Exclusive Timepieces 7 December 2019 | Monaco | Lot 124
Patek Philippe Very Fine, Early and Rare Calatrava Automatic Wristwatch in Yellow Gold, Reference 2526, With Enamel Dial
Estimate € 25,000 – 50,000
Material: Yellow Gold
Reference N°: 2526
Case N°: 695996
Movement type: Automatic
Movement N°: 763668
Bracelet: Leather Strap
Dimensions: 35.5 mm
Signed: Dial, case and movement
Accessories: Extract from the archives
Accompanied by a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in yellow gold in 1956 and its subsequent sale on 24 July 1957.
Among some of the most important members of the Calatrava family, the reference 2526 might not be iconic for being the first one like the ref.96 or elegant like the ref.570 but is without any doubts one of the most appreciated and important. Launched in 1953, it has a timeless quality that is as contemporary nowadays as it was years ago, moreover, given its big size considering the years of its manufacturing, is still today a really wearable watch. The case was produced by Baumgartner and conceals inside the caliber 12–600AT, an innovative automatic movement produced from 1953 until approximately 1960. This is the most important detail since the reference 2526 is the first wristwatch ever made by Patek Philippe with a self-winding movement. This caliber is considered one of the finest automatic movements ever made featuring efficient bi-directional winding system allowing for the watch to achieve full power reserve in a relatively short period of time. Another important characteristic is the fascinating enamel dial, always very difficult to realize and really appreciated when in perfect conditions.
The reference 2526 ha been produced in 4 different series:
– First: domed case back, enamel dial and riveted numerals. The dial presents flared holes under each numeral in order to allow for the setting of the numeral. (Highly complex since it needed 26 holes for the numerals, plus two holes for the hands and subsidiary seconds)
– Second: domed case back, enamel dial with the numerals glued to it and only two flared holes for the hands. (simplified technique)
– Third: flat case back, and in later ones metal dial.
– Fourth: same as third series, but with new calibre 27–460.
The present lot is a specimen of the second series realized in 18k yellow gold preserved in very nice condition. The case with screw back is crisp and with nice hallmark between the lugs. The enamel dial has a creamy white color with yellow gold applied indexes and dauphine hands still undamaged. The reference 2526 is surely one of the nicest of Patek Philippe’s whole production which have been able to become a historically important watershed between what was produced before and after it.