Lot 30
  • 30

Patek Philippe

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
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  • titanium
  • diameter 43 mm, thickness 18 mm
• cal. 109 manual winding nickel lever movement, stamped with the seal of Geneva, 55 jewels, free-sprung Gyromax balance, one minute tourbillon composed of 69 parts and weighing 0.3 grams, 9k gold third wheel with curved crossing, tourbillon balance wheel and fourth wheel on one axis, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions, two polished hammers minute repeating on two extra-long steel alloy 'Cathedral' gongs, revolving governor with pierced and engraved bridge in the form of a Calatrava cross • opaline white mean-time dial centered by embossed basket-weave motif, chemin-de-fer minute ring, four subsidiary dials indicating day, month, leap year cycle and ages of the moon displayed in white gold, retrograde date display in red enamel from 2 to 10 o'clock, reverse dial of sapphire crystal glass with silvered 24-hour scale and Arabic numerals around inside edge for sidereal time, silvered ellipse framing the visible sky (marked out with spelled cardinal points), planisphere of the Northern Hemisphere rotates counterclockwise above the dial, this disc with small aperture to reveal the phases of the moon, skeletonized white-lacquered gold feuille hands show the hours and minutes • titanium case with two brushed bezels, the mean-time oversized bezel with engraved radial Roman numerals, screw-set down-turned lugs, case band and minute repeating slide finely engraved with a basket-weave motif, two crowns both embossed with a Calatrava cross for winding and setting, four small recessed buttons for correction of the front dial displays • case, dial and movement signed • with a titanium buckle


Movement running at time of cataloguing, however it was not tested for the accuracy of time and may need service at the buyer's discretion. All functions work properly with perpetual calendar properly changing day at midnight and date initializing change at 5 until midnight. Reverse siderial time dial and moonphase functions properly. Case in overall excellent condition with slight wear to the reverse bezel at 9. The titanium case retains all the original lines and the original brushed finish. Basket-weave motif to the case is crisp and in excellent condition. Dial is in excellent condition, reverse dial in excellent condition. Very slight wear to the reverse crystal. Repeat is correct and in phase and has a very resonate sound. Overall an exceptional example of a unique piece. The strap of this watch contains endangered species; please see Important Notices for further information.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.

Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

Catalogue Note

One of the most significant wristwatches ever made by Patek Philippe, the very existence of this highly important timepiece was, until recently, unknown to the market. Named with the unique and previously unrecorded reference number 5001 T, this magnificent wristwatch utilizes Patek Philippe’s most complex wristwatch movement calibre that is housed in a specially commissioned Titanium case with bespoke ‘basket-weave’ (panier) dial. The Ref. 5001 is a bespoke variation on the firm's famed Ref. 5002, which was produced in platinum, yellow, white and pink gold. In the same manner that collectors of vintage watches fall into a collective swoon upon the discovery of a vintage perpetual calendar wristwatch cased in stainless steel, so too will future generations delight over the discovery of the present exceedingly complicated watch in titanium.  

The ‘Sky-Moon’ is typically known to Patek Philippe enthusiasts under reference 5002, yet the present watch shines a new light into the development of the model. This unique 5001T wristwatch features several design elements that set it apart from its well-known successor, the Ref. 5002 ‘Sky Moon’. These include a bespoke dial configuration and case design. A summary of the major differences are given below:

• Titanium case
• Broad satin finished bezel with Roman numerals
• ‘Basket weave’ dial without applied numerals
• ‘Basket weave’ case sides
• Celestial chart with non-standard elliptical sky view
• Celestial chart with full, un-abbreviated cardinal points
• Movement number and ‘tourbillon’ writing concealed from month dial
• Sidereal time without numerals for 11, 12, 13

