The Private Collection of Theodor Beyer

Hotel Baur Au Lac, Zurich, Nov 16, 2003

LOT 153

Patek, Philippe & Cie., Genève, Ref. 961, No. 866796, case No. 2837629. Made in 1989, sold to Theodor Beyer on August 24, 1990. Exceptionally fine and equally rare 18K gold keyless Astronomical minute-repeating pocket chronometer with instantaneous perpetual calendar, phases of the moon, 24-hour indications and free-sprung spring detent chronometer escapement with helical balance spring in original leather fitted mahogany box. Accompanied by the "Certificat d'Origine".

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Sold: CHF 311,500

C. Four-body, "bassine" polished, gold glazed cuvette. D. Silver, radial Roman numerals, outer minute divisions, four subsidiary sunk dials for days of the week in red concentric with 24-hour indications, phases of the moon aperture, red months concentric with four year leap cycle, and red date concentric with subsidiary seconds.M. 47.5 mm (21'''), rhodium-plated, "fausses côtes" decoration, 29 jewels, Earnshaw type spring detent escapement with gold escape wheel, bimetallic compensation balance with recess for the blued steel free-sprung helical balance spring, repeating on gongs through activating slide in the band.Signed on dial, case and movement.Diam. 59 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 1

As new

Movement: 1

As new

Dial: 1-01

As new

HANDS Original


The art of horology is that of combining precision with complications. It is a challenge to make the two coexist; generally speaking, complications interfere with the precision of the watch. Throughout the history of horology, very few master watchmakers have succeeded in blending both. At the end of the 1990s Patek Philippe launched a small series of a few ultra-precision complicated watches, reference 961, featuring a chronometer escapement. We know that three were made, of which the present watch appears to be the first one.Patek had begun making chronometer watches with complications by 1844. A few were made with spring detent escapement and quarter-repeating. Their serial numbers are below 10,000, and fewer than ten are known. Around 1890 the company made one with minute-repeating and fusee. During the following century, very few complicated watches with chronometer escapements were made; the next significant acheivement was the 1990s series.The extraordinary accomplishment of Patek Philippe has been the juxtaposition of complications with precision, as the present watch clearly demonstrates.