O ne of the most important vintage wristwatches in the world will be the star lot of Sotheby’s upcoming Important Watches auction in Geneva on 13th November 2018. Known simply as ‘The Asprey’, it is exceptional in every way. Manufactured in 1952 and sold in 1956, this Patek Philippe 2499 1st series was last seen on the market at Sotheby’s in 2006 where it was sold for a staggering 2.2 million Swiss Francs, which not only made it the most expensive 1st series in gold, but the highest price ever paid for a Twenty-Four Ninety Nine.
Since then, the watch has become a legend amongst the market and collecting community, and has remained in the same private collection since first being discovered in 2006. Retailed by Asprey of London in 1956, it is the most complicated Patek Philippe sold by the prestigious London jeweller. The dial is double signed by both the manufacture and Asprey, the case is stamped with London hallmarks and the date letter for 1956 and the inside case back too bears London import marks and the Asprey stamp.
Patek Philippe’s reference 2499, which has been described as ‘the ultimate Patek’, was manufactured between 1950 and 1985. Over the course of those 35 years, just 349 pieces were made – equating to an average of just 9 wristwatches a year. It is recognized as one of the most important perpetual calendar wristwatches made by the prestigious manufacture – indeed, when it was launched in 1950, Patek Philippe was the only watchmaker to make such a complication.
A world-famous address for luxury goods, Asprey of London was founded 237 years ago in 1781. Over its history, it has defined British luxury, courting the most glamorous and famous clientele, from J.P. Morgan to the Maharajah of Patiala, as well as receiving royal warrants from Queen Victoria and every British monarch since.
Speaking ahead of the sale, Sam Hines, Global Head of Sotheby’s Watch Division, commented, “It is an absolute privilege to have been trusted with the sale of this exceptional vintage watch. I have had countless discussions and debates with collectors about this watch due to its pristine state of preservation, making it one of the best preserved examples of a 1st series. This is the only known 2499 to be retailed by Asprey and is the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch to be sold by Asprey. The watch was sold to David Duggan watches in London by the original owner in 2005. The hands are also very interesting as they are luminous, which is also a very rare feature in itself. Following on from the record sale last week of the pink gold 2499 Tiffany in Hong Kong, there is a huge appetite for watches of this caliber and we are very much looking forward to the sale of this extraordinary collectors’ watch.”