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By Steve Huyton

My first experience of Meccaniche Veloci occurred several years ago when I visited a high-end boutique at Singapore Airport. I vividly remember seeing many of the brand’s QuattroValvole models and being mesmerized by the bold aesthetic. These distinctive watches have four different time zones and are unlike anything else on the market.

The Mecchaniche Veloci Icon Nerofumo, cased in brushed titanium with four carbon fiber dials.

At that stage, the company was owned by the Italian jewelry group Cielo Venezia, which had previously bought the brand from Marco Colombo. He was the visionary who originally designed the concept for the QuattroValvole, a particular four-time-zone model that was inspired by the four-phase engine pistons of Ferrari racing cars.

The Meccaniche Veloci Quattrovalvole with Tourbillon and carbon fiber dial.

The potential

Even though Meccaniche Veloci showed enormous potential, it was never realized under the control of Cielo Venezia. For example, the brand was oblivious that high-profile celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo who actually purchased their watches. In a world dominated by brand ambassadors, this type of oversight seems inconceivable.

Fortunately, Swiss entrepreneur Cesare Cerrito could see huge potential in Mecchaniche Veloci and subsequently bought the brand in 2015. At this point, he also shifted the operation from Milan to Geneva to utilize the latest Swiss watchmaking technology. Now the headquarters (called MV House) is located in a trendy warehouse located in Plan-Les-Ouates.

Meccaniche Veloci CEO Cesare Cerrito

I discovered Meccaniche Veloci’s boutique during the 2015 Baselworld and was intrigued to view their new releases. Previously, I had contacted the brand numerous times without much success. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover Cesare Cerrito had acquired the brand. He was very charming and was keen to show me some exclusive pieces. My favorite was the collaboration they had done with Italian helmet manufacturer Suomy.

When Cerrito first purchased Meccaniche Veloci, the most expensive models in the range were capped at around $5,000. The only real exception was the phenomenal QuattroValvole CCM (Carbon Ceramic), which was die cut from a Brembo brake disc. This is still one of my personal favorite watches.

The Icon Stardust.

Issues & In-House

Even though the concept of having a watch with four independent movements was very cool, it also came with issues. In my experience, some of the mechanisms lagged and then there was the inconvenience of servicing four Swiss ETA 2671 movements.

The caseback view of the Icon Rosso.

Fortunately, Cerrito had ambitious plans for the brand, and this involved creating a new proprietary single movement to replace the individual calibers.

After three fastidious years of extensive research and development, the company finally unveiled its first in-house caliber, an automatic model called the MV8802 that powers each separate display.

The dial side of Caliber MV 8802, exposing four separate displays.
The MV8802 movement from back. It features 4 independent time zones, instantaneous date, stop-seconds and date.

The Caliber MV8802 marked a new chapter for the brand. Even though Cerrito hasn’t got any formal design qualifications, he makes up for it with passion and enthusiasm. Under his guidance, Meccaniche Veloci has adopted a completely different marketing strategy.

The Icon Damascus, a 49mm titanium model with a Damascus steel bezel and four displays.

The timepieces are now far more exclusive and crafted entirely in Switzerland in small batches. Now there are predominantly two collections: the Icon and QuattroValvole. The Icon models feature four separate dials with four separate anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The QuattroValvole models feature a single dial with one large anti-reflective sapphire crystal.

Highlights include models like the Damascus, NiteLite Japan Edition, MoneyMaker, Mud and Nardi Edition. There are also a couple of extravagant tourbillon models with solid 18-karat pink gold cases.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

If you’re in Geneva between June 16 and June 26, we suggest you visit the historic headquarters of Patek Philippe on Rue du Rhône. There, the watchmaker is exhibiting more than seventy-five Rare Handcrafts items from its collection.

In its largest such collection of rare handcrafts masterpieces, Patek Philippe mixes in several of its 2021 Rare Handcrafts with a curated selection of seventy 2020 artisanal items, including one-of-a-kind limited editions. These include pocket watches, wristwatches, dome table clocks and bracket clocks made using a broad range of artisanal skills.

This genuine ‘panda’ dial from Patek Philippe will be on display at the exhibit.

