Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: Circa 1950
    Reference No: 1518
    Movement No: 867'364
    Case No: 652'366
    Material: 18K pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13''', 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K pink gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The “1518” has been a reference point for high-end Patek Philippe collectors since the very beginning of the field. Its status has only strengthened in recent years, thanks to the knowledge about important timepieces becoming more and more widespread. Any watch enthusiast today knows that it is the first perpetual calendar/chronograph made in series by the company, that it is incredibly scarce (with a total production of 281 pieces) and that if owning a yellow gold version is an aspirational dream for most people, variations in different metals are, without exaggerating, stellar timepieces. Only the most dedicated collectors - often after years or even decades of efforts - manage to make their way into the “pink 1518” club, given the fact that at any given time it can count a few dozens members at most.

    The present timepiece is indeed a representative of this rarefied category, as it bears a pink gold case, furthermore preserved in stellar condition. Not only it retains its original “blank” crown (while service replacements bear the Calatrava cross); the lugs are as full as the connoisseur would expect, the pinholes for removing the bars are well defined and do not present rounding to their edges and the satin finish to the band is wonderfully preserved. Most notably, the hallmark found on the band of the watch - a location obviously very sensitive to polishing - is incredibly crisp and deep, testament to the superior condition of this case.

    The dial features a subtle but important peculiarity: it is fully engraved/enameled. This is not always the case, as it is quite common to find dials with most of the graphics enameled, but the outer scale printed - and obviously cost-conscious solution, which allows at the same time less labor on a single dial, and the possibility of having “simple” engraved dial which can be stamped with the appropriate scale as needed. In this instance, instead, the tachymeter scale is also engraved enameled, making this dial much more rare and important than its peers with printed scale, and also much more costly to produce in the first place.

    It is furthermore highlighted by its superb condition, featuring its original engraved/enamel graphics. A detail which will impress the most jaded connoisseur is that day, month and moon discs are the original 1940s one, all the three of them bearing the full movement number engraved to the back. This is just a little short of miraculous as it is common occurrence on such models to find at least one of them changed with a service one, as it was a standard Patek Philippe procedure during service.

    From a provenance point of view the watch does not disappoint either. It has been residing in one of the world’s most important collection since the last time it appeared at public auction in 2005, nearly 20 years ago, and it had previously appeared on the market - of course in the same configuration - also in 1991 and 1990. This allows us to pinpoint its location over the course of the past 32 years and cements its status as one of the most studied and appreciated pink gold examples of the reference. Highlighting the “ultimate watch” status of the pink 1518, it is worth noting that a sibling of this watch, with case and movement numbers only 1 digit away from the present example, was sold by Phillips at our inaugural Geneva Watch Auction 1 sale and it now resides in the OAK collection, one of the most important vintage Patek Philippe collections in the world.

    The iconic 1518 has always been considered a stellar timepiece, but in recent times its monumental collectability and importance has being truly understood and its status as Ultimate Grail unarguably recognised by the collector’s community.

  • 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. 1518
A very uncommon, extremely collectible, highly important and fascinating pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases

Circa 1950
35mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF800,000 - 1,600,000 

Sold for CHF1,240,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022