With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with sweep centre seconds in 1957 and its subsequent sale on 20 May 1958.
If one were to choose a time only watch that defines Patek Philippe, chances are that the choice would be a vintage Calatrava wristwatch. The vintage Calatrava style is defined by a round case with downturned lugs without any angular junction or soldering with the case, but rather flowing into the main body of the watch with a smooth, gradual curve. It is a relatively simple design, in theory, but one can only imagine the countless tests and proofs that were discarded before finally settling on these specific proportions. The fact that even nearly a century after the conception of such a design it still is considered a timeless classic of undisputed perfection means that those long hours developing this masterpiece were absolutely well spent.
Reference 570 is one of the most appreciated vintage watches by Patek Philippe. Introduced in 1938, it is the "bigger brother" of reference 96. It remained in production until 1972. With a 35.5 mm. diameter, it was quite a large watch for the time, but it is the perfect size for today's fashion. Furthermore, the flat bezel that neatly frames the dial makes the watch look even bigger than what it is. Available with subsidiary seconds or sweep centre seconds, in its nearly 35 years of "service" it underwent many evolutions. The subsidiary seconds version first mounted a 12-120 calibre, upgraded to 12-400 in 1950, and eventually to 27 AM 400 in 1960. The rarer sweep centre seconds version was instead born with a 12-120 calibre modified by Victorin Piguet and renamed 12-120 SC, for "seconde au centre", and then upgraded with the calibre 27 SC starting in 1949. It is known in yellow, white and pink gold, and stainless steel.
Fresh to the market, the present example is especially desirable not only because of the centre seconds feature, which is more rare than the subsidiary seconds version, but also because of the presence of the highly appreciated Breguet numerals on the dial 570. Reserved for a minority of the production, these numerals sport a playful cursive style that bewitch countless watch lovers. The outer open fifth of a second divisions make the dial seem less "framed" than the older style railway divisions, increasing the impression of being wearing a timepiece substantially larger than its already generous 35 mm.
The present Calatrava furthermore impresses the beholder with its condition. It is obvious that the case has never been polished: the 90 degrees edge of the bezel is crisp, and the lugs are absolutely full, their edges are very crisp and unspoiled. Even the case back, which in an half a century old watch is expected to show some lack of definition if not due to polishing at least due to wearing the watch, is surprisingly untouched, the edge between the flat center and the sloped rim impressively crisp.
A further layer of appeal is granted to this watch by its provenance, as it was consigned by horological legend John Goldberger whose name is known to collecters and aficionados alike. This distinguished Italian gentleman is considered a living bible of everything watch related. He started taking an interest in wristwatches some 30 years ago, and over time has seen, photographed, opened and analyzed nearly every possibly imaginable vintage wristwatch model, from obscure chronometers made by some forgotten brand in the 60s, to the most important horological holy grails known and unknown to the public. His encyclopedic knowledge prompted him to write some of the most appreciated watch related books, such as Patek Philippe Steel Watches and 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, both considered mandatory reading for anyone approaching this field.
One can only imagine the standard Mr. Goldberger has for his own legendary watch collection, and the fact that this watch, before being gracefully offered for this historical sale, was part of it says it all about the gravitas and importance of this timepiece.