Lot 252
  • 252

Patek Philippe

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • yellow gold, alligator
  • diameter 35 mm
• 13''' manual movement with lever escapement, 23 jewels, metal dust cap • silvered dial, applied yellow gold Breguet numerals, 2 subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30-minute register, feuille hands, blued steel chronograph hand • 18k yellow gold case, stepped bezel, round chronograph buttons, screw down case back with engraving case, dial, and movement signed • with a gold-plated Patek Philippe buckle


A very rare and important piece. The movement is running at the time of cataloguing and the chronograph is functioning properly, however it may require service soon. The last documented repair was done in 2007 by Henri Stern. The dial is in very nice condition, with beautiful, fully intact raised hard enamel printing throughout. The crystal itself is scuffed and may benefit from a buffing so that the dial may be better appreciated. The case is in overall very nice condition with moderate surface scuffs, and a bit of more visible wear to the edge of the upper left lug and to the bezel at 2 and 4 o'clock. While at Henri Stern and Patek Philippe Geneva, it may have been expertly polished, but the two strong hallmarks remain crisp and visible to the naked eye, one to the profile of the band between the crown and the lower chronograph pusher, and one to the back of the upper left lug. With engraving to the back: R.B.P JAN 1 - MAR 25, 1959 N.A.R The present lot contains endangered species which is subject to restrictions upon international export. Accordingly, the strap will be removed prior to shipment outside the United States.
"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

With an Extract from the Archives confirming date of sale with Breguet numerals on 19 July 1957. With additional Henri Stern service paperwork dated 3 December 2007.

When it made its debut in 1940, Ref. 1463 was Patek Philippe's first water resistant chronograph wristwatch, and was produced in less than 750 examples. It was the successor to Ref. 130, another iconic chronograph wristwatch with a snap back. After production of Ref. 1463 ended in the late 1960s, Patek Philippe did not introduce any other chronograph wristwatches until 1998, when Ref. 5070 debuted. This model is well-loved for its substantial case, featuring a screw-down back and round chronograph pushers. Whereas to modern eyes, many vintage pieces appear rather small, the proportions of the Ref. 1463 are just right. 

The present example is from an exceedingly small group of Ref. 1463 watches in yellow gold featuring Breguet numerals. According to our research, only about a dozen such examples have appeared at auction. Indeed, this dial variation is more rarely seen on gold Ref. 1463s than it is on stainless steel Ref. 1463s: there are nearly 20 known examples of steel Ref. 1463 models featuring Breguet numerals. It is estimated that the total production of Ref. 1463 gold watches with Breguet numerals was 75% that of steel watches from the reference. This dial configuration lends a handsome, more formal aesthetic to this iconic vintage chronograph wristwatch.   

Offered by the original and sole owner, the present example boasts an interesting provenance.  The engraving on the back of the watch reads “R.B.P, JAN 1 – MAR 25, 1959, N.A.R.”  This inscription reflects the fact that the watch was a gift by the recently elected Governor of the State of New York, Nelson A. Rockefeller, to the present owner (initials R.B.P).  The gift was in appreciation for the present owner’s valued service as Counsel to the Governor.  The stated dates were those of the opening and closing of the first session of the New York State Legislature during the Rockefeller Governorship.

An example of Ref. 1463 with Breguet numerals is illustrated in the Patek Philippe Museum book, Vol. II, p. 269.