These skills include manual engraving, precious miniature painting on enamel (a Genevan specialty), flinqué enamel on hand guilloching, paillonné enamel, enamel with Limoges painting, fauré enamel (relief enamel), Longwy enamel on faience, and gem-setting.

Patek Philippe has even included several rarely seen examples of wood micro-marquetry as well as mixed-technique pieces that combine marquetry, manual engraving, and flinqué enamel.

While exploring the exhibits, visitors can also observe the artisans at work as they demonstrate their expertise in enameling, miniature painting on enamel, engraving, marquetry and guilloching.

The “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition at the Patek Philippe salons in Geneva on Rue du Rhône 41 is open to the public from June 16 to 26, 2021, every day (except Sundays) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors should register at http://www.patek.com/rhc2021/ in advance.

 

Among its many notable 2021 debuts, Patek Philippe earlier this month unveiled two particularly interesting calendar watches. Each introduces a new approach to full-spectrum timekeeping, and, notably, neither debut is cased in gold. 

One, the much-discussed in-line Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001), is a new perpetual calendar that shows the day, date, and month in a single panoramic aperture at the top of the dial –the first such display in a Patek Philippe wristwatch.

The new Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001), cased in platinum.
The new perpetual calendar is thin, measuring 11.07mm front to back, all in platinum.

The second calendar model, the Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar, places an annual calendar in a steel case and on a steel bracelet. Recall that Patek Philippe pioneered the annual calendar for the wrist in 1996, and this new model is the brand’s first annual-calendar-only watch not cased in a precious metal.

The Perpetual Calendar

A close look at the in-line calendar display on the new Patek Philippe Cal. 5236P perpetual calendar.

Patek Philippe has previously created in-line calendar displays, but strictly for pocket watches. Interestingly, these were made first for the American market. One example from 1972 (No. P- 1450) features a calendar format in the American style (“à l’américaine”), showing month, date, and then day.

Taking a cue from this historic model and a few others, Patek Philippe several years ago challenged itself to devise such a display in miniature for a wristwatch.

Patek Philippe’s watchmakers decided to design a system with two date disks – one for the tens and one for the units. This meant that the entire calendar display would require four disks, one for the day, two for the date, and one for the month, and all needed to be embedded in the same plane.

Stay thin

To accomplish this, and to maintain a thin caliber, Patek Philippe’s watchmakers built the new movement based on the caliber found in the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator from 2011. The caliber in the Ref. 5235 features an off-center micro-rotor, which opens up space for the additional 118 components required to construct the in-line display.

The new Patek Philippe Caliber 31-260 PS QL AMB.

Patek Philippe then had to re-engineer the caliber to more efficiently drive the extra energy required by a perpetual calendar. The firm’s watchmakers increased the torque of the spring barrel 20 percent and boosted the winding power by utilizing a platinum rotor rather than the more typical gold rotor.

And finally, Patek Philippe improved the caliber’s overall rate stability by increasing the frequency from 3.2 to 4 Hz (28,800 semi-oscillations per hour).

The resulting new automatic, ultra-thin caliber 31-260 PS QL boasts a recessed mini-rotor and a customized module for which Patek Philippe has filed three patents. In addition to powering the date display, the movement also powers two round displays that show the leap-year cycle as well as the day/night indications. A further window displays the moon phases.

Patek Philippe is launching the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P-001 in a hand-polished 41.3mm x 11.07mm platinum case. Its handsome blue dial offers nicely gradated black at the edges. It arrives on a matching navy blue alligator leather strap secured with a fold-over clasp. Price: $130,108.

 

Annual Calendar

The new Patek Philippe  Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar finds the manufacturer re-designing the ultra-practical complication to fit within a steel Calatrava case for the first time. Equally interesting, the Calatrava is attached to an all-new steel bracelet.  

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar.

You might recall that Patek Philippe invented the wrist-borne Annual Calendar in 1996, effectively creating an entirely new calendar watch category for itself (and many other high-end watchmakers.)

Requiring only one manual correction per year (at the end of February), the annual calendar brings with it a convenient, and moderately priced, calendar function to those who would like the all-encompassing coverage of a perpetual calendar, but balk at the high cost of nearly all examples of the mechanical complication.

