With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1950 and its subsequent sale on 27 January 1953. The Extract furthermore states that the original case was replaced by the case bearing the number 660'239 during a servicing in 1988. Also delivered with Patek Philippe contemporary black presentation box.
Patek Philippe's reference 1579 in stainless steel is one of the rarest gems in the world of wristwatch collecting. In fact until today only six examples have surfaced in literature or at public auction. Interestingly, it is understood that only a very small number was cased and sold in the 1940s. The other examples, including the present one, were finished to a later date upon request by Patek Philippe's most loyal clients following the approval of the firm.
The present watch constitutes a significant testimony to the world of collectors wristwatches as it is a true "new old stock" Patek Philippe chronograph reference 1579 in stainless steel. This watch is of great importance to purists as it is a superb witness of how a reference 1579 left the workshops of Patek Philippe, showing how all the case elements were originally finished. It is consequently a perfect example to all the other watches of the celebrated and complex reference 1579 when it comes to comparison, condition and possible restoration.
The stainless steel watch case, made around 1950 by the celebrated casemakers André and Edouard Wenger, remained on stock at Patek Philippe's workshops in Geneva until 1988 when it was assembled, with the period tachymeter dial, also unused Patek Philippe stock, and the chronograph movement supplied by the customer.
Since 1990, the watch has remained in the same ownership, unused and locked away in a vault, until its consignment to this auction. It is undoubtedly, thanks to the exclusive and very beautiful condition, one of the most astonishing examples of a stainless steel reference 1579 ever to appear in public. The combination of its literally new condition, absolute freshness to the auction market and important provenance render this watch an exquisite treasure for the discerning collector.
Reference 1579, introduced into the market in 1943, takes a unique position in the production of wristwatch chronographs at Patek Philippe, as it is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only one with facetted lugs.
Reference 1579, introduced into the market in 1943, takes a unique position in the production of chronographs at Patek Philippe, as it is not only one of the largest models with a diameter of 36 mm. but also the only one with facetted lugs. According to our researches, only six examples in stainless steel have appeared in public to date.
The virtues of stainless steel, durability, resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and its radiant shine, make it an ideal base material for a multitude of commercial items. Steel has been used since ancient days but a process for producing stainless steel was only developed in the late 19th/early 20th century.
Particularly in vogue during the Art Deco period, stainless steel was the favourite metal of many renowned watchmakers and jewellers and embellished their most beautiful pieces. It was also used for the interior and exterior decoration of houses, the most famous example being the spire of the Chrysler Building in New York. During the economic boom following World War II, when the production of watches and jewellery was nearly halted due to the rationing of metals, stainless steel had lost its appeal. Considered the "poor man's material", it was replaced by the more apparent yellow and pink gold, demonstrating the wearer's wealth. Consequently, production of stainless steel watch cases by the most prestigious makers was reduced drastically and only few examples of these small series produced in the late 1940s/early 1950s have survived to date.