Important Collector's Wristwatches, P...

New York, Dec 01, 2004

LOT 327

Patek, Philippe & Cie., Genève, Ref. 961, No. 866797, case No. 2837630. Made in 1989. Exceptionally fine and equally rare 18K gold, keyless, astronomical, minute-repeating pocket chronometer with instantaneous perpetual calendar, moon phases, 24-hour indications, Earnshaw-type spring detent chronometer escapement with free-sprung helical balance spring.

USD 170,000 - 220,000

EUR 130,000 - 170,000

Sold: USD 198,750

C. Four-body, "bassine" polished, gold glazed cuvette. D. Silver, radial Roman numerals, outer minute divisions, four sunk subsidiary 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, gold wheel traim, wolf tooth winding, repeating on gongs through activating slide in the band.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 59 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2|
Dial: 2 - 01


The art of haute horology is that of combining mechanical precision with complications. It is a challenge to make the two coexist; generally speaking, complications interfere with the precision of the watch, due to the additional parts. To maintain a high level of precision and overcome the resistance of the additional springs, racks, levers and wheels of a watch with minute-repeat, calendar and moon phases, like the present watch, requires a level of precision that a select few have been able to achieve. Throughout the history of horology, very few master watchmakers have attempted to create complicated watches with detent escapements. Patek made their first chronometer watches with complications around 1844, (the serial numbers are below 10,000, and fewer than ten are known to exist), all with spring detent escapement and quarter-repeat. During the following 90 years, very few complicated watches with chronometer escapements were made. The next significant achievement in this field w s at the end of the 1980s, when Patek Philippe launched a series of ultra-precision complicated watches, reference 961, employing a detent escapement. A total of two are known to us in yellow gold, of which the present watch is the second. The first was sold by Antiquorum in the ?Private Collection of Theodore Beyer? sale in Zurich, on November 16, 2003, as lot 153. This series places Patek Philippe at the forefront of a group of less than a dozen horological masters who have attained this milestone since the detent escapement was invented.