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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1945
    Reference No: 1518
    Movement No: 863'671
    Case No: 638'781
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Mannual, cal. 13''', 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1945 and its subsequent sale on October 14, 1946.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A model of truly monumental importance, reference 1518 was the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced in series when it was introduced in 1941, the archetype of the only line of wristwatches continuously produced by Patek since the 1940s ( with references 2499, 3970, 5970 and today represented by ref. 5270). No matter the horological advances or aesthetic refinements of these subsequent references, their basic architecture is clearly traced back to their progenitor, the 1518, making this reference one of the single most important references in modern horology.

    It’s remarkable how, in the midst of war-torn Europe, Patek Philippe had the audacity, courage, and foresight to begin manufacturing such a complicated and groundbreaking wristwatch.

    According to research, only 281 examples were manufactured until the reference ceased production in 1954, a remarkably small output for such an extended period of time, motivated by the complexity of the timepiece. Already back then, such a slow production meant that these watches were reserved for the best clients of the firm, leaving many frustrated and watch-less - while this is not unusual today, especially with certain models, at that time it was a situation unheard of.

    The present representative of this landmark model has a number of features that make it extremely appealing for the “endgame” collector.
    Most obviously, it is offered in extremely appealing condition: the case presents full lugs and strong edges, with only minor hints of polishing, a remarkable occurrence for an 80 year old timepiece. The dial is also in fantastic condition, with all the engraved enameled graphics absolutely present and vibrant. Most notably, the tiny details of the signature (comma, accent, underline) all still present while they are infamous for being prone to disappear with utmost ease.
    The long signature denotes this dials as a pre-1948 dial. In fact this is an early and rare dial style for the reference, denoted by the fact that the tachymeter base (in this instance: “1 mile”) lays to the right of 12 o’clock, a detail which is indeed found until circa 1945. Starting from 1943, a dial version with the base on the left of 12 o’clock is also produced, and from 1946 examples with the designation “base 1000” straddling twelve o’clock make their appearance.
    A final layer of rarity, appeal and exoticism is given by the Spanish calendar discs: most of these pieces feature French or English calendar discs; to find another language is a pleasant additional detail for the discerning collector of fine timepieces.

    Having rested for the past few decades in a distinguished italian collection, this example of reference 1518 is a horological treasure sure to be the star of any vintage watch collection.

  • 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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179

Ref. 1518
An important, very rare and extremely attractive yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases

1945
35mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF250,000 - 500,000 
€234,000-468,000
$274,000-549,000

Sold for CHF415,800

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020