Important Watches, Wristwatches and C...

Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Apr 24, 1999

LOT 623

Patek Philippe & Cie, Geneve, No 720304, case No. 306201, Ref. 2523, made in 1953. Extremely fine and rare, 18K yellow gold, "World Time" gentleman's wristwatch with two crowns and polychrome "cloisonne" enamel dial representing the map of Europe with leather strap and 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe buckle.

CHF 0 - 0

Sold: CHF 1,640,850

C. three body, massive, polished, satine, lapidated lugs. D. matted silver revolving ring dial bearing the names of 41 cities in the world, at the centre, a polychrome "cloisonne " enamel medallion representing the map of Europe with applied yellow gold indexes and Roman numerals, concentric, revolving dial in 24 hours for the nocturnal and diurnal hours. The winding-crown on the 3 adjusts the hours and the 24 hours ring; the winding-crown on the 9 turns the ring with the names of the cities. Yellow gold fancy hands. M. 12"'-400 HU, Geneva Quality Hall Mark, rhodium plated, "fausses cotes " decoration, 18 jewels, lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance, shock-absorber, Breguet balance-spring, micrometer regulator. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 35 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: *3


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original


Provenance From a private collector. This example of World Time wristwatch made by Patek Philippe is particularly rare due to the European Map represented in the central "cloisonne" enamel medallion. Only three examples are known to exist: - one is published in Patch Philippe Wristwatches, by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, 1998 Edition, p. 240, fig. 372; - another is the property of a private collector; - and the third is offered in this sale, with an enamel dial of unusual colours, namely blue-purple and light yellow. Ref. 2523 and Ref. 2523-1 Patck Philippe "World Time" wristwatches, with two crowns, are Ref. 2523 I-IU (heures universelles) and production began in 1953. The two crowns have separate functions: the crown at 3 o'clock adjusts the hands and the 24-hour ring; while the crown at 9 o'clock operates the disc with the names of 41 cities in the world. Production of the first series of the Ref. 2523 began in 1953 with 7 examples in pink gold, of which 4 were with cloisonne enamel dial. Production was continued, with the Ref. 2523-1, in small quantities until the mid-1960's, and these models were only made in yellow gold, white gold and pink gold, though the exact numbers for each are difficult to establish. The lugs of the 1950's series are more prominent than those of the 1960's series, which are somewhat flattened. This series features different types of dials: ? matt silvered. ?guilloche (or engine-turned), either on silver dial plate or on gold dial plate. ? enamelled, such as blue translucent enamel. ? polychrome cloisonne enamel representing a map of North America, or South America, Eurasia or Europe. The "World Time" system was invented around 1935 by Louis Cottier (1894 - 1966), famous independent watchmaker in Geneva. This "World Time" system was used by Patek Philippe and also by other major names in the Swiss watch industry, such as Agassiz, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin. Patek Philippe created various series of 'World Timers" and the earliest known is a probably unique rectangular "galbe" pink gold model, Ref. 515, made in 1937, which was sold by Antiquorum, Geneva, April 10, 1994, lot 502, for SFr. 550'000 (US$ 388,560). From 1937 until about 1940, Patek Philippe used the "World Time" movement in various types of cases: Ref. 542 ( 0 28 mm.), of which only 4 examples are known to date and three were sold by Antiquorum: - Geneva October 17, 1993, lot 431, at SFr. 121'000 (US$ 81,700) - Geneva, October 15-16, 1994, lot 608, at SFr. 110'000 (US$ 87,300) - Geneva, April 10, 1994, lot 500, at SFr. 231'000 (US$ 164,200) with unusual bezel and hands. Ref. 96 "Calatrava", which appears to be an unique example, made in 1939. Around 1939-1940 began the production of the series Ref. 1415 (drop-shaped lugs), together with three examples of the Ref. 1416 (straight "claw" lugs), both references with a diameter of 31 mm. and on the revolving bezel the names of 30 cities of the world. In 1940, Patek Philippe created, specially for Dc P. Schmidt, a unique 'World Time" chronograph (Ref. 1415-1) wristwatch, in yellow gold, with square push buttons and the names of 33 cities of the world, which was auctioned by Antiquorum, Geneva, October 15-16, 1994, lot 516, setting a World Record at SFr. 990'000 ( US$ 785,714). This watch is illustrated on the front cover and p. 270 of the new edition (1998) of Patel Philippe Geneve, Wristwatches, by Martin l-Tuber & Alan Banbery. From 1940 onwards, Patek Philippe produced "World Timers" in three main series which include dress watches ( Ref. 605, circa 1940- 1960's), some with a matt silvered dial and others with a cloisonne enamel dial; and, wristwatches, with one crown (Ref. 1415, circa 1939-1950's), and two crowns ( Ref. 2523 and Ref. 2523-1, circa 1953-1965), some with a matt silvered or gilt dial, some with a guilloche dial, some with an enamel dial and some with a "cloisonne" enamel dial. "World Time" Patel Philippe wristwatches arc published in Patel Philippe Geneve, Wristwatches, by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery., 1998 Edition, pp. 240 to 247.