Until this new model, Patek Philippe has offered its annual calendar in various ladies’ and men’s models, all in either gold or platinum cases.

The new 38mm steel-cased Patek Philippe  Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar offers a polished steel bezel that matches the new, totally integrated steel bracelet. Patek Philippe has created a luxurious five-row bracelet made of fully polished links and a fold-over clasp.

The blue dial on the new watch is patterned with vertical and horizontal satin finishes that appear textured, as on a matte linen fabric. This assures that the dial contrasts nicely with polish of the case and bracelet, creating a surprisingly contemporary overall appearance.  

The watch’s calendar displays are easy to read: Two subsidiary dials between 9 and 10 o’clock indicate the day and, between 2 and 3 o’clock, the month; the date appears in an aperture at 6 o’clock just below a moon-phase display rounds out the calendar functions.

From the back, the wearer can enjoy a clear view of the beautifully finished automatic Patek Philippe caliber 324 S QA LU movement. The watch is nicely sized at 38mm and not too fussy, particularly given its array of calendar functions. It also holds a unique position within the Patek Philippe lineup, especially with its steel case and bracelet. If you’ve been waiting for a steel-cased Patek that is not a Nautilus and not a chronograph, this might be your new watch.

Price: $47,904

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001)

Movement: Self-winding mechanical Caliber 31‑260 PS QL. In-line perpetual calendar. Day, date, month, leap year and day/night indication in apertures. Small seconds.

Dial: Blue, black-gradient, vertical satin finish, gold applied hour markers.

Case: 41.3 by 11.07 platinum. Interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal case backs. Water-resistant to 30 meters.

Bracelet: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny navy blue. Fold-over clasp.

Price: $130,108. 

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Annual Calendar (Ref. 4947/1A-001)

Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement. Caliber 324 S QA LU. Annual Calendar. Day and month by hands. Date in an aperture Moon phases. Sweep seconds.

Dial: Blue, vertical and horizontal satin-finish (“shantung” finish), gold applied numerals.

Case: 38mm by 11mm steel, sapphire crystal case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.

Bracelet: Steel. Fold-over clasp.

Price: $47,904

A previously unknown Patek Philippe world timer (Reference 2523) with cloisonné enamel dial tops the lots at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XIII, scheduled for May 8 and 9 in Geneva. But alongside that ultra-desirable watch, estimated at CHF 3.5 million, collectors can also bid on rare watches from Cartier, Audemars Piguet, F.P Journe and Rolex, among many others.

This Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 is one of three with a Silk Road cloisonné enamel dial. It’s a top lot at the upcoming Geneva Watch Auction by Phillips on May 8 and 9.

That top lot, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523, was first launched in 1953 and features a 36mm case, which at the time was considered large. The watch’s city ring is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel. Two versions were available, with reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs that do not sit above the bezel. This example is known as the “Silk Road” 2523 and is the earliest ever made.

Lot 33, showing the superb Patek Philippe Cloisonné dial.

To help you activate your collector gene, we’ve gathered five additional particularly enticing lots from the upcoming auction.

Lot 23, Cartier, circa 1965.

Lot 23: This Cartier Grande Tank Cintrée, circa 1965 (above), was Cartier’s largest Tank model and has been produced in extremely limited quantities since 1921. This example is all original, dating to 1965 with all hallmarks and serial number engravings intact. The movement is a manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 31, Richard Mille circa 2018.

Lot 31: The Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Aerodyne from 2018 is a tonneau-shaped dual-time wristwatch with tourbillon, function selector, power reserve, torque indication, original warranty and presentation box.

It’s a complicated Richard Mille limited edition watch made for the American market and features a red quartz TPT case. Numbered eight of ten examples, the watch has not been auctioned previously. Estimate: $267,000-$533,000.

Lot 73, a Tissot World Time from 1950.

Lot 73: This Tissot World Time from 1950 is a very early 14-karat gold World Time wristwatch produced at the start of the Jet Age. Considering that very few watch brands were making any type of world timer or even dual timer in the 1950s, this is a surprising watch to surface from Tissot. At 36mm it will fit any wrist size. Estimated at $4,300-$6,400.

