Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1963
    Reference No: 2523/1
    Movement No: 724'302
    Case No: 313'036
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 12-400 HU, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe fitted box and Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1963 and its subsequent sale on 5 June 1964.
    Literature: Different Patek Philippe World Time watches are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 240-247.

  • Catalogue Essay

    There are watches that are icons, and there are watches that are milestones. Patek Philippe world time watches are of the rare breed that proudly combine the two and set the benchmark.

    Legend has it that it was in 1876 after missing a train in Ireland that Scottish railroad engineer Stanford Fleming began to look for a way to standardize time. Speaking before the Royal Canadian Institute in Toronto in 1879, he proposed to divide the Earth into 24 time zones of 15° each, one hour apart with a universal time for each individual zone. However, as with most revelations that threaten to change the world, his idea was met with considerable resistance from governments and scientific communities. Fleming’s persistence paid off and his idea was finally adopted in 1884 in Washington, when the 25 nations taking part in the International Meridian Conference decided that the prime meridian of 0° longitude would pass through Greenwich, England.

    Fleming’s contribution to the creation of the world time watch did not stop with the creation of the world’s first system of standardized time, Sir Sandford went further than that. In 1880, Fleming commissioned a watch manufacturer in London to construct a unique pocket watch that would accurately reflect his proposal, and so was born the “Cosmic Time” pocket watch. The times for each of the 24 “zones” in Fleming’s system were depicted on a single dial, making his “Cosmic Time” pocket watch the world’s first world time watch as we know it.

    However, surprisingly the world time watch seemed of little interest to watchmakers until genius watchmaker Louis Cottier designed a pocket watch movement featuring a local time with hour and minute hands at center, linked to a rotating 24hour ring, and bordered by a fixed outer dial ring with the names of different cities inscribed on it. The city of choice (local time zone) was placed at the 12 o'clock position with the hours/minutes hand set at local time, the watch would then display the correct time in both hours and minutes, night and day, for every time zone in the world simultaneously, all the while allowing easy and accurate reading of local time, and all on a single dial.

    Cottier miniaturized his invention in the late 1930s which first appeared in the Patek Philippe reference 1415, a single crown model with its bezel engraved with cities to be switched manually.

    Launched in 1953, the reference 2523 featured a new two-crown system, one for winding the watch and the other at 9 o’clock controlling the city disc. Two versions were available, reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs no longer sitting above the bezel.

    When introduced to the market this new double crown world time was not a commercial success resulting in very few pieces manufactured.

    According to research, nine reference 2523/1 are known all case metal and dial combinations. However, the present lot is the only one known with the prestigious Tiffany & Co. signature.

    Patek Philippe stopped the production of world time watches in the late 1960s with the passing away of Louis Cottier and this complication came back into the Patek Philippe catalogue only in 2000 with the reference 5110.

    The present lot stands out thanks to its impressive condition. The distinctive facetted lugs, the case with its polished and brushed surfaces is in unmolested condition and the superb dial proudly displays the Tiffany & Co. signature making the present lot even more desirable and unique.

    The 41 cities inscribed on the dial are an invitation to travel and to quote Baudelaire “all is order, naught amiss: Comfort and beauty, calm and bliss”

    Vintage Patek Philippe world time watches are rare but finding one in such superb condition with double signed dial is close to impossible and would easily be the crown jewel of any collection.

  • 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. 2523/1
An extremely rare, important and attractive 18K gold dual crown world time wristwatch with 24 hour indication, retailed by Tiffany & Co.

36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF900,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for CHF1,450,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017