With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with applied gold hour markers to the dial in 1949 and its subsequent sale on 18 November 1953.
The life of the present watch started in 1949 when its movement was entered into the books of Patek Philippe. However, it was not until 1953 when it was cased and sold later in the same year. Interestingly, the dial of this watch bears on the reverse number 964'802, its movement number. This is excellent proof that this dial was made for this very watch - also since its serial number fits exactly into the sequence of the other yellow gold examples of this reference with cloisonn enamel dial showing the Eastern Hemisphere.
Reference 1415 World Time wristwatches with cloisonn enamel dial are extremely rare. It is thought that the present watch is part of a small series of only three examples in yellow gold with such a dial known to this day. The present watch, number 964'802, is the third and last watch of a series of three identical pieces, all showing the Eastern Hemisphere, also called Vieux Continents, the "Old World". Interestingly, both the movement and case numbers of these three watches are in sequence.
A fourth yellow gold reference 1415 with enamel dial features a different dial showing a map of Europe and Asia. Also, it is interesting to note that the watches with the following movements numbers 964'804 and 964'805 were cased in pink gold. According to our research, all the four yellow gold cases for these watches were made by the distinguished case-maker Wenger between 1952 and 1953. Consequently, it is well understandable why these watches were not ready to be sold until 1953.
The below listing shows all known yellow gold references 1415, their last appearance on the market and current whereabouts. It is believed that no further examples were ever made. Without exception they were all sold through Christie's Geneva since 2000.
Movement no. 964'800, case no. 669'490, Christie's Geneva, 18 May 2004, lot 307: Today, European Private Collection
Movement no. 964'801, case no. 669'491, Christie's Geneva, 12 November 2007, lot 355: Today, European Private Collection
Movement no. 964'802, case no. 669'492, Christie's Geneva, 15 May 2006, lot 450 (the present watch)
Movement no. 964'809, case no. 669'496, Christie's Geneva, 16 May 2000, lot 374: Today, European Private Collection
Patek Philippe wristwatches with cloisonn enamel dials rank amongst the rarest jewels within the widespread family of horological masterpieces. It goes without saying that the combination of such a lavish, colorful and artistic dial, paired with a complicated movement catapults a vintage wristwatch beyond exclusivity. Reference 1415 in yellow gold featuring such a handmade masterpiece of craftsmanship is actually, often to the surprise of even the most experienced watch collectors, the rarest version of the world-time family. In fact, it has been made in a smaller quantity than its bigger brother, the famous "two-crown world time" reference 2523. Despite its extreme rarity, reference 1415 is often described as the "small world-time" and soon its true importance and rarity will be understood by the worldwide community of elite watch collectors. We firmly believe, knowing also that the other three examples of this small group are housed in the world's most prestigious and long-term collections that it will be for many years that the market won't be offered another example for purchase. Given the substantial difference in market value that exists until today between references 1415 and 2523 with cloisonn enamel dials, this appearance is a "last call" for years to come to many connoisseurs to complete their collections of world-time wristwatches.
Reference 1415 was introduced in 1939 and remained in production until 1954 approximately. Its movement was based on the established Patek Philippe in-house caliber 12'''-120. Some 115 movements were upgraded for this model with the ingenious, patented world time mechanism invented by Louis Cottier, the celebrated Geneva watchmaker. Reference 1415 HU (for Heure Universelle or World Time) was either cased in yellow or pink gold. Only one example in platinum is known to date.
Until 1948, reference 1415 HU was only available with the classic metal dial, either silvered or more exclusively rose. During the very last years of production, this model was also available in very few pieces only with cloisonn enamel dial. The hand-engraved bezel would show international cities around the world. Whereas earlier examples of reference 1415 HU would only list 28 cities, the latest generation would account for 42 international locations.
Examples of reference 1415 HU, both with metal and enamel dials, are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 243 - 247.