Lot 140., an F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain “The Number 001”.
Lot 140, likely the very first F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain watch ever made.

Lot 140: This platinum-cased F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain features a serial number of 001, meaning it’s the very first example of the desirable model, produced in 2005. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 147, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978.
The back of Lot 147.

Lot 147: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978, is an original Royal Oak Jumbo – produced six years after the launch of the model. The total production of B-series was just 1,000 examples. The dial is preserved in excellent condition with the AP logo at 6 o’clock, which can be found on any A and B Series as well as some C Series. This example is in superb, all-original condition with hardly any signs of wear. It also comes complete its original box and guarantee certificate. Estimate: $43,000-$86,100.

Click here to download the entire auction catalog, or check out the Phillips website to view the 236 auction lots online.

Frederique Constant this week unveiled a groundbreaking one-piece silicon oscillator that effectively replaces the traditional mechanical movement’s twenty-six-piece escapement assortment, and has developed a new movement around the high-tech component. The new movement, automatic Caliber FC-810, will power the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture Collection of 40mm watches, available this September.

The gold-cased model of the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection.The silicon oscillator appears at 6 o’clock.

Debuted after three years of research and development, Geneva-based Frederique Constant’s new oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators. And since it is created as a single friction-free, anti-magnetic, lightweight component, both the oscillator and the movement demonstrate ultra high efficiency.

The oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators.

As a result, when teamed with a standard winding spring in the new movement, watches in the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection realize a full eighty-hours of power reserve.

High-tech team

Frederique Constant teamed with Nima Tolou, CEO of the Netherlands-based micro-engineering firm Flexous, to develop the silicon oscillator. Frederique Constant’s watchmaking department asked Flexous to develop a unique, flexible oscillating system in a size comparable to a traditional balance. Furthermore Frederique Constant set specifications, including: the highest possible frequency; an 80-hour power reserve; and a cost-effective formula allowing the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price.

Flexous met the requests, devising a component that measures 9.8mm in diameter and 0.3mm thick, approximately the size of a conventional regulator. As noted above, the new oscillator incorporates all twenty-six components that make up the typical assortment, including the traditional balance, spring, anchor and rubies. And, echoing the traditional escapement, the new oscillator’s frequency can be fine-tuned by adjusting two tiny weights.

The watch

 The first collection Frederique Constant is fitting with the new movement is the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, a three-hand watch with a pointer date. The 40mm round watch offers a classic Swiss dress dial with a central guilloché hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands.

The design of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture echoes the brand’s pioneering use of open dials that expose portions of the movement. When it debuted in 1994, the Frederique Constant Heart Beat was the only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial.

Where that collection displayed the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position, the new collection displays the new pulsating silicon oscillator through an aperture at 6 o’clock.

On the reverse side, a clear sapphire caseback offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 caliber, which is Frederique Constant’s thirtieth in-house movement. The brand decorates the movement with traditional Geneva stripes with perlage; the oscillating weight is open worked.

 

Frederique Constant will make the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture in three limited editions, projected to be shipped starting in September. The editions include 810 pieces in stainless steel with a blue dial ($4,795) and 810 pieces in a steel case with a silver color dial ($4,795). Also, an 18-karat gold model with a silver-colored dial will be made as a limited edition of 81 pieces ($15,995).

After updating its world timer and its Highlife collections in recent months, Geneva-based Frederique Constant now refreshes three models with the most basic time displays within its Classics collection.

Specifically, Frederique Constant has updated its Classics Index Automatic, Classics Quartz GMT and Classics Quartz, expanding these collections with eleven newly detailed models.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic.

Classics Index Automatic

This collection now includes five new models. Frederique Constant has replaced two-part guilloché dials with cleaner, matte-finished blue, white or black dials. Instead of Roman numerals you’ll see applied hour markers, all of which have been bevelled and tinted with luminescent material. Formerly thin hands are now sword-shaped in an attempt to portray a geometric purity on the dial.  

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic, here with rose-gold plated steel case.

