In the field of watch collection, Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronographs enjoy a well-deserved honorable status. Since the brand was founded more than 170 years ago, the industry is comparable to the rare. The combination of perpetual calendar and timing is a remarkable pioneering work. The integration of the two mechanisms is far more significant than a single function. The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is probably the most important family series in the industry, and every fine watch enthusiast should know about it. In this special article, the editor will introduce six historical models (all discontinued), let’s start from scratch …
Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 is the first series-produced perpetual calendar chronograph that dates back to 1941. Ref.1518 is the beginning of everything. Its significance is not limited to the perpetual calendar chronograph, but also the beginning of Patek Philippe and the entire watchmaking industry, according to the series production of complex function watches. The annual Geneva watchmaking salon (SIHH) and Basel World show the world’s watch enthusiasts with many innovative and complicated timepieces from different brands, which we have become accustomed to and even get tired of. However, in 1941, no one thought about making complication watches; even if there were, it was the direct commission of gold masters such as Henry Graves and James Ward Parker, and they were basically pocket watches. The advent of Ref.1518 was groundbreaking, and in 1941 (when World War II was in full swing) Patek Philippe created a real masterpiece.
At 12 o’clock, there are double windows of the week and month. At 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, there is a chronograph circle. At 6 o’clock, the moon phase profit and loss and circular date are displayed. This design layout is the most important model of Patek Philippe in the next 70 years. ‘According to this book’ inherited. The dials of Ref. 1518 are silver, decorated with enamel speedometer scales, and the entire movement number is engraved on the back of the dial. The silver moon and moon plate is also decorated with enamel, and the moon phase plate is inlaid with blue enamel and gold star moon. The case was supplied by Georges Croisier (later Genevor SA) and has a three-piece structure with a recessed bezel and sunken lugs. In 1944, Ref. 1518 was listed at CHF 2,800.
Ref.1518 is equipped with the Caliber 13-130 legendary movement, which is based on the Valjoux basic movement. It is equipped with a linear lever escapement, Breguet automatic compensation spring and gooseneck trim. This movement is equipped with 23 jewel bearings, decorated with the Geneva pattern, and engraved with the Geneva mark. The high-quality and refined retouching does not show the shadow of Valjoux’s basic movement. Half a century after the birth of Ref. 1518, there were other brands making successful attempts at integrating perpetual calendars and timekeeping.
Ultimate Ref. 1518
Ref.1518 is indeed the most original perpetual calendar chronograph and has laid the foundation for the entire family series, but it may not be the most sought after as a whole. The Ref.1518 case is 35 mm in diameter and features a square chronograph button, which makes it more gentlemanly than a modern watch suitable for everyday wear. But Ref.1518 has a feature that other Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronographs do not have, that is, a small number of models made of stainless steel (recognized as the ultimate metal of Patek Philippe).
A total of four Ref. 1518 are known to exist today, and they are regarded as one of the rarest and rarest and most collectible watches in the world. The four Ref.1518 were produced during the Second World War, as detailed in the book Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Timepiece by John Goldberger. These watches have no real market value because they have never been sold publicly. But Bloomberg recounted the story of Alfredo Paramico buying one of them in 2007 for $ 2.2 million. For watch collectors, the Patek Philippe stainless steel Ref. 1518 is the ultimate holy grail.
Thirteen years after Ref.1518 came out, Ref.2499 entered the stage of history. In fact, there is another saying that Ref. 2499 was listed in 1951, which means that Ref. 2499 and Ref. 1518 were produced and sold for several years at the same time, because the latter ceased production in 1954. Many people regard Ref. 2499 as the ultimate Patek Philippe watch, because it has the elegance and charm of the old era, and the wearability of the new era. Ref. 2499 is probably the most frequently and thoroughly studied Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph. Here we will introduce the four generations of Ref. 2499 one by one.
The first generation of Ref. 2499 evolved from Ref. 1518, and the dial, hands and timing buttons are exactly the same. All first-generation Ref. 2499s are equipped with square timing buttons, set with Arabic numerals and decorated with speedometer scales.
