Patek Philippe - The 2021 New York Watch Auction New York Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1954
    Reference No: 2526
    Movement No: 760'987
    Case No: 684'561
    Model Name: Calatrava
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 12-600 AT, 30 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Platinum Patek Philippe/Gay Frères woven bracelet, max length 210mm; suede Patek Philippe strap with platinum pin buckle.
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe folding clasp stamped 1.53
    Dimensions: 35.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives indicating manufacture of the present watch in 1954 and subsequent sale on August 10th, 1955.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Patek Philippe’s first automatic wristwatch, the legendary reference 2526, was introduced to the market in 1953 and set the standard for a timeless and elegant case design. Reference 2526 was launched with the celebrated caliber 12-600 AT - Patek Philippe’s first automatic movement, considered by many to be the most beautiful self-winding movement made by any manufacturer. Created in yellow, pink, and white gold, as well as platinum, the 35.5mm diameter Baumgartner-fabricated case was oversized for the era, but due to its thicker proportions, perfectly suits contemporary tastes when many enthusiasts consider a 40mm diameter watch the standard.

    The 12-600 AT is still considered to this day, to be one of the best automatic movements ever created. This is due to the fact that Patek Philippe, like all other manufacturers, was not able to produce an automatic movement with a 360 degree rotor until Rolex’s patent expired. Rather than spending time on less optimal solutions (bumper rotors, hinged-lugs winding, etc.), Patek Philippe focused its R&D on the cal. 12-600 for over two decades, waiting for the patent to expire.

    In short, the reference 2526 is an historic horological milestone as the first automatic wristwatch from Patek Philippe. It is an archetype of well-executed design throughout the second half of the 20th century and beyond, and it is rare as only approximately 2,500 examples in all metals were produced. But a reference 2526 in platinum, when accompanied by a period correct platinum Patek Philippe bracelet and fitted with the twice-baked enamel dial so sought after in these models? It’s significance skyrockets.

    Only 24 examples of platinum 2526s are known to scholars, and only 5 examples of the 2526 in platinum are known to have been born with enamel dials. Platinum 2526s were not available readily to Patek Philippe customers of the era – only obtainable through special order from Patek Philippe. While the three 18K gold variants of the 2526 were initially offered at US $500, a substantial sum in 1953, the platinum iteration with enamel dial was offered at US $2,500, with an option for a non-enamel dial with diamond hour markers priced at US $3,000. Interestingly, the majority of 2526s in platinum are found with diamond dials – likely because as they were already paying such a premium for platinum, they might as well add the extravagance and luxurious touch of a silvered diamond dial. Clearly, the original owner – who also ordered a platinum Patek Philippe bracelet stamped with the date code for 1953 – appreciated the sublime looks of the cream-colored enamel dial and opted for even further extravagance in the form of this superb, straight end-link mesh bracelet created by the bracelet geniuses at Gay Frères.

    One can only imagine the panache of this original purchaser, who ordered this specific configuration sight-unseen, and then his delight at uncovering his order when it was finally delivered to him in 1955. His only qualm? That it needed the further embellishment of a platinum bracelet, which with its date stamp of 1.53, was very likely ordered on the exact day the watch was delivered. The way that the baton hour markers created a slight indentation in the enamel of the dial is almost poetic, in the way the surface of a pond or lake bends gently to the ephemeral weight of a leaf or petal.

    Since its last appearance at auction twelve years ago, this watch has been cherished in the “Ride the Wave” collection, though he preferred it on its vintage brown suede Patek Philippe strap fitted with an original Patek Philippe platinum tang buckle - perhaps channeling the vision of the original owner, who wanted a watch he could wear for occasions both subtle and flamboyant. Preserved in overall outstanding condition, it is one of the finest examples of a platinum 2526 known, making it a trophy watch for the discerning collector.

  • 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. 2526
A spectacular, important, and beautiful platinum automatic wristwatch with enamel dial and bracelet

35.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

$100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $441,000

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021