There are times when a particular complication is associated immediately with a brand. The perpetual calendar chronograph is unmistakably part of Patek Philippe’s genetic code, a complication for which Patek Philippe set the benchmark and of which is the undisputed leader. To fully understand this interlink, one must go back to the reference 1518 from 1941 when Patek Philippe launched its first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, which also happened to be the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch made in series.Reference 2499 replaced reference 1518 in 1951 and was made for a period of 34 years, until 1985, in four different series. A total of 349 pieces were made, making this a highly exclusive reference in the company’s history.- First series: Square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale. - Second series: Round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale, of which the present lot is an example.- Third series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions.- Fourth series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal.Interestingly, Patek Philippe chose Vichet to make the brand new reference 2499, but then, shortly after, switched to Wenger. The Vichet cases are known to have more pronounced and elongated lugs than those produced by Wenger. Also, the early Vichet cases have flat domed casebacks, resulting in the watches resting on their four lugs when put flat on a table, like a contemporary work of art. The dial of the present lot displays the signature of the prestigious Patek Philippe retailer Tiffany & Co.Only two reference 2499 second series with Tiffany & Co. signature are known, one with Arabic numerals (sold by Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg on May 13, 2002 which has remained ever since in an important private collection) and the other, the present lot, with baton indexes, making this timepiece even more covetable. The dials of the two reference 2499 second series with Tiffany & Co. signature are quite different . The model with the Arabic numerals features the Tiffany & Co signature above the day and month windows with the brand name printed below said windows. Furthermore, the moonphase display is circled and there is no “Swiss” indication. With the present lot, other than the baton indexes, the Tiffany & Co signature is printed right beneath the moonphase display which is not circled. Two gold “pearls” are placed at the 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions and the dial further has “Swiss” printed under the retailer’s signature. These elements lead us to believe that the dial may well have been a special order. The period correct heavy weaved yellow gold bracelet is signed Tiffany &Co. on the clasp and furthermore, the balance bridge is stamped ‘HOX’, indicating that the watch was destined for the American market.There are collectible wristwatches, then there are watches woven from the fabric of dreams, and the present reference 2499 is of the latter.The large 37.5mm case is of superb quality with incredibly strong definition to the lugs and the hallmarks on the lugs remain crisp. The dial will make any collector’s heart beat faster, with a harmonious cream glow and its strong, perfectly preserved raised, hard enamel print.The last reference 2499 second series bearing the Tiffany & Co. signature to appear on the market was sold in 2002. The present lot last appeared on the international auction market in 1991 and has been part of an important private collection for over 25 years. Consequently, these models are not only uber-rare, but appear on the international market only every decade or so confirming their ultra-collectible status. It is quite possible that once the present lot leaves us today, at least another decade will go by before another example is seen at auction.Not only does the present timepiece merge mechanical complexity with elegance and sophistication, but its extreme rarity, prestigious Tiffany & Co. signature and pristine condition will make it without any doubt, a trophy for the world’s most discerning collector.
An extremely rare and highly important yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases and bracelet, retailed by Tiffany & Co.
Case, dial and movement signed
Case: The case is in untouched condition with strong definition to the lugs, sharp steps and perfectly crisp gold hallmarks. The condition of the bracelet is consistent with that of the case, the bracelet measures 210mm. max. Dial: The dial is in overall excellent condition with the hard enamel perfectly crisp. There are some small scratches within the continuous seconds subdial at 9 o'clock. Movement: The movement is in overall excellent condition with minor signs of wear. The movement is running and the chronograph and calendar functions perform correctly.
Reference 2499 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp. 302 & 304, and in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches, Volume II, pp. 306-307.