Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XI Geneva Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1950
    Reference No: 605HU
    Movement No: 931'071
    Case No: 683'464
    Model Name: Worldtime
    Material: 18k pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 17-170HU, 18 jewels
    Dimensions: 44mm Diameter
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1950 with world time dial, enamel center, Europe, Asia, Africa and its subsequent sale on April 16, 1957

  • Catalogue Essay

    The arrival on the market of a Patek Philippe world time pocket watch featuring a cloisonné enamel dial is always exhilarating, but the discovery of an example unknown to the market is a transcendental moment of awe and excitement.

    Four reference 605HU were known until today, featuring a dial depicting Europe, Asia and Africa, however they were all cased in yellow gold. The present model, fresh to the market and from the family of the original owner, is the only one known housed in a pink gold case adding an extra layer of desirability.

    Before the arrival on the market of the present piece, we knew of only 6 other reference 605HU cased in pink gold but featuring different dials.

    Patek Philippe’s vintage world time watches, especially with cloisonné enamel dials have garnered a cult status amongst collectors. World time watches were serially produced by Patek Philippe from the late 1930s to the 1950s (and then again in modern form from 2000 onward), all of them made under the absolute supervision of watchmaker Louis Cottier, inventor of the world time system.

    In 1937, Cottier submitted to the company a first offer for a 17’’’ world time movement and he would eventually create less than 100 movements, most of them cased in reference 605. The model was originally offered with a silver (sometimes champagne or pink) dial, but it was a commercial flop due to the combination of the downhill trend of pocket watches in then-current fashion and the novelty of the world time system which was met with lukewarm enthusiasm by Patek Philippe clients. This is why it is very common to see years passing between the production date of a 605 HU and its sale: in this case for example, the watch was manufactured in 1950 but sold only in 1957.

    When analyzing the back of the enamel disc, one can notice on the opposite side from where the movement number is stamped another mark which would look like an unusual glyph to an untrained eye. In fact, that is the stamp of Louis Cottier (an interlaced L an C). Connoisseurs of watchmaking will find it surprising for a watchmaker to sign a dial which is not made by the watchmaker. In fact, due to the mechanical connections of the revolving bezel and dial to the world time mechanism, Cottier himself supervised every single production passage for these pieces and thus the back of the dial bears his mark.

    An absolutely thrilling find, the present reference 605HU from the family of the original owner, housed in pink gold and featuring a cloisonné enamel dial featuring Europe, Asia and Africa is not merely the only one known and probably unique example in this configuration but it is in incredible condition and an absolute must have for the collector of rare and historically important vintage pieces.

  • 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. 605HU
A previously unknown and most probably unique pink gold open face worldtime pocketwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting a map of Europe, Asia, Africa

44mm Diameter

CHF250,000 - 500,000 

Sold for CHF1,160,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020