Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: X Geneva Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1981
    Reference No: 866/105
    Movement No: 933'143
    Case No: 433'984
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 17-170
    Dimensions: 47mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed. Enamel signed G. Menni '82
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Phillipe Extract from the archives confirming production of the present watch in 1981 and its subsequent sale on April 18, 1983. Furthermore accompanied by Patek Philippe service tag and box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    While today’s collectors most often associate Patek Philippe with exceptional wristwatches, in particular those with complications, the company has long excelled in artistic representations. The tradition of “belle horlogerie” or “beautiful watchmaking” pairs skilled watchmakers with craftsmen specializing in engraving, enameling and gem-setting. Patek Philippe worked with the most highly-skilled artisans, resulting in works of art like the present timepiece.

    Reference 866 was used by Patek Philippe to highlight different artistic crafts such as engraving or enameling. Each piece was unique, the reference number extension changing accordingly for each timepiece, starting with ref 866-01 to 866-148. These models were made from the early 1970s to the late 1980s.

    We owe the mesmerizing scene pained on the back of the present watch to G. Menni, one of Patek Philippe’s most celebrated enamel artists, along with Suzanne Rohr. Menni worked for Patek Philippe from the early 1980s to the late 1990s.

    The painting, referred by Patek Philippe as a “Marine” theme, represents two battling galleons. The original painting having inspired the present work on enamel is unknown, but can be attributed to the 17th century Dutch school.

    Menni has managed to perfectly capture with superb minutiae the details of the ships where each cannon is depicted. The color of the sea and shape of the sails give an incredible impression of movement.
    Menni used the traditional Geneva method of miniature enameling which only a handful of artisans master. The artist first applies a white base enamel, that will serve as the “canvas” to the caseback that undergoes a first firing at a temperature of around 900°C in order to be able to withstand the many subsequent firings in the furnace.

    The artist then traces the outlines of the motifs with a brush consisting of two or three marten's hairs. Each color applied separately and placed in a kiln, during this process serves to vitrify and intensify the color and light effects as well as the gradation of the enamel. A dangerous process as at each firing the dial can break or the enamel may react differently to the heat, resulting in high rejection rates.

    An incredibly attractive watch with a true work of art on the back the present watch would perfectly fit the collection of the dandy aesthete.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 866/105
A unique and very attractive open face yellow gold pocketwatch with Naval Battle scene in miniature enamel by G. Menni

47mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed. Enamel signed G. Menni '82

CHF80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for CHF125,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: X

Geneva Auction 9-10 November 2019