With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with enamel dial in 1955 and its subsequent sale on 10 October 1955.
Few other wristwatches epitomize the perfect symbiosis between aesthetical design and the fine art of horological ingenuity to such extent as Patek Philippe's two crown world time wristwatches. The present representative of this outstandingly rare species exceeds these attributes even further, the fascinating interaction of its facetted, cubist lines softened by the colourful shades of the vibrant depiction of the North American continent.
Taking a step back and looking at the watch's importance, condition, design and provenance one must conclude that it is one of the most desirable and relevant collector's wristwatches in private hands. As a matter of fact, this very reference 2523 was chosen for the cover of what is still today considered a milestone in the history of wristwatch collecting: The Art of Patek Philippe - Legendary Watches held in 1989 for the celebration of Patek Philippe's 150th anniversary. This auction, broadly marketed, raised the awareness for vintage and antique Patek Philippe watches to a new level and it speaks for itself that the present watch crowned the cover of the hardcover catalogue.
Several maps are known to have been fitted to reference 2523 and the present "North America" dial has been specifically made for this watch, as it features the individual serial number stamped to its back.
Preserved in incredibly well preserved and original overall condition, the present reference 2523 impressively displays the model's generous proportions. Its prominent lugs enhanced by the angular facets, particularly sensitive to careless polishing, reveal that it has always been treated with the respect due to such exceptional timepiece. The crispness of the gold marks to the side and underneath one of the lugs further underlines this fact. In sync with the case condition the captivating dial does not show any signs of cosmetical enhancement or restoration, its radiant shine dazzling the beholder's eye.
The combination of rarity, pristine overall condition and provenance render the present "two crown World Time" one of the truly rare finds for the spoilt collector of exceptional timepieces.
Patek Philippe's reference 2523, the large version of this legendary "World Time" model, was launched in 1953; due to the expenditure involved in its production only an infinitely small number of this complex timepiece ever left the factory. To date, only twelve yellow gold examples have made their reappearance in public, including the present. Furthermore two in pink gold and only one in white gold, now prominently exhibited at the prestigious Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, are known.
The watches were fitted with a variety of different types of dial centres, including engine-turned gold (two examples) and the celebrated cloisonné enamelled discs depicting maps. The North American theme is, for obvious reasons, highly desirable and besides the present watch only two further yellow gold references 2523 depicting this continent are publicly known. Considered milestones in Patek Philippe's proud history to such an extent that in 2009, the firm launched a contemporary version, either in yellow gold or white gold, with enamelled maps centring the dial (references 5131J and 5131G).
Different examples of reference 2523 are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 240 - 242.