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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1954
    Reference No: 2497
    Movement No: 888'054
    Case No: 680'003
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 27SC Q, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K white gold Patek Philippe Gay Frères bracelet, max length 200mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Patek Philippe folding clasp stamped GF and Patek Philippe Geneve
    Dimensions: 37mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with raised hour-markers in white gold and white gold bracelet in 1954 and its subsequent sale on 27 November 1963.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A truly landmark model, reference 2497 is the first serially produced Patek Philippe perpetual calendar wristwatch to feature centre seconds. First introduced in 1951, it is considered one of manufacture’s most beautiful designs ever made, eliciting pure joy and admiration from its beholder. The elegant curved case, produced first by Vichet and then Wenger, hugs the wrist perfectly. The watch’s overall symmetry is furthermore mesmerizing to the eye, enhanced by its robust presence on the wrist.

    Reference 2497 is one of Patek Philippe’s rarest serially produced perpetual calendar models. Research shows that a combined 179 examples of reference 2497 and its water resistant sibling 2438/1 were produced during their 12 year production period.

    Whilst yellow gold and pink gold examples are rare, even superlative specimens, those cased in white gold enter “unheard of” territory. In fact, no more than merely three examples cased in white gold have graced the market so far, including the present watch.

    The 1940s and 1950s were the golden years for Patek Philippe's perpetual calendar wristwatches. During this period, yellow gold watches were de rigueur among gentlemen. White metal watches, on the other hand, were considered completely audacious and daring. This sentiment is even more pertinent when one considers that no more than ten Patek Philippe perpetual calendar complication wristwatches were cased in white metal during the 1940s and 1950s.

    To date, we know of one reference 1526 in steel, four 1518s in steel, two 2497s in platinum, and finally, three 2497s in white gold. It was not until the introduction of reference 3448 that Patek Philippe produced white metal perpetual calendars on a "regular" basis. Even then, production was scarce.

    As such, this watch is, without a doubt amongst the most monumental timepieces to grace the market thus far. It staunchly holds its place in any discussion of historically important masterpieces, such as the blockbuster Patek Philippe steel reference 1518 or, later, platinum reference 2499.

    Today, the market has identified three white gold reference 2497s, including the present watch. One example, bearing case number 680'004 and movement number 888'055 is on consecutive number away from the present watch. The second known example carries case number 679'800 and movement number 888'015.

    This wristwatch is among the very earliest examples of reference 2497 produced. The dials of first series reference 2497s, as seen on this watch, were fitted with Arabic and dot raised hour markers. Later models would feature faceted, baton hour markers.

    The present watch was first consigned at auction in 2001 by its original owner and appeared on the market again in 2005. Since then, it has resided in the same prestigious collection, only to surface again, twelve years later. Three owner watches are an absolute rarity. The sparse ownership of this watch only underlies its importance and desirability.

    Featuring a stunning silvered opaline finish, this dial is preserved in astounding condition. The enamel is thick and raised, with a strong accent above the “e” in Genève. It is free of visible tarnishing and spotting, attesting to the care and love it has received throughout its lifespan. The case is of stunning quality. Produced by Wenger, it is distinguished by its rounded caseback, short lugs and larger case diameter. The caseback is furthermore stamped with its case maker’s mark, a “1” inside a hammer. Beneath two of the lugs are deep and crisp hallmarks. There is very pronounced fluting to the lugs.

    One striking feature of the present watch is its captivating original Patek Philippe white gold bracelet produced by Gay Frères, which is flexible and designed with a “Florentine” finish. It is a dream come true for any collector, as it not only provides great flair, but is also confirmed by the Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives.

    In addition, the bracelet features a small detail that may not strike a casual observer. On the upper left side of the bottom bracelet is a small groove, which is also repeated on the top the bracelet. This is no flaw. Instead, this feature was intentionally done by Patek Philippe to allow the wearer to easily access the correctors without having to remove the bracelet – a sign of both the firm's eye for detail and the bracelet’s originality to the watch.

    Another nice touch is the plexi crystal, which has a loupe to magnify the day and date. These plexis can only be found on vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches. They incredibly rare and exceedingly hard to find today.

    There are watches that represent the apex of collecting. We are proud to offer one such timepiece - a reminder, testament even, of the grace and beauty of Patek Philippe's designs and a bygone era of watchmaking.

  • Artist Biography

    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. 2497
An extremely rare, beautiful and historically important white gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with centre seconds, moonphases and original bracelet

1954
37mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF1,500,000 - 3,000,000 
€1,290,000-2,590,000
$1,550,000-3,100,000

Sold for CHF2,292,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017