A very fine, rare and attractive pink gold wristwatch with center seconds, "spider" lugs and French import marks. Retailed by Jean Guillermin

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1961
    Reference No: 1578
    Movement No: 709'549
    Case No: 2'616'508
    Material: 18K pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 27SC, 18 jewels, stamped twice with the Geneva seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Associated 18K pink gold buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1961 and its subsequent sale on October 5, 1962, and additional associated custom-made glazed case back

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 1578 is the non chronographic brethren of reference 1579. The custom of having two references for the same case design - one with chronograph and one without - is somewhat of a tradition for the vintage production brand: among the most notable examples, beyond references 1578 and 1579, we can count reference 1518 and reference 1526, and their evolutions reference 2499 and 2497.

    The distinguishing feature of reference 1578 is found in the lugs: the extremely complex faceted execution of this detail earned both references the nickname "spider lugs" ("anse a ragno" in Italian), due to the vague resemblance of the watch profile to the silhouette of an arachnid. The looks granted to the watch by the spider lugs is very appealing, equally unusual, and definitely unmistakable, and over time it became one of the most appreciated designs by Patek Philippe collectors. The downside of this construction is however en extreme sensitivity to polishing: the sharp edges of the lugs facets are the cornerstone on which the looks of this model is built upon, but they are doomed to fade after just a handful of polishings. Luckily, in this instance the facets are still very well preserved and defined, as are the hallmarks on the sides of the lugs.
    The fact that such a design has never again been re-proposed by the brand makes the two references even more appealing and collectible: if a Patek Philippe enthusiasts wants to own one of the iconic "Patek Spider Lugs", he or she has only these two options.

    Reference 1578 actually presents a complex evolution: it was produced both with small seconds at 6 o' clock, and with center seconds such as in the present instance. Not only the center seconds is considered by many the most appealing version, but it is furthermore the rarest. Center seconds 1578 can be divided in two series: the first series, in production from 1943 to 1950, features cal. 12SC, the second series (1949 - 1962) - of which the present piece is a representative - features instead the celebrated calibre 27SC. Considered one of the best center seconds vintage calibres, this movement will be used by Patek for some of their most appreciated and collectible timepieces, it will be for example the base on which the brand will build the movement of perpetual calendar reference 2497 (and 2438/1).

    Its iconic looks, technical proficiency and overall rarity would already make this piece highly appealing, but the case material propels this example even further up a collector wish list, as it is made of pink gold. Before the discovery of this treasure, only 16 pink gold 1578 with cal. 27SC were known. Thus, this fresh-to-the-market piece is the 17th pink example to be discovered.

  • 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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FROM AN IMPORTANT ASIAN COLLECTOR

Ref. 1578
A very fine, rare and attractive pink gold wristwatch with center seconds, "spider" lugs and French import marks. Retailed by Jean Guillermin

百達翡麗,型號1578,非常精細及罕有,18K玫瑰金腕錶,配「spider lugs」蜘蛛錶耳及進口法國印記,由Jean Guillermin銷售,約1961年製。附後補證書

1961
35mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
HK$120,000 - 200,000 
€13,200-22,000
$15,400-25,600

sold for HK$212,500

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SIX

Hong Kong Auction 29 May 2018