105 Patek Philippe Very Well Preserved, Highly Attractive and Extremely Rare, Perpetual Calendar, Moon Phase, Sweep Center Seconds Wristwatch in Yellow Gold, With Extract from the Archives, Reference 2497

Estimate: €200,000 –⁠ 400,000

Sold (Premium)€321,100

Model: Perpetual Calendar "Secondi al Centro"
Reference: 2497
Case Material: Yellow Gold
Bracelet Material: Leather Strap
Year: 1953
Movement: Manual
Caliber: 27 SCQ
Case N°: 674384
Movement N°: 888025
Dimensions: 37 mm
Signed: Dial, Movement and Case
Accessories: Extract from the Archives and Mr. Tortella and sons "deep-study" documentation

The reference 2497 is historically important and was produced from 1951 until it was discontinued in 1963. It was the world's first perpetual calendar wristwatch with centre seconds and remained the only one in the history of Patek Philippe until the introduction of reference 5050 in 1993, which was an impressive 30 years after the production of the 2497 ceased. A rare and sought-after reference, scholarship tells us that there were a combined total of only 179 examples made across both references 2497 and 2438/1, with movement numbers spanning from 888.000 to 888.178. The present example with movement number 888.025 indicates that it was one of the earlier specimens: this means that the present lot has to be considered as a truly must-have for every collector. Reference 2497 can be divided into a first and second series, depending on the case maker. First series cases were made by Emile Vichet and second series cases made by Wenger. The case by Wenger featured a domed back and slightly shorter lugs while the Vichet case is distinguished by its flat case back and longer, more prominent lugs that are shaped like claws which perfectly match the concave bezel. First series examples are much rarer since only the earliest 40 or 50 watches of this reference were equipped with Vichet cases. The present example is of course part of the Vichet family as testified by the key number 9 inside the case back. The case is in great original condition and the lugs still retain their fluting. All of these curves, edges, and shapes shine through perfectly due to the remarkable state of preservation of its case. The hallmark stamped underneath the lug is very deep and clear, as a testimony of the great conditions of the watch. Reference 2497 is powered by the perpetual calendar version of cal. 27 SC (thus: 27SCQ - Seconde au Centre Quantième) which was made in exactly 180 examples. Movement number 888'000 was fitted in a prototype case, the remaining 179 movements were employed in "standard" reference 2497 and its waterproof twin ref. 2438/1. Also the dials can be divided in two different series, easily distinguished by their varying layouts: one, such as the present watch, featuring applied Arabic and dot numerals and feuille hands, and a second one with applied baton numerals and dauphine hands. Manufactured by Stern Frères with a solid gold base plate, the present one has matte silvered finish, applied yellow gold hand-cut Arabic numerals and dots, hand-cut calendar and moon phase windows, black hard enamel signature, outer seconds track and subsidiary calendar scale, hand-made gold ‘feuille’ hour and minute hands, blued steel seconds hand. A formidable example of a reference 2497, this true collector's piece, of superb quality and rarity, will delight the future owner with its strong and generous case proportions, well defined stepped lugs and crisp hallmarks. Recently, a similar examples in pink gold have been sold at Christie’s Geneva "Rare Watches 13 May 2023” for CHF 1,497,000. The watch comes with the extract from the archives confirming material, production in 1953 and subsequent sale on 21st January 1954. We are grateful to Mr. Eric Tortella and sons for the "deep-study" documentation.