Phillips, Geneva, 10 May 2015
Sold for CHF 4,645,000
There might not be a dazzling gem or a hint of precious metal in sight, but the picture you’re looking at above is of a near-$5 million timepiece which is now officially the world’s most valuable stainless steel watch.
Patek Philippe’s Reference 130 single button chronographs were almost always cased in gold, but this particular example was one of a pair delivered in March 1937 – a decade after the movement was made – to Walsder, Wald and Co., Patek’s agent in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is believed the watches were sold to two brothers, both of whom were doctors, hence the pulsometer scale designed for the quick calculation of heart rate.
Consecutively numbered 504’146 (the watch sold by Phillips) and 504’147, the latter is among the star exhibits in Patek’s Geneva museum. Adding to the desirability and present-day relevance of the watch is the fact that both steel versions measure 35 mm in diameter – a full two mm larger than the standard gold-cased ref 130. I make that almost CHF 133,000 per millimetre, then.