An extremely rare and possibly unique white gold asymmetrical wristwatch, designed by Gilbert Albert

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 3424
    Movement No: 856'904
    Case No: 2'633'483
    Model Name: "Asymétrie" collection
    Material: 18k white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 8'''85, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k white gold PPco pin buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm. Overall length 27mm. Wide
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch movement in 1958, encased in 1965 and sold on January 30th, 1980.
    Literature: Similar examples of asymmetric watches are illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 78, 163, 187 and 188

  • Catalogue Essay

    Following World War II, modern society’s sensibilities moved away from the conventional and toward a new spirit of mid-century modernism featuring innovations in design and architecture. Commercial air travel came in to its golden age and the jet-set looked to distinguish themselves with cutting edge and unexpected designs. This lovely and possibly unique “Asymétrie” wristwatch from 1958 is today considered a classic example of this new avant-garde age. The Swiss designer Gilbert Albert joined Patek Philippe in 1955. As a young artisan in their design department, he created some of the brand’s most unique and innovative cases. Gilbert Albert took his inspiration from his passion for modern art, and most notably the works of Brancusi and Mondrian. The bold yet simple designs of Albert's cases are in many ways revolutionary and unconventional, but are still considered as cutting-edge today as they were 60 years ago.

    The present watch belongs to the famous “Asymétrie” collection of asymmetrical timepieces. While some of Albert’s modern designs never went beyond the prototype stage due to the uncertainty of their commercial success, the reference 3424 was produced in an extremely limited number. Henri Stern, then chairman of Patek Philippe, was seduced by the case design and approved its manufacture. According to our research only a handful of the present reference in white gold have appeared in public, however each were fitted with dials featuring black sector lines. The present watch is the only known example in white gold to feature black “baton” indexes. Almost 60 years after its creation, reference 3424 looks as modern and avant-garde as when it was originally launched. This iconic watch will surely appeal to any collector of unconventional watches, as well as fans of contemporary art and design.

    The present watch was the property of celebrated American architectural photographer and magazine publisher Walter G. Ashworth. A lover of motorcycles, of design and timepieces, he started collecting in the mid-1970s. The present lot was originally offered for sale at Sotheby's New York on June 20, 2000 when Mr Ashworth offered part of his collection for sale, a collection of varied brands and styles but with one common denominator: impeccable condition.

  • 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. 3424
An extremely rare and possibly unique white gold asymmetrical wristwatch, designed by Gilbert Albert

1958
40mm. Overall length 27mm. Wide
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 120,000 
€73,400-110,000
$82,400-124,000

sold for CHF100,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016