With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with black dial and Breguet numerals in steel in 1944 and its subsequent sale on 10 June 1944.
This watch has never been offered at auction before and is thought to be the only second reference 1503 in stainless steel with black dial and applied Breguet numerals, all confirmed by the Extract from the Archives, to appear in public to date. Interestingly, the second example was sold in this saleroom on 12 November 2007, lot 33, formerly the property of the celebrated Simon Wiesenthal.
An extremely rare timepiece due to a very short production run, examples of reference 1503 bearing Breguet numerals on black dial are among the rarest iterations of this reference, and also among the most attractive. Furthermore, the condition of the present example is simply outstanding. Sporting a case extremely well preserved, and an absolutely original dial aged with hardly a blemish, this is without a doubt among the most attractive and collectible examples of this reference to ever appear on the market.
Together with its sister reference 1509, reference 1503 was in production for only four years, from 1941 to 1944. The minimalist, nearly military layout of the watch fully represents the historical context during which it was produced. The clean dial with the highly sought after Breguet numerals is extremely readable and utilitarian, also thanks to the contrast of the applied numerals with the midnight black background. The teardrop lugs provide however a touch of flamboyance to the ensemble, as if to dilute the martial austerity of the dial.
The dial was supplied by the renowned Stern Frères, the massif solid silver plate with hand-made engravings, enamelling and numerals (see lot 61 for a detailed description of this process). The lack of the commonly found feet fixing the dial onto the case required the construction of a 2 mm. silver ring with overlapping rim into which both movement and dial fit precisely, a rather uncommon construction.
The plate of the present dial was finished with black lacquer before applying the entirely hand-made Breguet numerals.
For a detailed description and illustration of the “Simon Wiesenthal” reference 1503 with black dial and Breguet numerals see Patek Philippe Steel Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 132 & 133.