Accompanied by an Extract from the Patek Philippe Archives confirming the date of manufacture as 1949 and its subsequent sale on November 10th of the same year. The extract further confirms that this watch left the factory with the Breguet steel numerals and tachometer scale.
According to our research the present watch has never before appeared at auction. It is only one of approximately 20 examples of the reference 1463 in stainless steel with Breguet numerals known to the market.
The reference 1463 was produced from 1940 until the mid 1960s however the stainless steel model was only made until 1960.
Shelby H. Curlee founded the Curlee Clothing Company in 1901 and over the years the firm became a nationally recognized and respected name in the menswear industry. His son, Shelby Curlee Jr. later joined the firm after attending Yale and Harvard Business School. Shelby Curlee married Willie Esther in 1937 and their children included a son named Shelby Harold Curlee, presumably the third generation and the original owner of the present watch as inscribed on the back of the case.
The family's clothing business first resided at 405-409 Cruise Street in Corinth, Mississippi where it operated from 1901-1905 as the Corinth Woolen Mills. The company later moved to St. Louis in 1905 and changed its name to the Curlee Clothing Company. At the end of WWII it was a larger national firm than Levi Strauss though its prevalence faded when unfortunately both the father and son died in 1944.
The Curlee family home remained in Corinth wherein the Veranda-Curlee House is a designated National Historic Landmark and serves as a museum. The house was originally purchased by Curlee's mother Mary, a descendant of Daniel Boone. Even after the firm's move to St. Louis, Shelby H. Curlee and the family never forgot their roots. Curlee and the company were significant patrons of Roscoe Turner, a native of Corinth and a pioneer aviator.
Turner lived flamboyantly, having many entrepreneurial ventures as well as working as a lion tamer, a stunt pilot and a flyer for Howard Hughes in his Hell's Angels. In appreciation of Curlee's patronage, Turner agreed to make promotional flights for the Clothing Company wherein his plane wore the Curlee Clothing livery. The plane was an NC2576 that was purchased with funding from Curlee to the Sikorsky Manufacturing Corp. who made the airplane. Captain Turner was also made chief of the flying department of the Curlee Clothing Co.