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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1898/1953
    Reference No: 768
    Movement No: 97'903
    Case No: 678'103
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 19'', 36 jewels
    Dimensions: 53mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificat d'Origine et de Garantie stamped by Hausmann & Co in Rome, further accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the movement was made in 1898, cased in 1953 and subsequently sold on November 20, 1962.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The grande & petite sonnerie represents the pinnacle of watchmaking for the watchmaker and the collector.

    For the watchmaker creating a sonnerie requires, skill, experience, talent and a musical ear and demonstrates his or her prowess. The time and difficulty in assembling these watches as well as finding a watchmaker being able to do so explains why so few have ever been made.

    For the collector a sonnerie represents a grail, a culmination of a horological journey leading to the ownership of one of the most complex yet poetic complications ever created.

    A Grande Sonnerie is a timepiece that automatically chimes the hours on every hour and hours and quarters on every quarter when on petite sonnerie mode the watch will only chime the passing of the quarters. The present grande & petite sonnerie pocket watch by Patek Philippe is indeed a rare masterpiece. The movement was assembled in 1898, cased in 1953 and sold 9 years later in 1962 and as such bringing together two eras that normally would not have co-existed.

    It is mind boggling to think that such a complex movement was made at an era where calculations were done using pencil and paper and no modern machinery were available.

    The present ref 768 is extremely rare due to the fact that it is a “simple” grand & petite sonnerie without any extra complications as habitually Patek Philippe would reserve these movements for watches that would feature extra complications such as perpetual calendars.

    In fact only one other simple grande & petite sonnerie by Patek Philippe is known and was commissioned by no other than James Ward Packard.

    The present watch also features a carillon minute repeater meaning the quarters are chimed on three gongs and not on the usual two making it even more complex, rare and collectible.

    The case and dial are typical of 1950s streamlined designs. The no frills silver dial featuring baton markers and Roman numerals at III, IX and XII. The curvaceous gold case features a very unusual and never seen before large Calatrava cross engraved on the back, surrounded by a rim from the bottom of which protrudes a rehaut. This ingenious solution enables the watch to sit high when placed on a flat surface and to amplify the chimes.

    On the left side of the case is a lever for the sonnerie or silence selection, near 5 o’clock is the minute repeater trigger and near 3 o’clock the grande or petite sonnerie selector.
    The chimes of this masterpiece are pleasant, loud and crystalline.

    Taking into account the original caseback construction and the fact that the watch was cased in 1953 and sold only in 1962, it is possible that the watch was a demonstration piece destined to showcase Patek Philippe’s technical superiority.

    An elusive and rare piece, the present ref 768 grande & petite sonnerie carillon minute repeater is certainly one of the rarest pieces to ever leave the workshops of Patek Philippe.

  • 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. 768
An extremely rare, complex and historically important yellow gold openface minute repeating two-train carillon grande and petite sonnerie clock watch with original certificate

1898/1953
53mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF300,000 - 500,000 
€279,000-466,000
$325,000-541,000

Sold for CHF756,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021