Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1963
    Reference No: 2499
    Movement No: 869'332
    Case No: 2'632'524
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13''', 23 jewels, stamped with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives dated September 16, 1996 confirming production of this watch with black dial in 1964 and its subsequent sale on January 29, 1965; Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives dated May 30, 1997 stating that the watch was examined at Patek Philippe workshop and the company guarantees for the validity of the provided information and confirming production of the present watch with black dial and applied yellow gold indexes.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Patek Philippe is known for being one of the most “strict” watch producers. Special request pieces - such as examples with case metals or dial colors different from the standard - are hardly ever granted, and only to their most exclusive clients. Such a restricted output combined with the elected buyers - which are obviously generally not inclined to sell their custom order Patek Philippe - resulted in the near mythical status of special order Patek Philippe timepieces.

    If such a concept is true for modern pieces, when it comes to vintage ones it is even more marked, given the overall much lower output for vintage models. One of the characteristic that is common to nearly all vintage complicated - perpetual calendar and above - Patek Philippe wristwatches (and most of the simpler ones as well) is that they mount a silvered dial. Black dial variations can be nearly counted on the fingers of one’s hands with 12 examples in total: one 1526, no known 1518, 2 examples of ref. 2497 and 1 of its sibling 2438/1, 6 examples of ref. 2499, 2 of 2499/100, and no known example of either ref. 3448 or 3450. No black vintage minute repeater wristwatches are known. Even assuming a few obscure pieces have eluded this list, considering we are talking of the entire complicated production of the company over about half a century, it is obvious that the level of rarity of black variations is beyond stellar.

    While one might be baffled by such scarcity, especially when considering the incredible aesthetic impacts of black dial pieces, it can be explained by the fact that Patek Philippe always considered themselves the foremost producers of high-end timepieces, with a focus on complicated and evening watches. If that is true today (even amidst the success of their sport watch lines), 50 years ago it was the absolute linchpin of their philosophy. Thus, a piece as refined as a ref. 2499 donning a sporty black dial was something they were extremely recalcitrant to create.

    When they did do it, however, the result was absolutely mind-blowing as anyone can immediately notice when admiring this superb example. In this instance, the surface of the dial offers an outstandingly well preserved gloss/mirror finish free of any signs of ageing or wear. The graphics are realised with gold ink, ensuring perfect contrast with the dial and, at the same time, reprising the gold color of the case for a stunning final ensemble.

    The timepiece was originally sold in 1963 and first appeared at public sale 30 years later, in 1994, with a silvered dial. It then reappeared in 2000 with the present dial when it was acquired by the current owner. It is beyond doubt that the dial was installed by Patek Philippe, as it bears the last three digits of the movement on the inside of the dial bracing ring, thus linking dial and movement unequivocally. Furthermore, the watch is consigned with two Extracts from the Archives which suggest the exact timeline of this intervention.

    A first Extract dated September 1996 mentions the original black dial, and a second one dated May 1997 mentions the black dial with applied gold indexes and furthermore mentions that “This watch has been examined at our workshop and we guarantee the validity of the information provided”, turning effectively the Extract into a Certificate of Authenticity - which is not a standard Patek Philippe service, but it is known to have been - very rarely - granted to some important clients for equally important watches. It is easy to deduce that the owner of the watch received in 1996 the first Extract stating the watch was born with black dial, and subsequently asked Patek Philippe to bring the watch back to its original configuration. The company gracefully agreed, linked to the watch a new-old-stock glossy black dial made, judging by the Sigma APRIOR “Swiss” designation and by the production techniques, most likely in the 80s, and then issued the new Extract in 1997 with the more detailed dial description and the written guarantee of authenticity - as they had just fully examined the watch.

    As a result, the present timepiece not only is the only example of 2499 surely confirmed to have been born with a black dial, but furthermore, thanks to Patek Philippe intervention, it features a dial in absolutely stunning condition.

    In fact, out of the 6 known black ref. 2499s, this is the only publicly known example whose Extract openly confirms the original presence of a black dial, as one can see in the following table.

    no. 869’332 - this watch, confirmed black dial
    no. 869’442 - sold at auction in 2021, Extract does not mention black dial
    no. 869’468 - sold at auction in 2020, Extract mentions black dial as later upgrade
    no. 868’764 - sold at auction in 2010, confirmed born with silvered dial
    no. 868’590 - sold at auction in 1996, no info available about the Extract
    no. 868’349 - known from literature, no info available about Extract

    Given all of the above, the collector will realise the momentous occasion that the re-appearance after 22 years of this watch on the market is, and be sure that it might be years before he or she is afforded the chance of procuring themselves one of the most hallowed wristwatch models in the world in its arguably most striking and rare configuration, and furthermore the only example so far confirmed by the Extract to have been born with a black dial.

  • 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. 2499
A highly elusive, extremely sought-after and supremely impressive yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases and glossy black dial with gilt graphics. The only example known with Extract-confirmed black dial

37.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF400,000 - 800,000 

Sold for CHF1,179,500

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