18k, damascened nickel lever movement, 23 jewels, mono-metallic compensation balance, 8 adjustments, precision regulator, silvered dial, applied arabic and dot numerals, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30-minute register, date combined with aperture for moon phases, apertures for day and month, outer tachometer scale, luminous hands, circular case with scooped bezel, down-turned stepped lugs with satin finished sides, rectangular satin finished flat pushers with polished sides, snap-off satin finished case back with dated monogram, case, dial and movement signed, the inside case back additionally with Asprey hallmark, accompanied by an Extract from the Archives and an 18k Patek buckle.
EXTRACT FROM THE ARCHIVES
The accompanying Extract from the Patek Philippe Archives confirms that this wristwatch was manufactured in 1952 and sold on May 18th, 1956.
The Asprey 2499 was sold by the original owner in the late 1990s after which time it was purchased by a distinguished collector. It is now offered at auction for the first time.
Reference 2499 was manufactured between 1950 and 1985. During the 35 years of production, just 349 pieces were made, equating to an average of 9 examples a year. The first series is by far the rarest and research shows that there may have been no more than 40 pieces made in yellow gold. With its crisp flat rectangular pushers, the first series 2499 is immediately distinguishable from all later series, each of which has round chronograph pushers. Currently the only known example of a reference 2499 with the Asprey signature, Patek Philippe no.868.346 may well be unique.
The 2499 is recognised as one of the most important perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches made by Patek Philippe. When it was launched in 1950, Patek Philippe was still the only watchmaker to manufacture such a complication. As testament to the reference 2499’s classic styling, reflections of the first series 2499 can be seen in the recently launched ref.5970 which echoes its forebear in both design and appearance, especially with its rectangular pushers and tachometer dial.
Asprey, Britain's world famous luxury lifestyle house, was founded 225 years ago in 1781. Over its history, the company has courted glamorous and famous clientele from around the world. Asprey received Royal Warrants from both Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. Indeed, at the time of the latter's funeral, it was noted that almost all the Heads of State attended and "many of them came to Asprey, you might have seen three or four of them at once." In the 20th century, the Asprey business grew tremendously and commissions were received from millionaires such as J. Pierpont Morgan and potentates such as the Maharajah of Patiala. Today the company has stores in London, New York, Beverly Hills, Honolulu, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, St Moritz and Dubai.
Making its first ever appearance at auction, the ‘Asprey’ 2499 is certainly one of the rarest and most significant examples of the reference ever to be offered for sale.
The first series 2499 was some 2mm larger in diameter than the reference 1518 that it was introduced to replace. With rounded sides and finely stepped down-turned lugs, the 2499 first series is substantial in size with its 'bassine' case. It is interesting to note the attention to detail on the case finish which is wonderfully preserved on the present lot. The sides of the lugs are satin finished as is the case back and the top and base of the rectangular chronograph pushers; this provides an excellent contrast with the polished case sides, bezel and edges of the pushers.
As the only known example of a reference 2499 retailed by Asprey, several features distinctive to this wristwatch can be noted. First and most clearly one can see the Asprey script signature which perfectly fills the date subsidiary.
As well as the Patek Philippe signature and numbering, the inside of the case back is additionally stamped with the Asprey signature. The inside case back also features, as one would expect for an English retailed gold watch, the UK import hallmarks, in this instance for London in 1955. Together with the Extract from the Archives, it can therefore be deduced that the watch was shipped to Asprey, London in 1955 (when it was hallmarked) and sold by Asprey a year later on May 18th, 1956. The initials to the case back are dated 25th May 1956 so the watch may well have been purchased for an anniversary or birthday present.
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