GENEVA - The winner of 18 Grammy’s and the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, music legend Eric Clapton is also an avid and assured collector of watches. While reticent about talking about his collecting, Clapton’s particular interest lies in Rolex and Patek Philippe. This sale features an exquisite example of the later: a possibly unique pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, reference 5970.

Clapton’s name appears on the certificate of origin, reflecting the exacting standards of one of the greatest watch collectors, and it is easy to see where the appeal of this timepiece lies. Reference 5970 was launched in 2004 and replaced reference 3970, which had been in production since 1986. Since the introduction of Patek Philippe’s first series produced perpetual calendar chronograph in 1941, this type of watch has become one of their signature pieces. While its predecessors had an average production period of 20 years between them, Reference 5970 was only produced for six years and though continues the lineage of perpetual calendar chronograph models, has some distinct differences. For instance, the case is considerably larger and more contemporary than earlier examples, with a diameter of 40 mm. This larger size may in part have prompted the re-introduction of the tachometer scale to the outer edge of the dial, a feature not seen as standard since the late 1950s.

PATEK PHILIPPE. A fine and possibly unique pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon-phases, breguet numerals and bracelet ref 5970 mvt 3048248 case 4365922 made in 2006. Estimate CHF 120,000–220,000.

This watch also has some modifications that were probably requests from Clapton himself. The dial is almost certainly unique as it features Breguet numerals. Research prior to the sale has revealed that this is the first time a 5970 with this configuration has appeared for auction. The gold brick bracelet, again probably a personal request, enhances the unique modern appearance of the watch.

The 5970 is one of Patek’s most popular and sought after models – and this example, having been in the collection of one of the world’s most discerning and influential watch connoisseurs, must rank as one of the most desirable.