With Patek Philippe period presentation box containing a spare main spring. Furthermore delivered with colour photography showing the invoice for the present watch, surmounted by a colour image of the watch. The invoice is addressed to Mr. Manoel Castro, Valmont, Territet, and dated 18 June 1912 for the sale of watch no. 156837, the designation Première Qualité, or first quality, in larger size and underlined, net amount 1,545 Swiss Francs. The Extract from the Archives confirms manufacture of the watch with perpetual calendar, three counters, enamel dial, subsidiary seconds and engraved monogram MC to the case back in 1910 and its subsequent sale on 20 June 1912.
The present previously unknown perpetual calendar watch is a highly unusual example within the family of Patek Philippe's complicated pocket watches; the combination of the technical and aesthetic elements never seen in any other watch from the period lead to the assumption that it is a unique piece made by special order. In fact, to date no other example of such watch is known to exist. The only remotely comparable openface perpetual calendar watch without moon phase and "extra" quality movement with Guillaume balance, is illustrated and described in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume I, p. 278, Inv. P-312. This example however features four subsidiary dials of normal size, three for the calendar and one for the constant seconds.
The most evident characteristic of the present watch is the impressive size of the three subsidiary dials, occupying a large portion of the dial and leaving only the 4, 8 and 12 numerals entirely visible. The experienced collector will immediately notice the absence of the moon phase indication usually found in perpetual calendar watches, either in form of a fourth subsidiary dial or combined with a calendar indication or constant seconds. The movement is of highest quality, a feature even emphasized in Patek Philippe's invoice: the mention "Première Qualité" (first/extra quality) is written in larger size and underlined. It was built to chronometer standards, including a large size Guillaume balance, to ensure utmost precision. The substantial case impresses with a diameter of 57 mm, complementing the harmonious coordinated totality of this impressive timepiece.
According to the invoice of Patek Philippe dated 18 June 1912, it was sold on 18 June 1912 to Mr. Manoel Castro in Territet, possibly Valmont-sur-Territet, a small village close to Montreux, Switzerland. No information is available about Mr. Castro who presumably was of Brazilian noble origin and doubtlessly a man of certain wealth: the amount of Swiss Francs 1,545 spent for the watch in 1912 would correspond to nearly USD200,000 today.
One can only speculate about the reasoning behind his request for such special execution, may it be the wish to own a unique timepiece of radically different design or the need for clearly visible calendar indications, either one combined with a high precision movement.
Whatever the purpose may have been it is undeniable that the lack of the moon phase disk, the oversized subsidiary dials emphasizing the calendar display and the large size of the watch result in a very distinctive, technical yet harmonious look.
The combination of freshness to the market, pristine overall condition and extreme rarity render this example a superb find for the collector of extraordinary timepieces.