Wanna see a watch so rare that if you speak about it too loudly, it may blow away, never to be gazed upon again by the likes of men? Cool, well scroll up, then, because we were only given one picture of it.
Did you see it? Pretty, isn't it? It's a reference 2523/1, made by none other than Patek Philippe in in 1953, and one of only four known examples produced in pink gold. Why is it so special? A mechanical world timer, the 2523/1 gives the wearer a picture of all 24 of the planet's time zones at a glance — a brilliant feat of watchmaking that, while common enough now, was rare and special in the 1950s.
Said Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant of Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, Head of Watches Continental Europe & Middle East: “It is interesting how certain complications are immediately associated with certain brands, and the world time and Patek Philippe are indissociable. One of Patek Philippe’s most important creations, the reference 2523/1 in pink gold and guilloché dial is in fact as rare as a stainless steel reference 1518, as only four are known. The example we have the privilege of presenting in the Geneva Watch Auction: XII is a time capsule, its impeccable state of preservation and superb dial make this reference 2523/1 one of the most desirable watches to have left the ateliers of Patek Philippe. To be able to behold and let alone to own such a spectacularly preserved piece is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the collector of such holy grail watches.”
In the 1930s, Louis Cottier miniaturized one of his pocket watch designs — a special creation that featured a movement with local time at the center and a linked 24-hour ring bordered by a fixed outer dial ring with inscribed city names. (After the city corresponding to the local time zone is placed at the 12 o'clock position, the correct time was displayed foe the remaining 24 of the the world's time zones simultaneously.)
Following the release of a series of prototypes and pre-series watches, Patek Philippe released the reference 1415 based on Cottier's design — a single-crown model, this watch featured a bezel engraved with the city names that was meant to be switched manually. In 1953, the ref. 2523 was launched with a two-crown system: one wound the watch, while the 9 o'clock crown controlled an inner city disc.
Few of these watches sold, and thus only a handful were produced. The example to be auctioned in November, in addition to being one of only four known in this configuration (and one of only two that have ever come up for auction), features a well-preserved case that maintains its polished and brushed surfaces, as well as a well-preserved guilloché dial.
Set to go under the hammer at Phillips' "The Geneva Watch Auction: XII" on November 6th and 7th, the 2523/1 carries an estimate of CHF 2,000,000-4,000,000 (~$2,174,000-$4,349,000).