An extremely rare and highly important stainless steel split-seconds chronograph wristwatch with silvered dial, raised steel hour markers and tachometer scale

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1945
    Reference No: 1436
    Movement No: 863'056
    Case No: 630'772
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13''', 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant buckle, stamped Patek Philippe Genève
    Dimensions: 33mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming year of production of the present watch in 1945 and its subsequent sale on May 11, 1949
    Literature: John Goldberger, Patek Philippe Steel Watches, pg. 302-305

  • Catalogue Essay

    One can perfectly well understand that the elite of watch manufacturers would reserve their most complicated and consequently valuable movements for precious metal cases. The consequence is, however, that lovers and collectors of the finest complicated vintage wristwatches will struggle to ever find a favorite piece in a stainless steel case. The perfect example of this theory is Patek Philippe, and only too many passionate collectors of the firm’s vintage pieces regret not to have yet seen a reference 2499, two crown world time, or vintage minute repeater in a stainless steel case.

    Of course, no rule is without exception and some references were eventually made in microscopic quantities in stainless steel cases. For example, we know today of only one stainless steel perpetual calendar, reference 1591, only one example of a stainless steel reference 1526, and only four examples of the legendary perpetual calendar chronograph reference 1518. These watches are today crowning either the world's most important and prestigious private collections, or are safely protected on exhibit in Patek Philippe’s own museum in Geneva. What they all have in common is that they are prominently illustrated and described in John Goldberger’s bible for collectors of Patek Philippe Steel watches, and are the material of which horological dreams are made.

    Reference 1436 is no exception to this rule. One of the finest references ever made by Patek Philippe, it is one of only two vintage split second chronograph references made by the distinguished firm, and is normally cased in yellow gold with only a very small number completed in pink gold. According to scholarship, a small quantity of stainless steel cases was made during the first half of the 1940s, but less than a handful were actually ever used and fitted with movements. The present watch is now offered only for the second time ever since its original sale in 1949, having only seen three ownerships since its original purchase over half a century ago. Another example (movement no. 862534, and case no. 626222) was originally made for the important Italian retailer Astrua in Torino, and has not been seen in public since its last appearance at auction in 1994. It is understood that the watch is in the private ownership of one of the world’s most important collectors, with a very small chance of becoming available for purchase in the foreseeable future.

    Today, these are the only two known reference 1436 watches in stainless steel made and completed in the 1940s. A third watch was made and completed in 1941 (case no. 626223, the consecutive case number to the retailer Astrua), and sold to an Italian retailer in September of 1942 where it remained unsold for 8 years, when it was subsequently re-cased in yellow gold, meeting the taste of a once again blossoming post-war society. The whereabouts of this steel case are not known.

    The present watch was originally sold to the Henry Stern Watch Agency, exclusive importers of Patek Philippe watches to the U.S.A., clearly denoted by the stamped HOX denomination on the balance bridge. Not only has it hardly seen any wear throughout its life, but also most likely not more than one case polishing in over 65 years of life. Inside the case back there are no traces of any watchmaker's interventions, and it is possible, given the extraordinary condition of the movement that it has never been dismantled or worked on since leaving Patek Philippe’s workshops in 1949. The dial is in outstandingly beautiful condition for a watch of its age, and the signature and scales are all incredible crisp, well defined and in untouched raised black hard enamel.

    Given the watch’s supreme rarity, beauty, and importance, it comes as no surprise that John Goldberger has dedicated four pages to the presentation of this treasure, a privilege only shared with a handful of other watches in his book.

  • 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. 1436
An extremely rare and highly important stainless steel split-seconds chronograph wristwatch with silvered dial, raised steel hour markers and tachometer scale

1945
33mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF1,500,000 - 3,000,000 

sold for CHF3,301,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm