Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX featuring the Guido Mondani Collection Geneva Saturday, May 11, 2024 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1956
    Reference No: 2526
    Movement No: 763'479
    Case No: 695'979, retailer number "M395 55081" hand-engraved under the top right lug
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 12-600AT, 30 jewels, stamped "HOX", stamped twice with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe "herringbone" bracelet, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed by maker, dial further signed by retailer, case further numbered by retailer
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1956 and its subsequent sale on March 21, 1957

  • Catalogue Essay

    Making its debut in 1953, the Patek Philippe ref. 2526 is a cornerstone model: it’s the firm’s first serially produced self-winding wristwatch. Adored by collectors, the prestigious reference is arguably one of the most impressive time-only model ever manufactured by Patek Philippe due to its technical supremacy and unparalleled elegance. The self-winding caliber 12-600AT is still today considered one of the best self-winding movement ever conceived by any watchmaker and it was the result od literally decades of R&D - as Patek had to wait for the Rolex patent on winding rotors to expire. The case is a simply timeless design, largely inspired by Bauhaus-models such as ref 96, 530 and 570 however its softer lines and more massive presence render it the perfect balance of masculinity and refinement. The waterproof construction adds a layer of practicality.

    Encased in yellow gold, pink gold, white gold and platinum, it is remained in production until 1960.

    The present example Patek Philippe ref. 2526 "Golden Rule" is one of the most recognisable and collectible variations of the series.

    Retailed by Tiffany, as proudly declared by the signature at 12 o’clock, it features an extremely unusual “Golden Rule” dial with the precept written in its entirety: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. A philosophical concept that can be found in most if not all religion and philosophical views on life, these dials baffled scholars for decades. Originally they were thought to be commissioned by the Freemasons - the Golden Rule being one of their main tenets. This turned out to be only partially true. In depth research discovered that these dials were most likely all ordered by then-US senator (and future President) Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s (probably in two different batches) to be gifted to friends and advisors. LBJ was in fact initiated to the Masonry in 1937 - which is where he most likely became familiar with the Golden Rule - even though he does not appear to have been very active - or at all - within the organisation in subsequent times.

    Last appeared at auction nearly a quarter of a century ago - in Geneva in 2000 - the piece has remained in the same collection ever since. It is offered in spectacular condition of both case and dial. The case features an immaculate and deep hallmark on the band at 6, and it even retains the Tiffany inventory number hand-engraved under the top left lug. The dial is equally well-preserved, with all graphics intact and without fading. No oxidation marks or scratches are to be found on the surface. The movement as well bears a particularity: it is stamped HOX as expected by a watch sold in USA at this time.

    Considering the importance and rarity of these timepieces, it is no surprise that they hardly ever appear on the market. This one was last spotted 24 years ago - and spent this entire span of time in the same collection - but even when looking at other examples the tune does not change: about 10 pieces are known in total. This is without a doubt an unmissable opportunity for the collector of rare, important and historical timepieces.

  • 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. 2526
A very well preserved, historically interesting and extremely uncommon yellow gold automatic wristwatch with "Golden Rule" dial and bracelet, retailed by Tiffany & Co.

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed by maker, dial further signed by retailer, case further numbered by retailer

CHF50,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF177,800

Contact Specialist

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

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
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