An extremely fine, rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1943
    Reference No: 130
    Movement No: 863'228
    Case No: 626'185, bezel further stamped "185" to the inside
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13", 23 jewels, stamped twice with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Pin buckle
    Dimensions: 33mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1943 and its subsequent sale on April 27, 1945

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1920s, Patek Philippe noticed a surge in the demand for chronograph wristwatches. At the beginning, some very small series and piece uniques were made, mostly powered by a Victorin Piguet ébauche, but by the 1930s it was clear that a serially produced model was necessary to satisfy demand. So it was then that reference 130, the first serially produced Patek Philippe chronograph, saw the light of day. Launched in 1934, it is powered by a heavily modified Valjoux movement, cal. 13 130, as the 13 lignes movement was to be housed in the reference 130 case (as a matter of fact, only a few examples made before 1936 feature a different movement). The model was extremely successful and remained in production at least until 1964, and albeit it was manufactured for close to 30 years, the output is very limited, totaling about 1500 pieces. It was serially produced in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel (other metals have been used for special request pieces), with the steel version being the rarest: it is speculated about 146 examples in steel exist (about 65 known from the market).
    The rarity of the steel version is explained by the fact the Patek Philippe traditionally was - as it now - a high-end luxury brand, thus most of their clients opted for the more luxurious gold version, with the consequence of making the steel version the most scarce and thus, today, the most collectible.

    The rarity of stainless steel reference 130 is however only part of its appeal. It is undeniable that the looks of the model are extremely elegant, and at the same time robust and sporty. This is due partly to the more understated and utilitarian look of steel compared to gold, and partly to the different case shape of steel models. In fact, creating a steel case is a completely different task than creating a gold case: the different physical properties of the metal prevent using the same tooling machines used for gold cases. The difference is so important that Patek Philippe actually used two different case suppliers: Vichet for gold cases, and Wenger - a maker specialized in steel works - for steel case. As said, the result is a not-so-subtle difference in looks between gold and steel cases, the steel ones featuring sharply pointed lug ends and a more tonneau construction than gold ones.

    Beyond the stainless steel case, the present watch also features an extremely appealing dial. This model came with a variety of dial variations: from Arabic numerals, to Roman numerals, to Breguet numerals, passing by baton indexes (short or long), black dials, sector dials. It would in fact appear that the present dial configuration, featuring Roman numerals at 12 and 6, and oversized applied baton indexes for the remaining hours, is the most difficult to come by. Only 9 other examples are known in steel with the present configuration.

  • 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. 130
An extremely fine, rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch

1943
33mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 160,000 
€68,600-137,000
$84,700-169,000

sold for CHF112,500

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