I first met John Reardon, the Senior VP of Watches at Christie's, on a humid New York summer day in July of last year at Christie's. He was giving a couple of watch geeks like myself an impromptu forty minute tour of high end wrist watches that belonged to numerous icons of the past; aerospace's William Boeing's split-second 130 and financier James Ward Packard's Patek Philippe walking-stick.
On a snowy winter evening at Rockefeller Plaza, the day after the Christmas lighting, my crew and I met up with John again. Before a huge December auction at Christie's which would net 9.9 million dollars in sales, we had the honor to handle and converse about four influential reference numbers within the family of Patek going up for sale in the following day. Below are the pieces that we saw.
My personal time only favorite from the Patek family is the 2526 that you see in the above left part of the image (brown strap). It was the first self winding watch produced by Patek Philippe in the early 1960s. It had a very rare double baked enamel dial, which gives it a beautiful porcelain finish. The movement is a work of art in itself (CAL12-600).
In the minute-repeater category John brought out the 3979P (P stands for platinum), at a first glance you would think this is a watch from the early 1920's because of the miniscule 33MM diameter, however the 3979 was launched 1989 to celebrate Patek Philippe's 150th Anniversary. Only 100 pieces were produced and an even smaller 12 pieces were made in platinum for a very lucky few. It takes 342 parts to create this masterpiece and they even threw in an enamel dial which is most commonly found in pocket watches. It is definitely the most refined and elegant piece a gentleman of great means should own.
When one thinks of a vintage watch, this is the image that should come to mind. An 18K gold case moonphase dial in order to tell the phases of the moon and a triple calendar. Originally made in the 1950's, with the case made by Emile Vichet, this is the rarest version of this watch. The watch is a beauty and to add the fact that it was originally retailing at an astounding $600-ish price tag, it make you wish for a time-machine.
This is the "star of the show", 2499 first series with a Vichet case. This watch has a special place in my heart because I believe it is truly the most aesthetically perfect watch ever made. It has a chronograph, a triple date and a moonphase function. The 2499 came in very limited numbers, only 349 pieces were made in a period of 35 years. The majority of the pieces made were in yellow gold and only two in existence were made in platinum, one of which was sold by Christie's originally belonging to musician Eric Clapton. As far as the price goes for any version of the 2499 you would be lucky to snag one for under $300,000 today.