At the Bonhams auction in New York in December 2012, this first-generation Ref.2499 was sold for $ 422,500
The first-generation Ref.2499 shown above is sold for $ 422,500 at the Bonhams auction in New York in December 2012. Sounds expensive, indeed. But as mentioned before, the case materials are different, and the prices are very different. Just half a year ago (May 2012), at the Christie’s auction, a first-generation Ref. 2499 rose gold model with a special case of 37.5 mm also sold for up to $ 2.75 million.
At the Christie’s auction in May 2012, the first rose gold model Ref. 2499 sold for $ 2.75 million
After the first generation, the design of Ref. 2499 has changed a lot. Round timing buttons and stick-applied hour-markers appear abruptly, and Arabic numerals applique hour-markers, while the tachymeter scale is retained. The second-generation Ref. 2499 is still dominated by a gold case. If you encounter a rose gold model, the price cannot be reasoned. At the Christie’s auction in November 2013, a rose gold second-generation Ref. 2499 sold for $ 2.16 million.
The second generation went on sale in the mid-1950s, at this time just four years before the birth of Ref. 2499. The later third and fourth generation Ref. 2499 was very different from the first and second generations. The tachymeter scale and Arabic numerals on the dial no longer existed.
Of the four generations of Ref. 2499, the one with the lowest collection value is the third generation because it is the most common. The third generation Ref. 2499 was produced from 1960 to 1978, and accounted for about half of the entire model production cycle (1951/1954-1985). The third and second generations are relatively similar. They can be distinguished by the dial details. It depends on whether it is applied with stick-shaped time scales or if there is no speedometer scale. If the answer is yes, then it is the third or fourth generation .
What is the difference between the third and fourth generations? Frankly speaking, there is not much difference. It can only be said that the fourth generation is a transition product from antique watches to modern watches. From 1978 to 1985, the final stage of the product adopted the Ref. 2499/100 number. In terms of appearance and materials, the main difference between the fourth and previous generations is the use of sapphire crystal.
Ultimate Ref. 2499
Ref. 2499 value geometry? Exceptionally expensive and very sought after. If it is a rose gold model, or the Cartier logo is on the dial, the price will be one million dollars and upwards. At present, the most expensive Ref. 2499 was sold by Christie’s Geneva in November 2012, with a transaction price of 3.443 million Swiss francs.
Just as Ref. 1518 is available in stainless steel, Ref. 2499 is available in platinum. It is believed that there are only two platinum models Ref. 2499 in the world, both commissioned by Philippe Stern in 1985. One of them is still owned by the Stern family and is on display at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. Another one was launched at the ‘The Art of Patek Philippe’ theme auction held on April 9, 1989 by Antigoron. Finally, the only publicly available platinum model Ref. 2499 was 418 thousand Swiss. The Lang deal, equivalent to 253,000 US dollars, taking into account the inflation factor, today is about 514,000 US dollars. Don’t forget, it was in 1989 that no one had ever spent so much money on a watch.
This platinum Ref. 2499 was eventually captured by Eric Clapton. Yes, it is Eric Clapton, one of the greatest Patek Philippe collectors in the world. Everyone in the collection knows that Eric Clapton owns this watch, and no one expected it to be offered for auction again. In November 2012, this watch appeared at the Christie’s auction, and the final transaction price reached $ 3.63 million, which further consolidated the status of Ref. 2499’s ultimate collection of watches. It should be noted that many people originally expected this watch to be sold at a higher price, but in fact, it was not even the most expensive watch at that auction (Ref. 2458 Geneva Observatory Bulletin wrist for Patek Philippe for JB Champion) table).
Ref. 2499 is regarded as the pinnacle of Patek Philippe design. A total of 349 pieces have been produced for 35 years (average less than 10 pieces a year), and its price has been steadily rising. The 37 mm case diameter, four different generations of products, the true family pedigree of the perpetual calendar, and the beautiful and comfortable wearing effect make this watch even more attractive.
Ref. 3970 and Ref. 5020 of Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Ref.5004 and Ref.5970 of Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph