An extremely rare and highly important yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and applied Arabic numerals

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1956
    Reference No: 2499
    Movement No: 868'552
    Case No: 691'619
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13''', 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 37.5mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming year of production of the present watch in 1956 and its subsequent sale on December 3, 1957

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the history of watchmaking there are timepieces which have become immediately identifiable with their maker and the perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch is unmistakably part of Patek Philippe’s genetic code.

    To fully understand this interlink, one must go back to the reference 1518 from 1941 when Patek Philippe launched its first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, which also happened to be the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch made in series!

    Reference 2499 replaced reference 1518 in 1951 and was made for a period of 34 years, until 1985, in four different series:

    - First series: Square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale - of which the present lot is an example
    - Second series: Round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale
    - Third series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions
    - Fourth series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal.

    The first series holds some resemblance to the previous reference 1518, notably due to the rectangular chronograph pushers, yet the case design is an obvious nod to the industrial design aesthetic of the 1950s with a potent mix of curves and strong angles.

    The first series was made for about half a decade and can be subdivided in two different categories identified by the case maker: first Vichet-made cases, which feature a flat caseback and elongated lugs, followed by Wenger-made cases, which feature a domed caseback with slightly shorter lugs and a larger case like in the present example.

    Only nine reference 2499 models left the Patek Philippe ateliers each year on average, leading to a full production of just 349 pieces in 34 years!

    As time goes by, the appearance of reference 2499 first series with a Wenger case at auction is not calculated in seasons but in years.

    There are collectible wristwatches, then there are watches woven from the fabric of dreams, and the present reference 2499 is of the latter.

    The case is of superb quality with incredibly strong definition to the lugs and the hallmarks on the lugs remain crisp.

    The dial will make any collector’s heart beat faster, with a harmonious cream glow and its strong, perfectly preserved raised, hard enamel print.

    Not only does the present timepiece merge mechanical complexity with elegance and sophistication, not only is it extremely rare being only one out of 28 reference 2499s in yellow gold with the Wenger case, not only is this timepiece in absolute pristine condition, but the present lot is fresh to the market and has never been offered at auction before. Without any doubt, it is a trophy for the world’s most discerning collector.

  • Maker Bio

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Ref. 2499
An extremely rare and highly important yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and applied Arabic numerals

1956
37.5mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF800,000 - 1,500,000 
€734,000-1,380,000
$824,000-1,550,000

sold for CHF1,685,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016