Geneva, May 12, 2024

LOT 591


CHF 1,000,000 - 2,000,000

HKD 8,660,000 - 17,320,000 / USD 1,110,000 - 2,220,000 / EUR 1,020,000 - 2,040,000

Sold: CHF 3,050,000

An exceptional, fresh to the market, possibly unique, 18k pink gold, manual wind cloisonné world time pocket watch

Grading System
Case: 2-8

Very good

Slightly scratched

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-8-01

Very good

Slightly scratched

HANDS Original

Brand Patek Philippe, switzerland

Model World Time Cloisonné "World"

Reference 605 HU DE

Year 1943, sold in November 1946

Movement No. 930364

Case No. 636404

Diameter 44

Caliber 17'''170HU

Signature dial, case and movement

Accessories fitted box, extract from the archives


PATEK PHILIPPE "WORLD TIME". This system was invented circa 1935 by Louis Cottier (1894-1966), famous independent watchmaker in Geneva. This system was used by Patek Philippe and also by other major names in the Swiss watch industry, such as Agassiz, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin. Ref. 605 HU was produced between the 1940s and 1960s, and is a series of dress watches bearing the names of approximately 30 to 41 cities in the world on the revolving bezel. Some examples have a matte silvered dial or black dial; others have a cloisonné enamel dial. They were made as follows: - in pink gold, with silvered guilloché dial - in pink gold, with translucent enamel dial - in pink gold, with cloisonné enamel dial representing various continents. Research has shown that only 2 other examples were known with this "World time motif" making this one only the third known and the only one cased in pink gold.

This unknown, fresh to the market example is an historical piece in the sense that it is the first example known to the market featuring an enamel cloisonné dial representing the world in pink gold. Indeed with a movement number of 930'364 and manufactured in 1943, it precedes the unique 605 HU Neptune (movement number 930'365). This makes this example the earliest pink cloisonné world time known to the market as of today. Confirming its private provenance are the matching movement numbers that are engraved on the back of the dial, the movement ring, the world time disk, the case numbers repeated on the inner bezel and also on the inner bow.

Not only does it feature early hands (similar to other exceptional unique references 605 like the Neptune World Time currently part of the Patek Philippe collection) that were also hand made by Louis Cottier, but it also features a unique combination of enamel colours (blue and orange), unseen on any other example.
To further enhance its collectability it is housed in a pink gold case. Kept unused in a safe, its overall condition is close to mint featuring mint and deep hallmarks and a mint cloisonné dial featuring no repairs or restorations.
Undoubtably one of the most important world time pocket watches ever to appear on the market.


Property of the original Spanish family


Louis Cottier (1894-1966)

Louis Cottier, a luminary in the world of horology, was born on September 28, 1894, in Carouge, Switzerland, to Emmanuel Cottier, himself a skilled watchmaker and automaton maker. Louis grew up immersed in the world of watchmaking, inheriting his father's passion for precision engineering and intricate mechanisms, even if they never worked together. At a young age, Louis displayed a keen interest in the arts, particularly painting. Despite his love for painting, he also showed a remarkable aptitude for mechanical work, a talent that would later define his career.

Louis received his formal education in watchmaking at the prestigious Necker Street watchmaking school in Geneva. Under the mentorship of master watchmaker Henri Hess, he honed his skills and developed a deep understanding of horological craftsmanship. In 1931, Louis embarked on his entrepreneurial journey, establishing his own workshop in Carouge. Initially working from the back of a stationery shop that he co-owned with his wife, Louis began to innovate and experiment with novel timekeeping mechanisms.

One of his early breakthroughs came in the form of watches without traditional hour and minute hands, known as "jumping hour" watches. These innovative timepieces garnered attention for their unconventional design and precise functionality. However, Louis's most significant contribution to the world of watchmaking came with his invention of the World Time complication. In 1950, he introduced the first-ever World Time wristwatch with two crowns, a groundbreaking innovation that revolutionized global timekeeping. This pioneering creation caught the attention of renowned watch manufacturer Patek Philippe, who recognized the ingenuity and practicality of Louis's design. Patek Philippe subsequently collaborated with Louis to produce and market the World Time watches, under the reference 2523, cementing his legacy as one of the foremost innovators in horological history. Despite his remarkable achievements, Louis Cottier remained humble and modest throughout his life. He never sought to trademark his inventions, preferring instead to focus on the pursuit of excellence in craftsmanship.

Louis's genius and creativity earned him the admiration and respect of his peers, including esteemed horological historian Alfred Chapuis, who recommended him to Hans Wildorf, the founder of Rolex. Wildorf entrusted Louis with the restoration and maintenance of his personal collection of antique watches, a testament to Louis's unparalleled expertise and skill.
Extrovert, kind and socially oriented, Louis Cottier was also deeply passionate about painting, referring to himself as a "Sunday painter". Beyond his prowess as a watchmaker, he possessed a rich personality that left an indelible mark on the history of horology.
Louis Cottier passed away on September 16, 1966, in Carouge where he had spent his whole life, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and influence generations of watchmakers and enthusiasts alike.