Four of the 40mm Classic Index Automatic models are cased in steel while one is made with rose-gold-plated steel (and a blued steel seconds hand). Frederique Constant powers all these new models with an automatic Sellita-based FC-303 caliber offering a power reserve of 38 hours. While one full-steel model features a blue dial and steel bracelet, the remaining watches are fit with a nubuck-finish leather strap in brown, black or blue. Prices start at 850 euros, or about $1,100.

Classics Quartz GMT

These travel-ready GMT models retain their easy-to-read dual-time dials. Three new 40mm steel-cased models now include a sunray-brushed dial and the required three hands for the hours, minutes and centrally set GMT hand. That second time zone indicator is tipped with a red arrow and points to the second time zone at a glance, calibrated to a 24-hour marker track encircling the dial.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Quartz GMT, here on a steel bracelet.

These watches also make it easy to adjust both the local time and the second timezone. The wearer simply turns the activated crown in one direction to adjust the time zone and in the other direction to adjust the date.

Frederique Constant offers three new Classic Quartz GMT models: one with a gray dial and a brown nubuck-finish calfskin strap, another with a blue dial and a blue strap and a third, sportier variation with a black dial on a steel bracelet. Prices start at 695 euros, or about $830.

Classics Quartz

Finally, Frederique Constant now offers its most basic 40mm two-hand watch, with date, in a new blue or black dial model. Except for the lack of a seconds hands, these watches echo the look and finish of firm’s mechanical models with a sunray-brushed dial, polished case, applied hour markers doubled at 12 o’clock and nubuck-finish leather strap or three-link steel bracelet. Prices start at 595 euros, or about $700.

The Frederique Constant Classics quartz, on a steel bracelet.
Frederique Constant Classics quartz.

Patek Philippe this week enhances dial color options and adds metal choices within its feminine Twenty-4 collection. Three new Twenty-4 models, one a quartz-powered cuff model and two round-cased automatic editions, now offer new dial colors within the collection’s steel and rose gold offerings.

One of two new Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic watches, here with a rose-gold sunburst dial.

The manchette, or cuff-style Twenty-4 with a Patek Philippe quartz movement, which last year was updated with Arabic numerals, now includes a new version in rose gold with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial. The watch, Ref. 4910/1201R-001, has two rows of diamonds, applied Arabic 12, 6 and trapeze-shaped markers, and a hand-polished rose gold bracelet. Price: $44,947.

The newest Patek Philippe Twenty-4, with chocolate brown dial and diamonds.

And within the Twenty-4 Automatic collection, Patek Philippe now offers two new 36mm round models, one in steel set with an olive-green sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200A-011) and the other in rose gold with a rose-gold sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200R-011).

Both dials are notably vibrant. The olive-green edition is particularly eye-catching, especially as framed by the two rows of diamonds. The olive-green dial Twenty-4 Automatic joins existing steel models set with gray sunburst and blue sunburst dials.

The Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic, now with an exceptional sunburst olive green dial.

Patek Philippe fits both these Twenty-4 Automatic watches with its top-notch automatic caliber 324 SC, visible through a sapphire caseback and offering up to forty-five hours of power reserve.

If these dials look particularly luxurious, I commend your perception. Patek Philippe uses gold to build the Arabic numerals or markers on all the Twenty-4 models. The numerals and markers are then filled with a luminescent material. The date frames on the automatic models are also made from white gold.

The new watches join the other rose-gold Twenty-4 models (with two-rows of diamonds) with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial or a linen pattern dial.

Like the rectangular Twenty-4 watches, the round automatic models are fit with hand-polished bracelets in the same metal as the case. And both include Patek Philippe’s simple, secure (and patented) fold-over clasp, which is built with four independent catches.  Price: $27,796 (steel) and $48,495 (rose gold).

Franck Muller’s new Vanguard Line Cut emphasizes lightness and curves with a micro-blasted matte gray titanium case, dial and bracelet.

The new Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut.

As the latest model within Franck Muller’s winning Vanguard collection, the Line Cut offers collectors a matte-finished contemporary option within Vanguard, known for its wrist-hugging tonneau-shape and trademark elongated numerals.

The new collection broadens the appeal of Vanguard, which Franck Muller has expanded considerably in recent years with racing designs, skeleton models, gem-set editions and several seriously complicated calibers.

