Exclusive Timepieces 22 –⁠ 23 April 2023 | Monaco

Auction Details

The Monaco Legend Group team has put together an astonishing selection of rarities in the horological field. From the Unique Piece Rolex Yachtmaster, former property of the late President of Rolex Patrick Heiniger, to an outstanding example of the Patek Philippe 2523-1. Not to mention the great selection of rarities destined for Middle Eastern market, such as a Rolex Submariner and Daytona from the Sultanate of Oman and a steel Daytona with UAE emblem on the dial.
Many thanks to Auro Montanari, alias John Goldberger, Roberto Randazzo and George Pakkos for their significant help in supervising the catalogue and to Eric Tortella for his assistance in searching for some of our rarest Patek Philippe watches in his database and releasing his passport of authenticity for them.


Session I: Saturday 22 April, 2:30 PM – lots 1 to 100
Session II: Sunday 23 April, 10:30 AM – lots 101 to 164
Session III: Sunday 23 April, 2:30 PM – lots 165 to 261

164 Patek Philippe Property of a Very Esteemed European Collector, Extremely Well Preserved, Rare and Historically Important, Dual Crown World Time, Wristwatch in Yellow Gold, With Box and Certificate of Origin, Reference 2523/1

Estimate: € 2,000,000 –⁠ 4,000,000

Sold € 3,036,000

Model: World Time
Reference: 2523/1
Case Material: Yellow Gold
Bracelet Material: Leather Strap
Year: 1963
Movement: Manual
Caliber: 12–400
Case N°: 313 041
Movement N°: 724 307
Dimensions: 36 mm
Signed: Dial, Case and Movement
Accessories: Certificate of Origin and Box
Literature: Property of a Very Important European Collector

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 around 10 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 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. The lot here offered is part of the first group and is absolutely incredible for beauty and preservation. It is interesting to note that this specimen lists London and Paris on the same time zone, Greenwich Mean Time. On June 15, 1940, Paris converted to Central European Time and for many years, it was thought that Paris would eventually revert back to GMT which explains why many reference 605 HU made well in the ’50s or ’60s still list Paris and London on the same time zone. The watch has been jealously kept in a safe box for the past decade, rarely seen in the sunlight and that is testified by the oxidation that is slowly appearing randomly on the case. The yellow-gold case stands out thanks to its superb condition, with very sharp sides and deep-faceted lugs, fat and wide bezel, full and bold proportions, retaining a lovely hallmark at 10 a.m. position and sharp facets and a beautiful satin finish. The two crown still show a very tridimensional Calatrava cross in original conditions. Vintage Patek Philippe world time watches are rare but finding one in such superb condition and still presenting the original certificate by Patek confirming its sale in June 1968, five years after its manufacture, makes this timepiece a true grail and almost once in a lifetime opportunity for every connoisseur and collector.