A fine, very rare, and extremely attractive yellow gold wristwatch with black dial, retailed by Gübelin

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 96
    Movement No: 722'179
    Case No: 306'231, bezel hand-engraved "231" to the inside
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 12-400, 18 jewels, stamped twice with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Gilt buckle
    Dimensions: 31mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with black dial in 1953 and its subsequent sale on March 19, 1954

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 96 is a cornerstone of Patek Philippe production, and the first example of what is today possibly the most elegant and distinguished line of dress watches: the Calatrava collection. Launched in 1932, it was not only the first Calatrava, but also one of the very first model to feature a reference number (the reference system was indeed introduced in 1932), and the first model to apply the Bauhaus staple that “form follows function”. Indeed there are no additional and unnecessary ornaments or decorations. The piece achieves its powerful impact thanks to clean, simple, elegant lines. By many, reference 96 is considered the model against which every and all dress watches shall be compared, a true benchmark for the category.

    The present example is without a doubt one of the most attractive and collectible reference 96 to recently appear on the market. Its condition alone would place it on top of a purist collector wishlist, but it is furthermore blessed by an equally well preserved black dial, moreover signed by Swiss retailer Gübelin. Black dials at the time were extremely rare, made only on request. To find together both a black dial and a Gübelin signature is a truly remarkable occurrence. In fact, if we considered this series of reference 96 featuring a 12-400 calibre, only seven black dial examples are known, and of these seven only three - including this fresh to the market, never before seen masterpiece - feature the Gübelin signature.

  • 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. 96
A fine, very rare, and extremely attractive yellow gold wristwatch with black dial, retailed by Gübelin

1953
31mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF4,000 - 7,000 
€3,400-6,000
$4,200-7,400

sold for CHF33,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018