With Patek Philippe original Certificate of Origin, Bulletin de Precision de Marche, second solid case back, setting pin, bracelet, sale tags, instructions, large leather folder, fitted veneered wooden presentation box and outer packaging
Reference 5016, in production from 1994 to 2010, is one of the most intricate creations made by Patek Philippe. It incorporates all the complications sought after by discerning watch aficionados: a minute repeater with sublime resonance, a retrograde perpetual calendar with moon phases, and a tourbillon. Interestingly, these designations are arranged in such a fashion that the dial does not get overly fussy and contributes to its overall sleek look. This is exactly what connoisseurs expect from the masters of understatement.
Patek Philippe's technical refinement is legendary and the present watch exemplifies their commitment to engineering detail. Patek Philippe watches never exhibit the tourbillon carriage through a dial aperture, fearing the lubrication oils will degrade with exposure to light. The brand is one of the very few manufacturers to make this conscious decision, while others seek to flaunt their technical prowess. From the very beginning, Patek Philippe has put performance and timekeeping above public display; form follows function, not the other way around, further demonstrating the firm's commitment to the art of understatement. To the casual observer the only distinction is the word "tourbillon" noted on the dial, suggesting the presence of one of the most complex mechanisms in the world of horology. The movement is further enhanced with the Patek Philippe seal rather than the seal of Geneva. In 2009 at Baselworld, Patek Philippe announced the introduction of a new movement seal bearing their PP logo. This new imprint would denote a movement that has met the firm's new higher standard for watch making. The present example of the 5016 is one of the last to be produced and carries the legendary PP mark.
The mechanical and design achievements of the present watch are further enhanced by the rarity of the white gold case of which only one other example is known to the market and sold in 2007. White gold examples of the 5016 are typically fitted with a white dial and a leather strap. However, this example features a black dial and a massive white gold bracelet, both confirmed by the Certificate of Origin and suggesting the watch is a special order timepiece. One could be tempted to dismiss the gold bracelet as a simple change, taking the leather strap off and mounting it with a gold bracelet. Further inspection reveals the truth couldn't be more different. The endlinks on Patek Philippe link bracelets are designed to prevent accidental unlatching and to give the best possible aesthetic impression. For the link bracelet to be attached, the case is designed to have the appropriate fitting. The typical reference 5016 case does not have such a design. Consequently, the case of the present watch was modified, a job requiring specific design changes and production at the factory. It is interesting to note that Patek Philippe rarely addresses special requests such as the present design change and in the rare instances the firm agrees to do so, it is for extremely important collectors or personalities.
The present example has the engraved monogram EPC on the solid case back and printed on the glazed back. This suggests the watch was a special order for the well-known watch aficionado and important collector, Sir Eric Patrick "Slowhand" Clapton, CBE. The famed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and top guitarist is an avid ultimate watch collector. His fabled collection is known to have encompassed many treasured timepieces including one of the only two existing platinum reference 2499, sold in this room November 12, 2012 (sale 1391, lot 151).