A highly important and very rare pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with pink dial, moon phases and heavy Gay Freres bracelet signed Patek Philippe

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1948
    Reference No: 1518
    Movement No: 867'363
    Case No: 652'365
    Material: 18k pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, 13'''
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K pink gold heavy bracelet, signed Gay Freres and Patek Philippe
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k pink gold folding clasp
    Dimensions: 35mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, bracelet further signed GF for Gay Freres
    Accessories: Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with rose dial, Arabic numerals and rose gold dots, tachometer scale and bracelet in rose gold in 1948 and its subsequent sale on December 21st, 1948
    Literature: A pink on pink reference 1518 however without bracelet is illsutated in Patek Philippe Museum, Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, page 303

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 1518 was launched in 1941 and was not only Patek Philippe’s first wristwatch ever to feature a chronograph and a perpetual calendar, but in fact the world’s first ever made in series.

    This landmark model is not only a must to any serious collector of vintage wristwatches but also a mission more and more difficult to accomplish given the scarcity of well-preserved examples coming to the market. Literature suggests that in approximate 14 years of the model’s production a total of 281 examples have been made. The majority of these were cased in yellow gold and fitted with silvered dials. Examples in pink gold are exceedingly rare.

    Examples of reference 1518 cased in rose gold were either fitted with a silvered dial and in rare instances with a rose dial. Some 12 watches with this mythical “pink on pink” dial combination are known today, making it one of the rarest and most exclusive complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch for a collector to acquire. All of these watches known to have survived are in the hands of connoisseurs and it normally takes years until a well preserved example of this limited series comes to the market. It is consequently a true event when a previously unknown example is offered at auction, completely fresh to the market and never been shown or offered publicly before. The present example is such an event as it is one of the very few ultra-watches that the public has never before known about.

    The present example has a flawless and well documented provenance and has, since its manufacture in 1948, only been in the hands of 4 owners. Until the late 1970s, it was the property of the original owner’s family when acquired, via an agent, by Zurich based Harald Schade, one of the world’s most important and knowledgeable gentleman dealers of vintage watches at the time. It remained in his personal and private collection until he sold it to a European collector in 1990. Over a decade later, in 2002, Schade was fortunate enough to purchase it again from his client and passed it on to an important US collector who held onto it until this auction.

    Throughout his life this “pink on pink” reference 1518 has seen hardly any wear and consequently was never exposed to polishing and repeated servicing. The strong case proportions and in particular the very crisp hallmark on the left case side are proof of this. The dial was never restored and the signature and all the scales are beautifully raised in black hard enamel. Pending the light the dial shines in warm tones of copper and rose and has an attractive patina to the surface lacquer.

    The most breath-taking visual element of this watch is however the massive pink gold Gay Frères bracelet, never seen on any reference 1518 before. A substantial 20 mm wide and over 5 mm thick, it is composed of 7 rows of oversized rice grains. The records of Patek Philippe show that the bracelet was charged to the client at the astonishing amount of 1,000 Swiss francs, nearly as much as the watch itself. The archives of Patek Philippe show that this bracelet was a specific order of the original owner, a prominent French businessman.

    To an educated and passionate collector of vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches, the present reference 1518 constitutes an opportunity not to be missed. Examples, fresh to the market and as honest and unrestored as the present watch, paired with a flawless and well documented provenance, are becoming exceedingly rare and it may well take years until another one is offered for sale.

  • 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. 1518
A highly important and very rare pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with pink dial, moon phases and heavy Gay Freres bracelet signed Patek Philippe

1948
35mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, bracelet further signed GF for Gay Freres

Estimate
CHF800,000 - 1,400,000 

sold for CHF1,445,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: One

Geneva Auction 10 May 2015 6:30pm