With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with tourbillon escapement and engraved coat-of-arms on the case back in 1924 and its subsequent sale on 14 May 1934 and Patek Philippe fitted wooden presentation box. The Extract further states that the watch obtained a Geneva Observatory rating certificate in 1930. Also delivered with copies of the Geneva Observatory timing sheet and results of the 1930 Category B timing contest where the watch obtained the first prize with 831 points.
The present high precision watch is amongst the most impressive tourbillon chronometers by Patek Philippe. It was conceived by the celebrated watchmaker, inventor and engineer Jämes Pellaton from LeLocle in 1924, then delivered to Patek Philippe in Geneva and finished by their highly skilled watchmakers in their workshops.
Made to special order for a connoisseur of high precision watches, the case is personalized with the first owners' engraved coat-of-arms and motto "Malo Mori Quam Fiedari", "Death before Dishonour", confirmed by the Extract from the Archives.
Between the years 1929 and 1930, the watch participated at several Geneva Observatory Category B timing contests and achieved the first prize in 1929 (see Reinhard Meis Das Tourbillon, p. 353). According to the Extract from the Archives it obtained another rating certificate in 1930. Its movement had been prepared and adjusted by the gifted and prominent precision adjuster J. Golay-Audemars.
Since its first public appearance in 1997, the present watch has remained in the same private collection, unused and locked away in a vault, until its consignment to this auction in 2010. It combines all aspects requested by the demanding collector, one of the most discerning complications, the tourbillon regulator, a First Prize at the Geneva Observatory, a state-of-the art gold case with hidden hinges, and last but not least its excellent, original overall condition.
Jämes Cäsar Pellaton
Jämes Cäsar Pellaton, better known as James C. Pellaton, born in LeLocle in 1873, is one of the most esteemed 20th century maker of tourbillon carriages. He learned his craft from his father Albert Pellaton-Favre (1832-1914), also a highly respected tourbillon maker.
The over 35 tourbillons which James and Albert Pellaton manufactured together alone for Patek Philippe are a class apart in the area of precision horology. In addition to the outstanding result obtained, these timepieces are distinguished by their esthetical concept combined with the highest technical perfection and craftsmanship.
James Pellaton's life was dedicated to his passion, the development of tourbillons, which included the smallest tourbillon watch with a diameter of only 23.7 mm. in 1923. The watch, at the time the smallest ever made, is today in the LeLocle Museum of Horology.
For his outstanding work in the field of horology Pellaton received numerous awards and titles, amongst them "Doctor Honoris Causa" of the University of Neuchâtel.