“NOS” stainless steel case and pulsations
We are absolutely thrilled to present this exceptionally rare and highly important stainless steel chronograph, reference 1579 with pulsations scale to the market.
In incredible and unpolished condition, this steel 1579 is one of only 7 examples known. In the late 1980’s Patek Philippe discovered some new old stock stainless steel 1579 cases and dials in their workshops. As a reward for their most loyal and important collectors they invited certain people to have their vintage chronograph updated with these treasures made in the late 1940’s.
The present watch first appeared on the market in 2007 and was consigned for sale by the original owner’s family. The occasion was celebrated as an extremely important discovery due to the condition of the watch and its equally are and important pulsations dial. The term “new old stock” is rarely used however it is the only way to describe this extraordinary wristwatch. Since being purchased 11 years ago, the watch has never been worn and it has been retained in its sensational new old stock condition.
In today’s market, trophy vintage wristwatches become harder and harder to come by. This stainless steel chronograph reference 1579 with pulsations dial is arguably the best example ever to come to market.
Reference 1579 was originally released at the Basel fair in 1943 and was part of Patek Philippe’s collection for approximately 21 years. At the time when the watch was first introduced, there were only a handful of watches with a diameter of 36 mm or larger, making this reference one of the biggest watches at that time. In today’s market, it has become the perfect size. Reference 1579 is also the only example from Patek Philippe to house a set of very different but attractive multifaceted lugs known as the “spider” lugs. It brings a tint of complexion and finesse to the appearance of the watch in a subtle manner.
A standard issued 1579 is accompanied with a movement calibre 13’’’, it is a movement modified from the original and notable Valjoux 23’’ ebauche. After the modification, Patek Philippe would often use this movement for various purposes and functions. Calibre 13’’ can be found among references that range from 130, 530, 1436 and 1518 to pocket watches. According to the Extract from the Archives, the movement of the present watch was originally accompanied to a reference 685 and it was reconstructed by Patek Philippe on special request in 1991, and then replaced with the current case made by renowned case makers André and Edouard Wenger in the 1950s.
Yellow gold, pink gold, platinum and stainless steel metals were used to case the 1579 chronograph. Stainless steel was used for the 1579 case from approximately 1943-1961 and only 7 pieces are known in the market, including this example.
It is unknown how many steel 1579’s were made, however sometime in the late 1980’s, a batch of unused steel cases and dials dating from the late 1940’s were found at the Patek Philippe workshops. The firm then decided to reward their most important collectors by upgrading vintage chronographs in their collections to the newly discovered steel 1579 cases and dials. This gift not only delighted their esteemed clients but from a scholarship point of view, it illustrates perfectly today how an original steel case made in the late 1940’s would have left the factory.
The incredibly well preserved dial is fitted with applied white gold Arabic and square-faceted numerals. Yet, making this dial extraordinary is the hard enamel pulsations scale. The Patek Philippe signature is raised beautifully in hard enamel, rendering the dial spectacular.
When this watch first appeared at auction in 2007, it was celebrated as a significant discovery to the market because the present watch is in truly new old stock condition. The sheer sharpness of the case shows us how beautiful an unpolished 1579 can be. The multi-faceted lugs are incredibly sharp to the touch and as a result, catapult this example to one of the best 1579’s to ever appear at auction.
For similar example of a stainless steel reference 1579, please see "Patek Philippe Steel Watches" by John Goldberger, pages 258-267.
Provenance: Christie’s Geneva, May 2007, lot 280.
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