"Among the millions of people who live in our world very few will wear quartz watches... … the mechanical watch is the base on which our companies will rely on" - Georges Delessert.
Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in with monogram G.D. on the case back in 1943 and its subsequent sale on 7 May 1943.
Reference 1463 was launched in 1940 and remained in production until 1965. The majority was cased in yellow gold; examples in stainless steel are exceedingly rare. According to research, the present watch is the only example of a reference 1463 in stainless steel featuring such a luminous dial.
It was purchased by Mr. Georges Delessert at Patek Philippe in 1943, according to the Extract with his monogram to the back but with a standard silvered dial with applied gold numerals and tachymetre scale. Considering the condition of the dial it can safely be assumed that it has been exchanged immediately after the sale and upon his special request by the present one, featuring luminous dots and a luminous Arabic 12 and no tachymetre scale, lending the watch a totally different look.
A passionate sailor and president of Geneva's exclusive "Nautical Society", organizer of the annual "Bol d'Or" regatta, Georges Delessert used the present watch when participating at this famous regatta, notably for measuring the time elapsed between the canon shots prior to the starting shot. The fact that the "Bol d'Or" in general goes on until late at night would explain Mr. Delessert's choice of a luminous, easy to read dial.
The dial's charismatic warm, gilt patina which has formed over the years is most probably due to the influence of the sun. It is interesting to note that when moving the hand of the 30 minutes register, a clear mark appears to the 30 minutes or 0 position, showing also that this function has not been used in a long time.
The combination of the luminescent dial, freshness to the market, very good original condition and the highly unusual provenance render this watch particularly appealing to the demanding collector.
Georges Delessert (Geneva 24 December 1905 - 8 April 1997)
The extremely talented engineer entered Patek Philippe's technical development department on 15 July 1943 and played a leading role in the introduction of the quartz movement. In 1951 he was appointed Commercial Director, particularly involved with the Electronic Division created in 1948, and of which he became Director in 1965. He represented Patek Philippe at various professional associations and was the President of the UFHGW (Union des fabricants d'Horlogerie de Genève, Vaud et Valais or Union of watch manufacturers of Geneva, Vaud and Valais).
Georges Delessert participated in the development of seven of Patek Philippe's patents out of which six are related to electronic watches (notably the 1954 Patent No. 298564 for Photoelectric Energy, an horological mechanism deriving its motive power from a source of light by the means of at least one photoelectric cell, as used in the "Dôme" clocks for example and Patent No. 335612 for the first solid-state quartz watch with no moving parts in 1959) and one to a mechanical movement with automatic winding.
Much involved in Geneva's social society, Georges Delessert acted as the president of Geneva's prestigious "Watches and Jewels" exhibition for several years. A passionate sailor he was also presiding the famous "Cercle de Voile" of the "Société Nautique de Genève", Sailing Circle of Geneva's Nautical Society, organizer of the annual "Bol d'Or" regatta on Lake Geneva. The "Bol d'Or", a highlight for every sailing aficionado, is Europe's largest lake regatta.
When Mr. Delessert passed away in 1997 without leaving a descendant, his watch was passed on to one of his nephews.
The black and white image shows Georges Delessert in 1965 during a presentation of a Patek Philippe master electronic clock at the occasion of its installation in Switzerland's Federal Palace in Berne with the aim of controlling the clocks in the various governmental departments. To his left the late Mr. Henri Stern.