Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE Geneva Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1983
    Reference No: 881/1
    Movement No: 866'713
    Case No: 332'925
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 17'', 29 jewels
    Dimensions: 52mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Extract for the Archives confirming date of production of the present watch in 1983 and its subsequent sale on February 22, 1983

  • Catalogue Essay

    It is interesting to note that in the early 1980s, amidst the quartz crisis affecting the Swiss watchmaking industry, there were still retailers who would commission high complication pieces from brands who had maintained the expertise to make them for collectors with the passion to buy them.

    This is why the present reference 881/1 stands out amongst this era’s production. Not only is it a highly complicated mechanical masterpiece, but its ultimate audacity resides in the fact that it is a pocketwatch.

    The reference 881 was made in extremely low numbers during the 1980s and featured a minute repeater, perpetual calendar with phases of the moon, and a 24-hour indicator.

    The present lot has the particularity of also featuring a prestigious and rarely seen equation of time complication at 12 o’clock. A highly complex astronomical indication, the equation of time is the difference between when the sun is at its highest point in the sky on a given day, also known as true or apparent solar time, and mean time – the time indicated on a watch or clock which is divided into days of twenty four hours.

    The Earth’s rotation around its axis and the fact that our planet’s orbit isn’t perfectly round means that sometimes the earth travels a bit faster, sometimes a bit slower and thus the solar time varies each day and can be either a few minutes longer or shorter than twenty four hours. In fact the equation of time is zero only four times a year. For the rest of the year, solar time can be ahead of mean time by as much as about 16 minutes, or behind by just over 14 minutes.

    The present watch is part of a series of four made by special order for Chronometrie Beyer in Zürich in the early 1980s for some of the retailer's most important clients. Research has shown that amongst these four timepieces, three are fitted with a hunter case (reference 881/1) and one with an open face case (reference 880/1). One of the four, with movement number 866’721, resides in the collection of Musée d'Horlogerie du Locle.

    The present lot differs from the other two hunter cased models as it is the only one with a plain polished case whereas the other two are both engine-turned. Another interesting difference is that it is the only watch without Beyer's signature on the dial, but only the engraved Beyer internal stock number on the case. With its combination of a minute repeater and perpetual calendar, Patek Philippe’s most sought after complications, this exceptionally rare pocket watch is a true trophy for the world’s most important collections.

  • 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. 881/1
An extremely rare and important yellow gold hunter-cased minute repeating perpetual calendar watch with phases of the moon, equation of time and AM/PM indicator, retailed by Beyer/Zurich

52mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF130,000 - 180,000 

Sold for CHF161,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016