PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTOR
The present lot, being offered for the first time at auction on behalf of a descendant of the original owner, is striking for its excellent overall condition. The Ref. 1518 is a well-known and much beloved icon of vintage complicated wristwatches, however it is infrequent that one sees an example with such a well-preserved case shape, with substantial, fully retained lug width, and with a crisply retained gold mark at the profile at 10 o'clock.
The Ref. 1518 played a critical role in the development of Patek Philippe's complicated wristwatches. Together with Ref. 1526, it was the first perpetual calendar wristwatch ever produced by the company in series. It is recognized that the introduction of Ref. 1518 greatly contributed to the manufacturer's dominant position in the Swiss watchmaking industry. Indeed, perpetual calendar wristwatches produced in series were almost exclusively a Patek Philippe commodity for four decades (other manufacturers tending not to list or distribute the complication other than for special orders).
The influence of the Ref. 1518 can be seen in all the series-produced Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronographs that came after it (Refs. 2499, 3970, 5020, 5970, 5270). Even though the case design changed in the references that followed, the basic dial layout remained the same. Similarly, the functions of the movement have not changed in 70 years.
From 1941 to 1954, a total of 281 Ref. 1518 wristwatches were made, an incredibly small production run by today's standards, with an average of just 20 watches per year.
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