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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1949
    Reference No: 1518
    Movement No: 867’757
    Case No: 661’075
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13”’Q, 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Delivered with a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming its date of manufacture of the present timepiece in 1949 and its subsequent date of sale on 2nd June 1951 and presentation box.
    Literature: Reference 1518 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, first edition p. 231 pl. 386, second edition p. 303 pl. 459.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Truly a monumental model, reference 1518 was the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced in series when it was introduced in 1941, in the midst of World War II. According to research, only 281 examples were manufactured in yellow and pink gold with a few rare examples in stainless steel until the reference ceased production in 1954. Not only did it set the design elements used by Patek Philippe in all of its subsequent perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches, but in its own manner greatly contributed to the manufacturer's dominant position in the watchmaking industry. It paved the way for successors such as the references 2499, 3970, 5970 and finally, 5270, which features an in-house movement.

    Over its course of production, the ref. 1518 can be broken up to specific batches that were manufactured over the years. It is estimated that:

    1941 – 1942 = 18 examples made
    1943 – 1944 = 36 examples made
    1945 – 1946 = 36 examples made
    1947 – 1948 = 60 examples made
    1949 – 1950 = 56 examples made
    1951 – 1953 = 75 examples made

    Out of the 281 examples of the reference manufactured combining both yellow and pink gold examples, it is believed that 215 examples were encased in yellow gold with 58 examples made in pink gold and 4 known in steel.

    Featuring a 35mm diameter Calatrava inspired case, gold cases were made by master casemaker Emile Vichet identifiable via key no. 9. While its features slightly differ from early (1941 – 1945) to later (1946 – 1953) examples, early cases feature a flatter appearance with a smaller crown and the positioning of the pinholes was slightly higher. Later examples of the reference had lugs that were slightly more tapered, the crown is larger and the chronographic pushers sit lower than ones seen in earlier examples. Often fitted with a silvered dial with applied gold Arabic and dotted numerals, the dials were manufactured by Stern Frères featuring hard enamel graphics with an enamel moon phase handcrafted by the skilled artisans at the firm. Early examples manufactured from 1941 – 1945 were inscribed with long signatures while later examples starting from 1946 featured short signatures.

    The present example Patek Philippe ref. 1518 in yellow gold from 1949 is a stunning piece. Boasting an attractive dial with an Italian calendar, the graphics are retained with the accent above the “E” of “GENEVE” still present and clear. The case is nice with thick and balanced lugs with two hallmarks visible one stamped on the caseband and the other beneath the top right lug. Delivered with a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the production of the present timepiece in 1949 and its subsequent date of sale two years later in 1951, it is the second time that the present example is being offered at auction. Preserved in the same state as it was offered before, the Patek Philippe ref. 1518 is more than just an addition to a collection but a special piece that certainly defines it.

  • 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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Σ968

Ref. 1518
A highly important, very fine and rare yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases

1949
35mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
HK$2,700,000 - 3,900,000 
€299,000-431,000
$346,000-500,000

Sold for HK$4,536,000

Contact Specialist

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

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII

Hong Kong Auctions 25-26 November 2021