With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1947 and its subsequent sale on 19 December of the same year.
André Zibach: The Inventor of the Gyromax Balance
André Zibach worked for Patek Philippe as a watchmaker upon completion of his diploma at the Geneva Watchmaking School. As a celebrated adjuster of chronometers, he won numerous awards from the Kew and Geneva Observatories starting in 1929 with a record for a pocket chronometer and another notable record in "single movements, wrist chronometers" in 1948.
Between 1950 and 1952, Zibach collaborated with watchmaker Eric Jaccard to construct a tonneau-shaped wristwatch movement with lever escapement, the Calibre 34 S. This was the first of many watches he worked on that would take part in the Geneva Observatory chronometer timing competitions. By 1956, Zibach was appointed Technical Vice-Manager at Patek Philippe, and worked on a team that invented and improved the Gyromax balance. In the book Practical Watch Adjusting by Donald DeCarle, the author writes, "Mr. Zibach, the successful timer and adjuster, late of Patek Philippe, Geneva, has invented a Glucydur balance which has decided advantages, and known as the Gyromax balance. The advantages are two-fold; firstly, all the weight, in addition to the weight of the balance itself, is concentrated on the rim of the balance and not partly on the rim and partly on the screws normally screwed into the side of the balance. Secondly, and the most important, the effective weight of the balance can be altered without adding timing washers or altering the weight of the screws."
Zibach was also responsible for preparing and regulating chronometer watches for observatory trials, one of the most difficult tasks in the fields of watchmaking. During his tenure at Patek Philippe, Mr. Zibach regulated the movement of the celebrated J.B. Champion watch, certified by the Geneva Observatory, sold at Christie's Geneva in November 2012 for a record CHF 3,779,000.
The André Zibach Ref. 1582: Pioneering the Gyromax Balance
The presently offered lot features a presentation engraving to Zibach celebrating his first 25 years of service at Patek Philippe. While the archive states the watch was born with a standard lever escapement when made in 1947, the watch was soon fitted with an early version of the Gyromax balance, quite possibly the very first Gyromax prototype ever made by Zibach himself. The balance bridge and balance wheel were most likely modified by Zibach for proof of concept that his new balance worked accurately. Soon after, Swiss Patent No. 261.431 of 15th May 1949 and No. 280.067 of 31st December 1951 officially protected the Gyromax balance and to this day, the Gyromax is used on almost all Patek Philippe watches.