Sotheby’s, New York,
10 December 2014
Sold for $527,000
Other Patek pocket watches have sold recently for considerably more money – but have any been as aesthetically pleasing as this black-dialled beauty which must rank among the most gorgeous portable timepieces ever created?
One of a believed 15 Ref. 658s to have been made during a 20-year production run which began in 1937, it is the first of seven to have appeared at auction and the only one to feature the delectable black dial and this particular sub-dial configuration.
Boasting a perpetual calendar, moon phase display, minute repeater and split-seconds chronograph, it is a true grand complication and, with an original sale date of July 28, 1937, was very likely the first Ref. 658 ever made – a claim supported by the dial signature of high-end retailer E. Gubelin, which matches the watch to contemporary advertising material.
Described at the time as “a Greenwich Observatory in your vest pocket” the watch was aimed at sporting types, as evinced by its slightly racy, art deco case design. Unsurprisingly, it exceeded its $400,000 high estimate to fetch $527,000 and become the deserved top lot of the auction.