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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1946
    Reference No: 1518
    Movement No: 863’685
    Case No: 641’831
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13’’’, 23 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe black leather presentation box, and Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with tachymeter scale in 1946, and its subsequent sale on May 21st, 1946.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Truly a historically significant model in the field of wristwatches, the reference 1518 was the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced in series when it was introduced in 1941. According to literature, only 281 examples were made until the reference ceased production in 1954. It paved the way for successors references 2499, 3970, 5970 and finally, today’s 5270, which feature an in-house movement.

    Vintage reference 1518s can generally be divided into two categories. The first comprises those most commonly found. While they range from showing little to heavy wear, they all display some kind of restoration or cleaning to the dial. These watches make up more than 90% of the reference 1518s on the market. Due to the reference's non-water-resistant snap-on case back, moisture easily seeped through the pushers or case back, resulting in a spotted or slightly tarnished dial just from exposure to humidity or perspiration. As a result, most reference 1518 dials have been "touched up" at some point.

    The second exceedingly rare category, which the present watch falls into, comprises those that have seen no restoration or intervention at all. A parallel example in the car world would be the "preservation class". A survivor in all senses, these reference 1518s are untouched since they day they left the factory. While worn, they are 100% honest, character-laden and without a doubt, patinated.

    The most defining feature of the present example is, without a doubt, is its spectacular, long-signature dial, which has gracefully aged over time developing a beautiful, silvery sheen. The enamel printing remains thick and defined, with the comma between “Patek and Philippe”, and "è" above "Genève" perfectly strong and present. The raised hard enamel printing throughout the rest of the dial no losses whatsoever, attesting to the dial’s total originality.
    Equally impressive is its case. Its two strong and crisp hallmarks, with one under the lug and one on the side of the case are sharp and well-defined. The watch retains crisp edges and curved definition to the back of the lugs – a stunning feat, considering that many surviving examples have been polished over years of continuous wear.

    This revolutionary model is a must-have for any serious collector of vintage Patek Philippe watches, and when such a well-preserved example comes to the market, it ticks all the boxes that collectors and scholars alike seek in a legendary vintage 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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Σ137

Ref. 1518
An extremely well preserved, very rare, and attractive yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phase, tachymeter scale, and presentation box

1946
35mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
$350,000 - 700,000 
CHF320,000-640,000
€296,000-593,000
HK$2,710,000-5,430,000

Sold for $504,000

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020