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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 2499
    Movement No: 868’542
    Case No: 691’609
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13”’, 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37.7mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin, envelope, outer packaging and original fitted presentation box. Further delivered with two Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming its date of manufacture of the present timepiece in 1953 and its subsequent date of sale on 10th December 1956, one issued on 25th September 1996 and the other issued on 15th March 2021.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Patek Philippe is regarded as perhaps the most prestigious manufacturer of timepieces of the highest quality and has gained a loyal following over the decades by offering connoisseurs a wide array of complicated timepieces and mechanical artistry. However, it was one of the firm’s most prized innovations that have secured their position as an all-time great, the perpetual calendar chronograph.

    Taking over the reign in 1951, Patek Philippe released their second perpetual calendar chronograph reference via the coveted and legendary ref. 2499, still remaining as the only wristwatch with the specific complications available in the market at the time of its launch. Utilizing the same movement cal. 13-130 (Valjoux VZ 23 base) as the ref. 1518, the ref. 2499 boasted a completely new and refreshed case design. While the ref. 1518 features a rather traditional Calatrava inspired case with thin and elegant elongated lugs reminiscent of the stylistic period of the 1940s, collectors believe that the ref. 2499 is the perfect interpretation of a timeless appeal.

    An occasion as such is certainly one that is rare to come by, for watch lovers and dedicated collectors, the discovery of a fresh-to-the-market Patek Philippe ref. 2499 is exciting, however for an example from the elusive first series with its original documentation hailing from the collection of the descendants of the original owner is truly a momentous event. PHILLIPS is extremely humbled and delighted to be entrusted by the family of the original owner to offer the present fresh to the market example of the present Patek Philippe ref. 2499 yellow gold from the first series with its original Certificate of Origin at our Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII evening session.

    A special note from the family of the original owner:

    "In 1956, Mr. A.G, an entrepreneur, originally from Bologna, bought the present timepiece from an official Patek Philippe retailer in Italy. The watch belonged to the original owner until 1978. When he passed away, the watch was passed down to his only son. In 2018, the watch was passed down to the grandchildren of the original owner. Today, the grandchildren are offering the present timepiece."

    Featuring a bassine-style case with prominent fluted lugs, early examples of the ref. 2499 retained its tachymeter scale, applied Arabic numerals and square chronographic pushers as featured in the ref. 1518. Exceptionally well-received, the reference was produced until 1985 enjoying a prosperous production span of 34 years with only 349 examples produced across all metals and series with an average of only 9 pieces produced annually.

    The Patek Philippe reference 2499 across four series:

    - First series (1951 – 1960): Square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale - of which the present lot is an example.

    - Second series (1955 – 1964): Round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale.

    - Third series (1960 – 1978): Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions.

    - Fourth series (1978 – 1985): Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal.

    First series examples are extremely rare with only an estimated 48 examples produced across all case metals. Bearing traits that are unique to the specific series transitioning over from the ref. 1518, the first series can also be subdivided into two separate generations with cases made by two different case makers, Vichet (Key no. 9) and Wenger (Key no. 1).

    Vichet Case Profile: Approx. 1951 – 1953. Identifiable via Key no. 9 inside the caseback. 36.2mm diameter. Flat caseback and elongated lugs. 9 examples known in the market in 18K yellow gold.

    Wenger Case Profile: Approx. 1953 – 1960. Identifiable via Key no. 1 inside the caseback. 37.7mm diameter. Domed caseback with slightly shorter lugs. 22 examples (including the present example) known in the market in 18K yellow gold.

    Throughout the centuries of watchmaking, the ref. 2499 certainly ranks at the top being one of the most fathomed and well-documented wristwatches of all time. It has certainly changed lives with dedicated collectors spending years to search for a fresh example to surface on the market. With an estimated 28 examples in yellow gold encased in a Wenger case, it is estimated that 22 examples have resurfaced in the market since its launch, making these early examples of the reference exceedingly rare.

    With extensive research and findings of the ref. 2499 by dedicated scholars overs the years, it is to our knowledge that a total of two dial variations for the first series were produced.

    Dial A: Similar to the dials featured in ref. 1518. Applied gold Arabic numerals with tachometer scale in Kilometers or Miles. With “Chemin de Fer”.

    Dial B: Applied gold Arabic numerals with tachometer scale in Kilometers or Miles. Without “Chemin de Fer”. (The present example)

    While dials from the first series ref. 2499 in respect to “Dial A” and “Dial B” are very similar to dials seen in the ref. 1518, there are specific traits that separate them apart.

    - The very first examples of the ref. 2499 features a “Chemin de Fer” or “Railway” date scale like the ref. 1518. Usually featured on cases made by Vichet.

    - Examples of ref. 2499 with “Dial A” should have a smaller gap between the outer track and the “Chemin de Fer” compared to dials featured on the ref. 1518.

    - Examples with cases made by Wenger are mostly seen with “Dial B”.


    At the time of its production, important movements made by Patek Philippe featured a hand-engraved movement number behind the dial. Extremely crucial to the originality of the timepiece, these numbers allowed the watchmaker to apply the correct movement, matching its dial and case, meaning the cases and dials were unique specifically to the present example. Featuring an Italian calendar that is correct for an example sold originally through an Italian retailer, to our knowledge, the present specimen is the fourth example known in the market with an Italian calendar.

    The present example Patek Philippe ref. 2499 in yellow gold from 1953 encased in a 37.7mm diameter Wenger-made case is a must-have. Not only is it the 22nd example known and fresh to the market consigned from the family of the original owner, it is further accompanied by its original Certificate of Origin and original envelope with corresponding movement numbers as well as an Extract from the Archives confirming the production of the present timepiece in 1953. To our knowledge, it is the first time for such an example in yellow gold from the first series with a Wenger case accompanied with its original Certificate of Origin to ever appear in the market.

    Complete with its documentation, the condition of the present specimen is of the highest quality. Boasting an extremely attractive and well-preserved dial with strong raised black enamel, the movement number is hand engraved in the correct manner underneath the dial. The yellow gold case with strong bevels is also an attraction on its own featuring two extraordinarily crisp, deep and unrubbed hallmarks behind the lugs. Furthermore, the last three numbers of the case number engraved on the inner facet of the lug and the outer rim underneath the bezel are perfectly intact and visible. Adding on to its importance, experienced collectors may notice that the watchmaker's inscriptions inside the caseback confirm that the present timepiece was only serviced by authorized Milanese-based Patek Philippe retailer Orologeria Luigi Verga throughout its lifetime.

    A rare and exciting occasion for the passionate world of horology, the present fresh-to-the-market example Patek Philippe ref. 2499 in yellow gold from the first series with its original Certificate of Origin with a date code "ATHR" indicating the issuance of the certificate in December 1956 is a groundbreaking event further confirmed by two Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives. The appearance of such an example at auction is not calculated by seasons but in years and even decades in this present instance. This is truly a once in a blue moon opportunity for esteemed collectors to acquire one of the greatest timepieces ever produced through the present specimen being brought into the spotlight for the first time.

  • 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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Property from Descendants of the Italian Original Owner

Σ822

Ref. 2499
An extremely fine, highly important and exceedingly rare yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with Italian calendar, hard enamel signature, moon phases, applied Arabic numerals, Certificate of Origin and original presentation box

1953
37.7mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
HK$12,000,000 - 23,000,000 
€1,270,000-2,420,000
$1,540,000-2,950,000

Sold for HK$15,375,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021