104 Patek Philippe Exceptionally Rare, Highly Important and Possibly Unique, Dual Crown World Time Wristwatch in Yellow Gold, With 24 Hour Indication, Retailed by Tiffany & Co, Reference 2523/1, With Extract from the Archives

Estimate: €1,800,000 –⁠ 3,600,000

Sold €2,787,200

Model: World Time
Reference: 2523/1
Case Material: Yellow Gold
Bracelet Material: Leather Strap
Year: 1963
Movement: Manual
Caliber: 12-400
Case N°: 313036
Movement N°: 724302
Dimensions: 36 mm
Signed: Dial, Case and Movement
Accessories: Extract from the Archives
Literature: Sold at Phillips “Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE—Geneva Auctions 13-14 May 2017” as lot 183. Sold at Christie’s “Important Watches” on 17 November 2008, as lot 178.

Legendary, iconic, elusive, desired, unique, Holy Grail. For watches auction enthusiasts, these will surely be adjectives read numerous times in the description of a timepiece. Often abused, over time the real perception of what they truly means has been lost and when in the presence of an exceptionally rare specimen, it becomes difficult to find the right words to describe it. It is at this point that adjectives are no longer needed but numbers come into play to make people understand how important and exceptional the lot offered here is. One: this is the number of references 2523/1 known with the prestigious Tiffany & Co. signature. The two crown world time reference 2523/1 is one of the most exclusive of all vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches: only 15 yellow-gold examples were ever made while only 9 specimens are now known in public today and is still considered one of the most beautiful and iconic, post-war designs by any watch manufacturer. Launched in 1953, the reference 2523 featured a new two-crown system, one for winding the watch and the other at 9 o’clock controlling the city disc. Two versions were available, reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs no longer sitting above the bezel, such as the present lot. Born from the genius watchmaker Louis Cottier, the world time watches divided the twenty-four time zones into day and night. The day scale was shown in a light color with a sun icon and the night sector were shown in a darker color with a moon icon. The local or meantime must first be set by the crown at 3 o’clock (the 24-hour ring will revolve in the opposite direction of the hands). Then the outer ring is adjusted by turning the crown at 9 o’clock until one’s current global location is indicated at the 12 o’clock position. Once this is calibrated, the relative time of each world location is set. Patek Philippe stopped the production of world time watches in the late 1960s with the passing away of Louis Cottier and this complication came back into the Patek Philippe catalogue only in 2000 with the reference 5110. The aesthetic appeal of this model lies in the design featuring a large and bold sized architectural case, engraved rotating disc featuring the cities and locations around the world, and caliber movement 12-400 HU (Heures Universelles). The present lot stands out thanks to its impressive condition. The case is not excessively encumbering or ostentatious, and yet the concentric rings layout of the dial, coupled with the generous bezel, grant these timepieces a presence on the wrist far exceeding that of other watches of similar size. The second crown at 9 o’ clock mirrors the usual one at 3 o’clock and imbues the overall look of the piece with balance and symmetry. References 2523 and 2523/1 were fitted with a variety of dial variations: the reference 2523 was available with numerous enamel versions and the 2523/1 with silvered or guillochè dials but the present one is the only one known at the moment that proudly displays the Tiffany & Co. signature making the present lot truly unique.