Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1930. It was encased in 1951 and sold on 21 December 1951. The Extract furthermore confirms that the Geneva Observatory First Class certificate was obtained on 18 February 1933.
According to the registers of the Geneva Observatory, the present watch participated at the 1932 timing contest where it achieved the 1st prize with 755.6 points. It had been prepared and adjusted by the renowned precision adjuster F. Moudoux.
The present watch is amongst the most impressive tourbillon watches by Patek Philippe ever offered at auction. It was conceived by the celebrated watchmaker, inventor and engineer Hector Golay, then delivered to Patek Philippe in Geneva and finished by the highly skilled watchmakers in their workshops.
Between the years 1932 and 1947, the present watch participated at several Geneva Observatory Category C timing contests and achieved the first prize in 1932 (see Reinhard Meis Das Tourbillon, p. 353) and the third prize in 1947. Its movement had been prepared and adjusted by the gifted and prominent precision adjuster François Moudoux. Category C was a new category added following the reorganization of the Geneva Observatory in 1928. It was established to include smaller watch movements with a diameter between 31 and 38 millimetres. Presumably this category was created following the latest fashion of smaller watches, consequently rendering the larger examples with the more common diameter of 48 mm. difficult to sell.
The present watch combines all aspects of the highest quality, making it a superb example for the demanding collector. One of the most discerning complications, the tourbillon regulator, fitted in a state of the art gold case with hidden hinges and of small size and a much sought after dial with Breguet numerals.
A nearly identical watch with succeeding movement number 198'409, also with tourbillon carriage by Hector Golay and Breguet numerals, manufacture started on 7 October 1930 and sold on 25 November 1939, is illustrated in Patek Philippe by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, p. 176.
On 10 November 1801, horological legend Abraham Louis Breguet (1747-1823) received a patent for his ingenious tourbillon invention. Breguet designed the tourbillon (or whirlwind) to compensate for fluctuations and errors in time measurement caused by the position a watch is placed in. For example, watches with traditional movements may keep excellent time when resting on a desk horizontally, but when that same watch is placed vertically in a pocket, gravity affects the frequency or rate of the escapement and thus its accuracy.
Breguet's invention compensated for these gravitational effects by placing the escapement in a revolving carriage. As the tourbillon carriage revolves (usually one entire revolution per minute), its position constantly changes and consequently the fluctuations in rate caused by gravity are averaged out. Once a tourbillon watch is properly adjusted, the effects of gravity are essentially nullified, regardless of how it is positioned.
Precision timekeeping has always been vital to the scientific community, and in 1873, the first annual chronometer competition was held at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory. Rigorous quantitative internationally recognized testing standards were established. The testing, which initially lasted for 40 days, consisted of placing the watches in various positions and temperature conditions. The prestigious watchmakers Patek Philippe were awarded First Prize in the competition as early as 1884.