Time-only

Franck Muller equips the new Vanguard Line Cut with a simple two-hand time-telling function, which serves to emphasize the sleek, curved matte gray case and its curved black ‘line cut” along the sides.

Furthermore, Franck Muller then matches the cut to the black outline of each of the dial’s long, hand-applied numerals.  Ironically, while the dial projects depth, the case remains relatively thin, here measuring only 9.8mm from front to back. By Franck Muller standards, that’s ultra-thin.

Franck Muller watchmakers have fit the new watch (which is still in limited release) with an extra-flat automatic movement.

 

Specifications: Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut

Reference: V 41 S AT REL LINE CUT FM 708

Movement: Franck Muller Automatic, 21,600 vibrations hour, 
42 hours power reserve, 
Côtes de Genève, circular graining, rhodium plating.

Case: 41mm by 50mm by 9.10mm micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, water resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Gray titanium PVD, matte gray hand-applied numerals with black contours.

Bracelet and buckle: Micro-blasted grade 5 titanium.

Price: 9,820 Euros, or about $11,920.

 

By Laurent Martinez

For most collectors, there’s always one coveted piece that stands above the rest—the so-called grail, if you will. And in the world of vintage watches, most would agree that the Patek Philippe Reference 2499 holds that honor.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest timepieces designed by the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Reference 2499, a manual-winding Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with Moonphase produced in very low quantities, is the quintessential Patek.

When a Patek Philippe ref. 2499, comes to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention.

Few have had the privilege to see a Reference 2499 in real life, let alone touch one. Watch experts recognize this very special timepiece as one that perfectly combines incredible exterior design with a masterful internal movement.

Given the rarity and collective fascination with the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, when one comes up to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention. Collectors won’t want to miss the chance to see it, study it, and most importantly, share a room with other fellow enthusiasts whilst witnessing the inevitable bidding battle that will ensue to claim this watch as his or her own.  

Sotheby’s New York on December 15th will be hosting a holiday season watch auction with a magnificent example of the revered Patek Philippe Reference 2499 as the star of the event.

Few were made

Succeeding Reference 1518 and preceding Reference 3970, Patek Philippe produced Reference 2499 from 1950 until 1985. Despite only 349 pieces ever made, there are four distinct series of the ref. 2499 to note.

The first series was in production from 1950 until the mid-1950s and features square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial. There are less than four-dozen of these ref. 2499 watches in existence. The second series, manufactured from 1955 until 1966, include round chronograph pushers, applied baton or Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial.

Next in line was the third series, made from 1960 until 1978, with round chronograph pushers, applied baton indexes, and no tachymeter scale on the dial.

Finally, the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 is dated from 1978 to 1985 (with later examples taking on the reference 2499/100) and the watches have round chronograph pushers, applied baton numerals, no tachymeter scale, and sapphire crystals shielding the dials.

Fourth series star

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 coming up for sale on December 15 in New York at Sotheby’s belongs to the fourth series family. And it is simply a magnificent piece manufactured in 1981. While the creamy dial is in very good condition it is not perfect.

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional.

The dial does have some discoloration owing to the humid conditions of the Southern United States, where its owner resides. The customary applied gold batons mark out the hours while the three subsidiary dials for minutes, date/moonphase, and running seconds sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively. The double windows displaying the day and month are placed at 12 o’clock while the gold hands at the center are in the “Dauphine” style.

Tiffany branding

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional and rare. Sotheby’s consulted with Patek Philippe to see how many Tiffany marked examples were made but there are no records in-house.

The winding crown is furnished with the Patek Philippe logo and of course, the chronograph pushers are round in shape. The interior of the yellow gold case back is engraved with Patek Philippe Co – Genève – Swiss – 2499 – 100 – 2.779.174.” Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425. Potential bidders will be happy to know that the watch keeps very good time.

Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425.

This Patek 2499 is fitted with a brown lizard Patek Philippe strap with a gold Patek Philippe buckle. The width in between the lugs is 20mm and 14mm at the buckle end. The interior of the buckle is engraved with “To AIL – Love – BKL – 7-5-96” and both the case and buckle include all the required poinçons or hallmarks. 

