Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming manufacture of the present watch with pink gold dial and applied gold numerals in 1948 and its subsequent sale on 28 June 1948.
Reference 1518 was produced in four different series between 1941 and 1954. Only 281 examples in total were made, the majority cased in yellow gold, few examples in pink gold and only four in stainless steel are known to date.
The model is generally divided into the following four series:
- First series: applied gold Arabic numerals
- Second series, introduced at the Basle Fair in 1942: enamelled hour indexes, the 12 as an applied gold Arabic numeral
- Third series: applied gold indexes, the 12 as an applied gold Arabic numeral
- Fourth series: applied gold indexes
The present watch is from the first series and believed to be one of less than eight examples originally produced in pink gold and with the extraordinary pink dial, confirmed by the Extract from the Archives. It was given as a gift to Igor Markevitch by his second wife, Donna Topazia Caetani dei Duchi di Sermoneta, an aristocratic Italian of striking intelligence, integrity and charm whom he had married in Italy in 1947. The back of the watch bears the engraved facsimile of Topazia's hand-writing reading "de quoi te plains tu?", a French expression meaning "there is nothing to complain about, everything is going well", and the dates "23.7.1947 23.7.1948".
Topazia, member of the Caetani family, the oldest Roman princely families which played an important part in history of the city and of the papacy, purchased it on 28 June 1948 and gave it to her husband Igor Markevitch as a present for their first wedding anniversary on 23 July of the same year.
Igor Markevitch (1912-1983) was a renowned conductor known for brilliant performances and one of the leading Russo-French modernist composers.
Born in Kiev in 1912, the son of the pianist Boris Markevitch was brought up in Switzerland. Encouraged by the pianist Alfred Cortot, he studied music in Paris and was discovered in 1929 by the ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev, who commissioned a Piano Concerto which Markevitch premiered at Covent Garden. Throughout the 1930s, he worked with Kochno, Jean Cocteau and Lifar and was recognized as one of the leading Russo-French modernist composers. In April 1936 Markevitch married Kyra, the daughter of the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, a marriage which would last nine years. Their son Vaclav was named after his grandfather Vaslav Nijinsky.
In 1940 the couple visited Florence and stayed there. Markevitch composed "Lorenzo Il Magnifico", a vocal symphony and Kyra taught dance. Having failed to comply with Swiss residency laws, he became technically stateless and remained in Italy, with occasional visits to Switzerland. In 1943 he joined the Italian resistance in their fight against Fascism and subsequently obtained the Italian citizenship in 1947.
It was also during this time that he divorced from Kyra and met his second wife Topazia Caetani, the niece of his friend Marguerite Caetani.
Markevitch embarked on a second career as an internationally acclaimed conductor and teacher and held various directorships or principal conducting appointments with some of the world's most famous orchestras. Although he sadly passed away in 1983, he left an indelible mark on the classical music world, and his work still resonates throughout the genre to this very day.