With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1955 with luminous laped gold hour makers and its subsequent sale on 21 March 1956.
Considered by many to be among the pinnacles of Patek Philippe's mid-20th century design, the reference 2508 distinguishes itself from its "time-only" brethren with a uniquely balanced case design. The 2508 was Patek Philippe's first foray into waterproof case designs for non-complicated wristwatches. Previously, the only waterproof wristwatch was the reference 1463 chronograph, from which the 2508 would borrow the entirety of its form. The downturned lugs, perfectly proportioned dial, and screw-back case profile produce a masculine and most pleasing wrist presence not found in other Calatravas. The 2508 could be considered a successor to the legendary reference 570, though with a "sportier" feel, and forerunner to "Amagnetic" references due to its "double case-back" design. Inside the 2508 beats the legendary 27SC, covered by a metal dust cap to keep moisture and magnetism at bay - a trait found predominantly in "tool" watches, making this reference a unique offering in Patek Philippe's lineage.
This example, never seen before in an auction room, is marked with several uncommon, desirable traits. The dial of this waterproof Calatrava has remained completely unaltered over the last half-century, demonstrated by the rich, hard enamel printing and pronounced definition of all letters and accents in the signature and minute track. The dial itself retains a beautiful cream color, hardly aged over time, without a solitary blemish to be seen. Accenting this dial are lapped, 18K gold, luminous filled hour markers. Luminous Calatravas are very rare, and highly sought after by collectors. What makes this example even more attractive is that the Extract confirms this dial to have contained radium upon production. Complimenting the luminous hour markers are radium-filled gold dagger hour and minute hands, and a rare, but undoubtedly original blue running seconds hand.
The case remains before unpolished, with neither a scratch nor smudge to be seen. The hallmarks are as pronounced as the most discerning collector could dream of, and this watch retains all original components, including the crown, crystal, and seconds hand. This 2508 in "like new" condition, despite leaving the manufacture over fifty years ago, and would be a prized possession for any seasoned collector. In fact, the present lot is consigned by a celebrated figure within the world of wristwatches, noted journalist and founder of popular online horology magazine HODINKEE, Benjamin Clymer. Clymer is considered to be among the most influential men in the world of watches today, with a cult-like following of enthusiasts. It could be said that few see more wristwatches than Benjamin Clymer, which speaks to the quality of the present lot. The previous owner was a noted European collector who maintained its "new old stock" condition for decades. This watch's provenance coupled with several rarely seen, desirable traits, in absolutely unrestored condition, indeed sets a new standard for the reference.
Other examples of reference 2508 are described and illustrated in Patek Philippe Museum, Patek Philippe Watches, Volume II, p. 230.