Sotheby’s, New York, 10 June 2014
Sold for $2,965,000
That seemingly implausible date is not a mistake. Although it is widely believed that the first Patek split seconds chronographs were not made until 1927 – and are regarded as being extremely rare and covetable – this particular watch shows that the house actually produced such a watch four years earlier.
The piece was previously last seen at auction at Antiquorum’s Art of Patek Philippe sale in 1999 to mark the 25th anniversary of the auction house. It reached a final selling price of SFr.2.9 million which, at prevailing exchange rates, converted to $1.9 million. And we know how the market has soared since then, with this watch fetching $2,965,000.
By making the watch in 1923, Patek became the first manufacturer to reduce the split-seconds complication to wristwatch size. Appropriately, the detailing is exquisite, with a crisp, white enamel dial and Breguet numerals – a combination that was not to be used again on a Patek split-seconds chronograph for many decades.