Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XV Geneva Saturday, May 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1911/1936
    Reference No: 96
    Movement No: 166'592
    Case No: 294'357
    Model Name: Calatrava
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 12'''120, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Dimensions: 31mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of this watch in 1911 and its subsequent sale on December 24, 1936

  • Catalogue Essay

    Among the first Patek Philippe models to be granted a reference number, reference 96 was launched in 1932 - the same year the Sterns took over Patek Philippe - and indeed the reference system is part of their re-organisation of the company. It is considered a cornerstone of the Patek Philippe production and it is in fact the first "Calatrava" model, whose stylistic repercussions are still felt today - as easily testified by a simple glance at current-production ref. 5196.

    It was designed following the Bauhaus dogma "form follows function", and indeed the entire watch architecture is a hymn to utilitarian elegance. The case design is very simple, but the thought and dedication that was put into finding the proportions and curves which maximised the elegance of the case - while keeping it frill-free - must have been gargantuan. Usually, the dial of the model is as simple as its case: feuille or (later) dauphine , outer dot minute divisions, sober applied baton numerals and subsidiary seconds at six.

    The standard dial configuration for the reference is as elegant and well-proportioned as its case, but a quick look at this example is enough to realise we are in the presence of something well removed from the “standard” production.
    In fact, few examples of the reference were fitted with different dials. Early examples are known with no subsidiary seconds, some pieces feature Roman or Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12, other feature Breguet numerals, some are known with two-tones finish, and some, such as in this instance, not only present an incredibly attractive two-tone sector dial, but even the mechanical modification of the indirect center seconds.

    Early examples of the reference - such as this one - are powered by cal. 12’’’120 based on a LeCoultre ebauche intended for Gondolo timepieces but never used due to the recession), which features subsidiary seconds. Such LeCoultre movements were employed from 1932 to 1935. In 1935, Patek Philippe moves to a new version of cal. 12’’’120 - also in this instances some watches are upgraded with a Victorin Piguet-devised indirect seconds hack.

    Beyond the obvious differences between the two movements, even the implementation of the indirect center seconds varies according to the movement. LeCoultre ebauche present “under the dial” gears, while Victorin Piguet choose to employ an “over the bridge” system.

    A representative of the earliest series of ref. 96 - furthermore endowed with an incredibly beautiful and absolutely untouched two-tone sector dial - the present watch is sure to captivate heart and mind of the most demanding collectors of exotic and rare timepieces. To the best of our knowledge, we know 44 examples of reference 96 in yellow gold with a sector dial and indirect center seconds.

  • 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. 96
A supremely uncommon and enormously attractive yellow gold wristwatch with indirect center seconds and two-tone sector dial

31mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF55,440

Contact Specialist

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

+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XV

Geneva Auction 7 - 8 May 2022