With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with silvered dial, enamel hour markers and tachometer scale in 1930 and its subsequent sale on 18 October 1935.
This watch is understood to be one of Patek Philippe's earliest example of a reference 130 single-button chronograph fitted with the attractive sector or "Aviator"-style dial design with the very architectural enamel hour markers, a superb feature on this master piece of 1930s watch design, confirmed by the Extract from the Archives.
Purchased by the uncle of the present owner at Patek Philippe in 1935, the watch has remained in the same family ever since and has never been offered in public before. During its nearly 80 years of existence, it has been treated with care, demonstrated by the still clearly visible hallmark to the right band of the case, an evidence for sensible polishing. The dial has equally undergone only a gentle cleaning and re-varnishing sometime many decades ago as it displays subtle signs of natural ageing one would expect on a wristwatch which, for so many years, was exposed to the elements. The hard enamel scales and signature are beautifully raised, the uniform patina on the silvered surface shows an attractive shade of ivory with minor spotting in places, again characteristics consistent with age.
Close examination of the dial prompts more questions than supplying answers. In particular, an experienced collector's mind first wonders why the dial uses two completely different fonts: A classic, more vintage type for the right subsidiary dial with the 30-minute register and the outer 60-minutes scale and, on the other hand, a rather modern, Art Deco-style type font for the numbers within the left subsidiary dial with the constant seconds, but also for the tachymeter scale and large hour markers. Furthermore, one would wonder why some elements of the tachymeter scale are printed "in bold", notably "BASE 1000" and the speed indications "120" down to "80". Much to one's delight, the original drawing for this dial has survived in the archives of Stern Frères and shows that this is indeed correct.
The combination of the, especially considering its age, very well and most originally preserved case, the early sector dial, freshness to the market and private provenance render this watch a highly interesting timepiece of significant interest for any discerning collector.
The single button chronograph mechanism is considered to be amongst the most complex and sophisticated marvels of time measurement. Whereas the more commonly found operates the chronograph functions (start - stop - reset) through two buttons in the band, the single button chronograph controls all of these functions through the crown. The ébauches for these chronographs were commissioned by Patek Philippe and made by Victorin Piguet of Le Sentier. It is assumed that Patek Philippe produced single button chronograph wristwatches only between the mid-1920s and the late 1930s, housed in the typical 1920s tonneau cases or in the well-known "Officier" style cases, featuring either wire or screw lugs.
Around the mid-1930s, Patek Philippe modernized these chronographs by finishing them in the celebrated reference 130 case with snap on back, the firm's first chronograph model which was given a reference number. Under this reference Patek Philippe produced a diversity of models such as the traditional chronograph but also the more exotic single button chronographs. Both types were available with different precious metal as well as stainless steel cases, as popular today as they were when first introduced into the market nearly 80 years ago.