At first glance, one is immediately impressed by the 5001’s bold titanium case, which lends a surprising lightness to an otherwise extremely heavy watch. The broad bezel with engraved Roman numerals and ‘basket weave’ case sides lend the watch an entirely different character to its cousin, the 5002. The 5001’s dial does not have hourly applied numerals and this accentuates the handsome, red retrograde date sector which takes over the dial’s edge. Another interesting detail is the lack of movement number to the subsidiary month dial – on the reference 5002, the watch’s movement number is printed to the dial. The ‘basket weave’ pattern to the case sides is repeated to the main body of the dial and again adds to the 5001’s unique character – interestingly the 5002 features Calatrava crosses to the case band and dial. When viewing the 5001’s sky chart, one is instantly struck by the cardinal points which are unabbreviated: East, North, West, South – the 5002 instead has the letters E, N, W, S in their place. As ‘South’ is written out in full within the Sidereal time calibrations at the edge of the dial on the 5001, the numerals for the Sidereal hours of 11, 12 and 13, are not shown – on the 5002’s celestial chart dial, ‘South’ is simply marked ‘S’ and only replaces the Sidereal time’s 12 o’clock numeral, that of 11 and 13 both being present.   

The ‘Sky-Moon’ movement is registered by Patek Philippe as calibre RTO 27 QR SID LU CL and, with 12 complications and 686 parts, is the most complex Patek Philippe movement ever to be designed and incorporated into a wristwatch. However, Patek Philippe’s motivation for designing the ‘Sky-Moon’ was less about the number of complications and was instead focused on incorporating the most pleasing and exciting horological complications into a single, elegantly constructed timepiece. The Sky Chart with its orbiting moon is without doubt one of the most visually pleasing and intricate horological complications ever seen. The chart takes its inspiration from the legendary Patek Philippe Star Calibre which Patek Philippe revealed in 2000 and which itself drew inspiration from three other Patek Philippe behemoths, the Packard no.198.023, Henry Graves Supercomplication no.198.385 (completed in 1932 and re-sold at Sotheby’s New York, December 1999) and the Calibre 89, released to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Patek Philippe in 1989. The Sky-Moon’s sky chart of the northern hemisphere rotates counter-clockwise beneath a sapphire crystal with a golden ellipse that frames the part of the sky visible from a specified location and displays the motion of the stars, the meridian passages of Sirius and the moon and the waxing and waning of the moon phases. The edge of the sky chart’s dial is calibrated for sidereal time in 24-hours.

The extreme precision and complexity of the display is breathtaking and, when Ref. 5002 was revealed for the first time in a wristwatch at the 2001 Basel Fair, it created a sensation among the horological community. A complementary piece to the Ref. 5002, the Ref. 6002G, was unveiled in 2013. The watch features apertures for the perpetual calendar instead of hands with a blue grand feu enamel dial, all within a heavily engraved gold case. 

Chiming watches have always amazed and delighted the user and remain one of the most coveted of complications. The wristwatch poses a particular challenge since, unlike the pocket watch, its relatively small size does not naturally allow for the production of a chime that is clear, loud and strong. However, prior to the Sky-Moon’s production, Patek Philippe had consulted intensively with metallurgists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. The result was the production of an extremely refined alloy that allowed for extended gongs which produced an especially long and resonant chime within the wristwatch case; these gongs are known as ‘cathedral gongs’. It is fascinating to note the tonal subtleties of the chiming in a titanium case. 

The perpetual calendar is, of course, another highly desirable complication and so it is no surprise that the Sky-Moon incorporates this feature to its front dial. However, the complexity of the perpetual calendar on this watch is enhanced by the addition of a large retrograde date sector that forms an arc from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock. At the end of each month, no matter the number of days, the date indicator will automatically jump across the dial to show the 1st of the following month.

In order to compensate for positional errors while the watch is worn, the movement incorporates yet another horological marvel, this time in the form of a tourbillon. Today the tourbillon is another of the most desired elements in ultra complicated watches and the Sky-Moon’s tourbillon comprises 69 individual parts alone. In the Sky-Moon, this complication is given another layer of complexity by the placement of the balance wheel and fourth wheel on one axis. This is a layout that is hard to accommodate but which allows for a more effective deployment of the tourbillon’s principles.

Undoubtedly one of the most important contemporary wristwatches in existence, this unique Ref. 5001 offers an extremely rare opportunity to own a truly distinct Grande Complication wristwatch representing the pinnacle of fine watch making. The Ref. 5001T achieves the monumental task of exceeding even the Ref. 5002 in its horological importance. Without a doubt, the Ref. 5001T represents the most important complicated wristwatch thus far of the Third Millennium.