement manufactured in 1927, upgraded with the present case in 1935
Cal. 11''' nickel-finished lever movement, 18 jewels, wolf's tooth winding, silvered matte dial, applied facetted baton numerals, outer Arabic date ring with central date hand, aperture for moon phases at 12 o'clock pointing downwards, two central windows for day and month, subsidiary seconds, circular case, flat bezel, snap on back, case signed by maker and stamped by retailer, dial and movement signed
30 mm. diam.
1927 - 1935: cased in tonneau-shaped case, unsold at Patek Philippe's branch
1935: recased in current platinum reference 96 case
1935 - 1990: property of the original owner's family
22 February 1990: Important Clocks, Watches, Wristwatches and Barometers, Sotheby's London, lot 184, sold UKP 308,000
1990 - 2010: property of the present owner, an important private collector
Special notice
Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with raised gold hour markers in 1937 and its subsequent sale on 22 July 1939. The Extract furthermore states that the original case was replaced by the case bearing the number 292'400 in Patek Philippe's workshops during a servicing in 1935.

When the present triple calendar watch was finished in 1927 in a then avant-garde tonneau case and sent to Patek Philippe's Paris branch for sale, one must assume that there was reasonable optimism at the firm's Geneva headquarters that the watch would soon fine a connoisseur buyer who would appreciate its quality and complexity. Instead, it remained unsold for another eight years, certainly worsened by the aftermath of the 1929 crash and the ongoing great economical depression. One can only assume that when buying power had resurfaced around the world's capitals the original tonneau design was no longer up to date and consequently it was requested that the valuable movement would be given a new life in a state of the art platinum Calatrava case.

Manufactured at an epoch when the production of complicated wristwatches was still in its infancy, the present watch is an important witness for the development of modern watchmaking. Until around 1940, watches featuring calendar functions were either unique or produced in extremely small series only, sometimes special orders made at a client's request. Such timepieces were easily recognizable by the half moon-shaped display of the moon phases as opposed to the individual subsidiary dial of later versions.

The present reference 96 "full calendar Calatrava" offered is an excellent example for one of these extraordinarily rare horological masterworks. The ébauche for this unusual watch was made by Victorin Piguet & Co. of Le Sentier who, during the 1920s, supplied most of the ébauches for complicated movements exclusively for prestigious firms like Patek Philippe. It was then delivered to Patek Philippe and finished in their workshops already in 1927, rendering it one of the earliest full calendar wristwatches with moon phases ever made. Originally fitted into the tonneau-shaped, more typical case-form of the period, and fitted with a silvered dial with Breguet numerals, it remained in the stock of Patek Philippe in Paris until 1934. Upon request of one of the firm's customers, it was re-cased into the present, modernized round Calatrava case and sold on 7 January 1935.

Research has furthermore resulted in the discovery of only two other references 96 with full calendar in yellow gold and four cased in platinum, however all with varying dial layouts. Two of the platinum versions are on permanent exhibit at the prestigious Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

Reference 96, unquestionably Patek Philippe's most legendary design, was introduced in 1932. Incorporating elements of Bauhaus, late Art Deco and modernism, it is the perfect 1930s effigy, its timeless case proportions as modern today as they were at the time of its creation. Amongst connoisseurs, reference 96 is better known as Calatrava, a name which stands for avant-garde philosophy thanks to its subtle, elegant lines - clearly Patek Philippe's signature piece.

Whereas reference 96 is best known for its simplicity and the absence of any further functions, the present watch is a historically important example of this model featuring a full calendar. The weekdays and months are shown digitally in rectangular apertures placed in the centre of the dial, the date on an outer scale indicated by a blued steel hand and the moon phases at the twelve o'clock position.

In nearly 80 years of existence, the present watch has only changed hands once before, further amplifying its importance. This horological marvel is one of the exceedingly rare opportunities to add a historically important masterpiece to any discerning collection.

The present watch in its original tonneau-shaped case and with the original dial is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, first edition, p. 209, pl. 356, second edition, p. 277, pl. 427.

More from Important Watches

View All
View All