Under the sofa 

The watch was first appraised 20 years ago but it was lost for some time inside the estate. After a long period of searching, this superb Patek Philippe 2499 was finally found inside the house, underneath the sofa. No one knows quite how long it had been lying there, hidden from the world.

As a one-owner Patek Philippe Reference 2499, this is the first time this watch comes to auction. The estimated price is between $500,000 and $800,000, even though I think it is a conservative figure.

For any inquiries about the watch, please contact Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s at [ Richard.Lopez@sothebys.com ]

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 will draw bids at the December 15 Sotheby’s auction in New York.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and joyful season.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com

Patek Philippe this week launches a platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds, the Geneva watchmaker’s primary technical watch debut for 2020.

Patek Philippe’s new platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds.

With its black grand feu enamel dial, slanted Breguet numerals and relatively unadorned time and power reserve indications, the new watch understates its impressive and complex chiming mechanism. While eyeing a classically presented time display, a wearer can also place an ear to the 44.8mm case and enjoy a rarely orchestrated symphony of three gongs: a grande sonnerie (full strike), petite sonnerie (small strike) and an on-demand minute repeater.

Patek Philippe has also added an unexpected layer of complexity to the new watch by incorporating a jumping seconds indicator, prominently displayed at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. Patek Philippe looked to its Reference 5275 from 2014 for inspiration on this complication, as that chiming model boasted jumping hours, minutes and seconds.

Patek Philippe opted to place the strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case.

New slide

Patek Philippe watchmakers, well-versed in designing and building the brand’s highly regarded and extensive range of chiming watches, developed the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement directly inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.  

Unlike most chiming watches from Patek Philippe and elsewhere, the new watch’s chime control center is located below the 6 o’clock position rather than on the left side of the case. On this watch, the selector can be adjusted to petite sonnerie mode (left side), grande sonnerie (center) and silence (right). The user activates the minute repeater on request with the pusher in the winding crown.

Because Patek Philippe opted to place that strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case, the watchmaker needed to move its traditional small-diamond platinum case indicator to the side of the case at the 12 o’clock position.

The diamond, here at 12 o’clock, indicates that the case is platinum.

Two barrels

Two series-connected twin mainspring barrels power the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement. One assures a power reserve of 24 hours for the striking mechanism while the second ensures a 72-hour power reserve for the movement.

New the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.

All this chiming and timing occurs within a platinum case that may look familiar. Inspired by the Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph Patek Philippe presented in 2015, the case features rounded contours, a concave bezel and a slightly cambered sapphire crystal.

Details of the striking mechanism with three gongs.

In summary, the new Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie includes these six complications:

  1. Grande sonnerie
  2. Petite sonnerie
  3. Minute repeater
  4. Movement power-reserve indicator
  5. Strikework power-reserve indicator
  6. Jumping seconds

In addition, the new watch offers unique technical achievements that have resulted in the Geneva watchmaker earning three patents, which Patek Philippe describes below:

  • Isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode (Patent CH 704 950 B1). In the silence mode, this mechanism totally isolates the grande sonnerie from the power flow and eliminates energy consumption.
  • Selection of the strike work mode (Patent CH 706 080 B1). This mechanism enables the selection of the strike work mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence) with a single lever and a single slide switch. Two slide switches were formerly required for this operation.
  • Jumping display with a jumping seconds wheel (Patent CH 707 181 A2). This innovative mechanism for jumping displays does not require springs and levers but instead uses wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, and features a coiled return spring as the only power element. The advantage of this system is that it makes energy consumption easier to regulate and control.

Patek Philippe will offer the new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie  on a shiny black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, secured with a fold-over clasp. The price for the limited production watch is available upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 6310P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds

Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM, manual winding, minute repeater with 3 classic gongs, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie, jumping small seconds at 6 o’clock, power reserve indicators for the movement 
(72h) and for the strike work (24h), frequency of 25,200 bph 
(3.5 Hz), power reserve of 72 hours, strike work power reserve of 24 hours.

Dial: Grand Feu black enamel with glazed finish, gold applied Breguet numerals, 18-karat gold dial plate, white gold leaf-shaped hands 
with luminescent coating.

Case: 44.8 mm
 by 12mm platinum, humidity-and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal 
case backs.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp.