Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin and Extract from the Archives confirming production of the movement of the present watch in 1929. It was completed and encased in 1993 and sold on 19 September 2001. The Extract confirms that a Geneva Observatory First Class certificate was obtained. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe burgundy leather bound file containing technical information and instruction manual for reference 969, original fitted wooden presentation box, gold and wooden setting pin, outer packaging.
According to the registers of the Geneva Observatory, the present watch participated at the 1945 timing contest for which it had been prepared and adjusted by the renowned precision adjuster Hermann Heck. It was then presented again in 1957, adjusted by A. Zibach, and obtained 50.71 points.
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 James Pellaton from LeLocle in 1929, then delivered to Patek Philippe in Geneva. In 1945 it participated at a Category A timing contest at the Geneva Observatory, one of the most gifted and prominent precision adjuster, Hermann Heck, had prepared and adjusted the movement for this trial (see Reinhard Meis Das Tourbillon, p. 353).
In 1993 it was updated with the perpetual calendar and power reserve mechanisms, encased and sold on 19 September 2001.
Research has resulted in the discovery of only one other example of reference 969: it is on permanent exhibition at the prestigious, newly renovated Patek Philippe boutique at Rue du Rhône in Geneva.
It is important to mention that 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 combined with a perpetual calendar and up and down indicator, fitted in a state of the art gold case, documented with the Extract and timing extracts and in as good as unused condition.
Fresh to the market, the rarity of this horological masterpiece is furthermore enhanced by the fact that it is also the first example of a Patek Philippe pocket watch featuring such complications to appear in public to date.
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.