With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with raised gold hour markers in 1953 and its subsequent sale on 27 April 1954.
This reference 2497 is an appealing example of the first generation of this model, fitted with Arabic and dot numerals and feuille hands. The case is already characterized by the shorter but more bold lugs and the rounded back. The overall appearance is very well known to collectors as many successive generations of complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches continued to be housed in such case version. Not only four generations of reference 2499 featured these very fluted lugs and the concave bezel, but also over 20 years of reference 3970 have definitely left a permanent mark in collectors memories. It comes by little surprise that also the mythical references 3974 (see lot 278 in this sale) and 5004 (see lot 199 in this sale) maintained this beautiful tradition.
Coming from a distinguished gentleman, this reference 2497 is overall honest and appealing as it not only survived with great case proportions but also a pleasant cream-tone to the dial.
This watch offers great value in today's market as it is more exclusive than many later generations of complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches while maintaining a look which watches from the 1990s can simply not offer. Its clear design, harmonious and well-proportioned case and appealing condition make it a wonderful watch to own but even more so to enjoy on the wrist.
Reference 2497 was introduced in 1951, simultaneously with its more complicated sister model with chronograph, reference 2499 (see lots 139 and 427). They replaced the legendary references 1526 (see lot 250) and 1518 (see lots 140 and 200) which are best remembered for their Calatrava-style cases and their unmistakable 1940s look. Whereas reference 2499 was fitted with the same 13''' movement as its predecessor, consequently offering the same functions to its wearer, the "simple" perpetual calendar model 2497 now featured a centre seconds hand, an absolute first on the watch market. This newly designated calibre 27 SC was upgraded with Patek Philippe's patented perpetual calendar mechanism. A combined total of only 179 movements with this new feature were made, numbered from 888'000 to 888'178.
The new generation of Patek Philippe's perpetual calendar models, with or without chronograph mechanism, met the more lavish 1950s taste, the case proportions now slightly more playful. References 2497 and 2499 were first fitted with cases featuring a flat snap on back and very prominent claw-shaped lugs, which then were replaced with a more rounded case back and less downturned lugs.
The two different series of reference 2497 are easily distinguished by their varying dial layouts: the first, such as the present watch, featuring applied Arabic and dot numerals and feuille hands, the second with applied baton numerals and dauphine hands.
The immediate successor of references 2497 and 2438/1 (see lot 332 in this auction) with perpetual calendar and centre seconds was the well-known reference 3448 (see lots 88 and 331 in this auction), the perpetual calendar without seconds hands but now introducing the self-winding movement, a first on the market when launched in 1962, and the simplified dial design.
Examples of reference 2497 are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by M. Huber & A. Banbery, second edition, pp. 285 & 287.