Presented by Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria to original owner
Sotheby's Amsterdam, Property from Aristocratic Families, October 2007, lot 607
Accompanied by a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production with present ornamentation and engraved Bulgarian crown in 1889 and sale on July 17th, 1890.
Born in Vienna in 1861, Ferdinand I was crowned Prince Regent of Bulgaria in 1886. When the country declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1908, he became Tsar of Bulgaria. He abdicated the throne following Bulgaria's 1918 defeat in World War I.
An identical watch with the movement number 83878 was exhibited in the Patek Philippe Museum Exhibition, 'Timepieces for Royalty' in fall 2005. It is published in the exhibition catalogue by curator Arnaud Tellier on p. 107, with discussion of Tsar Ferdinand and other watches he commissioned on pp. 106-115. It is interesting to note that the present lot and the matching published example are consecutively numbered, and both are recorded with the same date of sale in Patek Philippe's Archives.
The Tsar's fascination with machinery, one that extended from automobiles to the intricate workings of Patek Philippe's creations, is well-documented. The exhibition catalogue relates a humorous anecdote in which Ferdinand demanded to conduct the Orient Express train himself, resulting in a less-than-luxurious ride for the passengers onboard.
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