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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1929
    Movement No: 198'312
    Case No: 416'885
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 17”, 18 jewels, tourbillon escapement, "Extra"
    Dimensions: 47.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, dial numbered
    Accessories: Further delivered with Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch, with Geneva rating certificate obtained on October 26, 1931, in 1929 and its subsequent sale on July 28th, 1934

  • Catalogue Essay

    With the advent of pocket and deck chronometers following Britain’s Longitude Act of 1714, which set forth specifications and a monetary reward for anyone that executed a practical, reliable and precise instrument to determine a ship’s longitude at sea, observatory testing has become an integral part of the horological world. The challenge was ultimately met by John Harrison (1693-1776) whose H4 “sea watch” became the standard and provided an accurate method for determining longitude, allowing for safer seafaring.

    Mechanical timepieces, in particular chronometers, are highly accurate and the stringent observatory testing helps manufacturers maintain the highest possible standards. By the 19th century, observatories, such as the Swiss Observatories in Neuchâtel and Geneva, and the Kew Observatory in the UK, were holding “time contests” to scientifically judge these precision timepieces. Through the Bulletin de marche, rating certificates were awarded based on overall performance and it is within this milieu that brands such as Patek Philippe entered watches for competition. Today the Swiss Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, formed in 1973, tests movement for 15 days in five positions and three different temperatures and issues a certificate if the movement meets their exacting standards.

    The present watch from 1929 was twice at the Geneva Observatory winning the first class prize in 1929, and an honorable mention again in 1931. In order to win first class, the watch had to be of exceptional quality and while from the outside the pocket watch looks classic and sublime, the movement is a mechanical marvel with a one-minute tourbillon carriage with Guillaume balance and Breguet balance spring. Very few Patek Philippe watches carry the “Extra” designation and it would be for such a “timing contest” that the manufacturer would use such movements, usually made by LeCoultre & Cie and Victorin Piguet & Cie. Patek Philippe began tourbillon production in the early 1860s with the first known, number 25’298, manufactured in 1864.

    Patek Philippe is believed to have made approximately 100 tourbillon regulator watches like the present example. Because of their importance, these watches were typically kept by the firm and therefore it is a rare occasion when one of these exceptional watches is made available to the public. Movement number 198’312 carries a James C. Pellaton tourbillon carriage. Consider the master Swiss tourbillion maker of the 20th-century, he was director of the LeLocle watchmaking school and appreciated for both his horological knowledge and innovative spirit. A second name associated with this extraordinary timepiece is François Modoux, the master adjuster, who was responsible for preparing the watch for competition.

    In an era where vintage wristwatches are king, it is difficult to express the importance of an exceptional timepieces like this tourbillion regulator watch. While the outside of the watch is simple and plain, the movement is a technical marvel that won both a first class prize and honorable mention at the all-important timing competitions. These prized watches were so important to the maker they rarely sold them following the tests, however a very few have come to the market and they are always highly sought after due to their extraordinary position in the history of horology. This is a very rare opportunity to own such an important watch.

  • 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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840

An exceptional and highly important yellow gold open face one-minute tourbillon “Extra” pocket chronometer, with James C. Pellaton tourbillon carriage, recipient of the first class prize at the Geneva 1929 Observatory timing competition, and Honorable mention in 1931

1929
47.5mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, dial numbered

Estimate
HK$1,000,000 - 1,500,000 
€110,000-166,000
$128,000-192,000

Sold for HK$3,280,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
[email protected]

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
[email protected]

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SEVEN

Hong Kong Auction 27 November 2018