Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX featuring the Guido Mondani Collection Geneva Saturday, May 11, 2024 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1955
    Reference No: 2438-1
    Movement No: 888'167
    Case No: 2'619'206
    Model Name: "Secondi al Centro"
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 27SCQ, 18 jewels, stamped three times with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1955 with 1/5th-sec. external minute circle dial, and its subsequent sale on September 19th, 1963.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Reference 2438/1 stands as one of Patek Philippe's most significant creations. With only 60-70 pieces crafted in yellow and pink gold, it holds the distinction of being the scarcest perpetual calendar model ever produced by the brand, dwarfing the numbers of better-known references like the reference 1518 and 2499, which saw approximately 281 and 349 examples respectively.

    The world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch with centre seconds, along side its sibling reference 2497 with a snap on caseback, its rarity is mainly attributed to its unconventional position in Patek's production line. The brand was renowned for its high-end, intricate timepieces, not for its tool watches. Consequently, the concept of a heavily priced gold perpetual calendar watch with waterproof capabilities seemed incongruous to their clientele.

    An exemplar horological design, characterised by its harmonious symmetry, striking curves, and generous case dimensions, reference 2438-1 also further marked the debut of the world's first serially produced waterproof perpetual calendar wristwatch.

    Believed to have been produced in only 35 examples in yellow gold with 26 having already appeared to the market, the reference 2438-1 can be categorised into two distinct series: the first with applied Arabic numerals and feuille hands, and the second, exemplified by the present watch, featuring applied baton numerals and dauphine hands.

    It is interesting to note that the addition of center seconds necessitated the development of a totally new movement, as retrofitting the existing cal. 13’’-130 present on the reference 2499 was not possible. Patek Philippe thus utilized 179 consecutively numbered calibers 27SC (888’000 to 888’178), to create the caliber 27SCQ (Second au Centre Quantième).

    Remarkably, the present watch boasts an interesting feature only seen once before on a reference 2438-1 previously sold at Phillips Geneva in November 2023 (lot 93) two movement and case numbers away from the present example. Its Geneva Seal-marked movement is stamped not once or twice, but three times with the Seal. This anomaly, possibly part of a batch, adds an intriguing dimension to the timepiece, appealing to discerning connoisseurs.

    Offered in excellent overall condition and possessing unparalleled allure, this fresh to the market reference 2438-1 represents the dawn of waterproof perpetual calendars and remains the rarest perpetual calendar model ever serially produced by the brand. It is destined for a place of utmost prominence in the most distinguished vintage watch collections.

  • 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. 2438-1
An incredibly rare, highly collectible and very important yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with center seconds, moonphases and screw-down caseback

37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF250,000 - 500,000 

Sold for CHF406,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

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Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX featuring the Guido Mondani Collection

Geneva Auction 11 - 12 May 2024