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Patek Philippe

Perfection in time

PatekPhilippeSwiss watch-making has produced some impressive brands but none so iconic as the Patek Philippe name. This is largely due to the fact that, unlike other brands that have been absorbed into larger conglomerates or have dived into the world of commercialism, Patek Philippe remains an independent company that jealously guards its intellectual property. Its most exclusive watches are often never displayed in stores but go directly to those discerning collectors who line up to own one of the most valuable watches on earth. Although most of Patek Philippe watches were produced in the first half of the 20th Century, their style remains classic, traditional and almost conservative but always desirable and above all valuable. According to a Blogto Watch, when it comes to high-end timepiece auction prices, Patek Philippe leads the pack easily dominating all other watch-makers in regard to achieving regular, record-setting prices. Although some of their most valuable timepieces, which include both pocket and wrist watches, have been produced in the modern era, the watches that fetch high prices at auction are the extremely rare, often unique pieces made for special collectors. A Blogto Watch put together some of the more valuable and rarest Patek Philippe watches in terms of price:-


The Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G - $1 500 000

Without doubt one of the most widely recognized watches that Patek Philippe ever made, the Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G, a follow up to an original model, manages to take its original design to a completely new level. With intricate engravings adorning its 18k while gold case, the 6002G has one of the most complicated wrist watch movement that Patek makes. The face displays the time, perpetual calendar with retrograde date and the phase of the moon, while the dial on the back features a stellar illustration of the northern sky as well as indications for sidereal time on a 24-hour scale, time of meridien passage of Sirius and of the moon, along with the angular progression and the phase of the moon. The movement’s regulating organ is a one-minute tourbillion consisting of 69 parts and weighing a total of just 0.3 grams, and is one of the few tourbillions that are submitted to rigorous chronometry tests, with its rate fluctuations set not to exceed -2 and +1 seconds per day.


Reference 1563 Split- Second Chronograph in 18k Gold - $1 572 789

Manufactured in 1947 and sold in 1950, this piece (auctioned by Christie’s in November 2013) is one of only three Reference 1563 that are known to exist. Based on the 1436, it is a bi-compax chronograph and it also has the waterproof screw-in case back of the 1436. The difference is to be found in the added feature and complication of the split-seconds chronograph mechanism – known as one of the most difficult to assemble and produce. This particular piece is unique among the three in that it has luminous Breguet numerals and also luminous sword hands – all original to the watch and also has 1436 stamped on the inside of its caseback – something the others didn’t have and which gives it its uniqueness. That, combined with its bold numerals, its dial layout and unique characteristics, makes this watch both sportier and timeless and highly desirable to collectors.

 

Possibly Unique Aviator Prototype Wristwatch - $1 710 690

Of all the Patek Philippe watches, which are all unique creations, the Aviator Prototype watch from 1936 is in a class of its own. Measuring at an immense 56mm in diameter, ‘it was designed to be worked by pilots who would wear it on the outside of their flight suit. The movement was made in 1912 but only set some 24 years later in its nickel-chromed case and it is only one of two watches equipped with a ‘splittable centre seconds and hour angle dial’ – which means that the hour hand rotates once in 24 hours, indicating the degrees of arc against the centre circle divided into 360. The ‘minute’ hand rotates once every 4 hours and is read against the scale of 60. The two second-hands revolve every 4 minutes, showing the angular minutes. Consequently, the time shown on the watch reads 332 8.5’, translating into 22 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds, the very last time all watches show in books and catalogues. This truly unique piece was sold by Christie’s on the 11th May, 2009 for $1 710 690.


Unique Extra Large Single Button Chronograph - $2 240,000

One of the larger watches designed by Patek Philippe, the monopusher chronograph is from 1932. It is 46 mm in diameter and is cased in an 18k gold case and was produced as a special order and sold for Count Carlo Felice Trossi, the president of Scuderia Ferrari. The value of this watch is increased due to its famous owner and added to that is a photograph of Trossi wearing the watch on his sleeve as he timed laps of his Ferraris. It was sold by Sotheby’s in May 2008 for $2.24 million.


Reference 1591 Perpetual Calendar - $2 240,714

Valuable in that only two of these were ever made, one housed in stainless steel, the other in 18k yellow gold, the Reference 1591 has refined aesthetics and complex inner workings. Manufactured in 1944, during the war years, this watch was never catalogued and unknown to the market until 1996 when it was first offered at auction and bought by a Maharaja in India who enjoyed wearing it whilst playing polo. It was then given as a present to the man in charge of organizing the Maharaja’s wedding. After fetching the over $2 million, it now takes pride of place at the Patek Philippe Museum.


First Ever Grand Complication Pocket Watch by Patek Philippe, made for Stephen Palmer - $2 251 750

This complicated pocket watch was made in 1898 and sold in 1900 to one of the greatest business leaders of the early 29th Century America, Mr Stephen S. Palmer. Without question among the most important watches Patek ever made, this minute repeating, perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph watch, with grande and petite sonnerie and moon phases, is set in 18k pink gold. Palmer purchased the piece in 1900 for the hefty sum of 6 000 Swiss francs and was locked away for more than a century in its original box. This is the finest example of all Grand Complications known today, not only because it was the first ever made, but also the one in the most stellar condition.

 

The Magpie’s Treasure Nest Clock - $2 323 913

This unique Patek Philippe clock’s importance lies not in its mechanical complexity, but rather in its rarety and its intricate use of precious materials. Made in 1992 and built around a quartz movement, it has at its clock a magpie bird, covered in two different shades of gold; in its beak is a 104.75 carat, oval-shaped tanzanite gem that it looks about to place into its yellow gold nest. The tree, sculpted from calcite, onyx and agate, is resting on a substantial piece of rock crystal, adorned with yellow, blue, white, and pink agate flowers and green agate foliage. All are set with diamonds, rubies and amethyst petals. Added to the opulence is the bird’s nest full of diamond-set treasures, including a pair of scissors, spectacles, thimble, ruby-set ring and enamel- capped safety pin. A masterpiece adorned with dozens of flowers beautifully hand-crafted, 24.95 carats of diamonds and 13.17 carats of rubies.

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