The reference 2499 perpetual calendar is emblematic of much of what makes Patek Philippe such a storied marque: it's highly complicated, very, very rare, and utterly beautiful. Made in four series between 1951 and 1985, it saw a total production run of only 349 examples, or roughly 1 per month. The spiritual successor to the famed reference 1518, the first serially produced perpetual calendar with chronograph, the 2499 has since become one of the most coveted reference's in Patek's back catalog and a collector favorite. Seeing all four series together doesn't really happen.
Except that it's happening this spring: A wild collection of all four 2499 series is going under the hammer at Phillips' Geneva Watch Auction XIII. The watches, which come from a single owner who put the collection together over 20 years, include a 1st series in yellow gold, a super rare 2nd series in pink gold with a German calendar, a 3rd series with a hard enamel dial, and a 4th series from 1985 (the last year of production for the 2499), also with a German calendar.
Sized at between 36mm and 37.5mm, the 2499 is a perpetual calendar chronograph, meaning that in addition to normal timekeeping and the chronograph function, it will keep track of the day, date, month and phase of the moon without requiring adjustment for months of differing lengths or leap years. It's powered by the cal. 13, which is based on a Valjoux cal. 23 ébauche. To think that this technology was around in the 1950s to power serially produced wristwatches is kind of mind blowing. (Actually, it was around in the 1940s, powering the 1518, but because the 2499 is larger and more modern in proportions than its WWII-era predecessor, it tends to get more love from collectors.)
With four super rare examples in particularly clean condition, it's anyone's guess what this stunning collection of 2499s will hammer for. (Notable 2499s have been known to sell for several million dollars a piece over the past few years, so it's sure to be an entertaining auction.)