PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER
The present lot is of particular note due to its early serial number and production date. One notes that previous to the present example, scholars recorded the first known Ref. 2597 as bearing the movement serial number 727300, twenty digits after the present example, 727279. The Extract from the Archives notes the date of manufacture as 1957, indeed earlier than any known Ref. 2597s previously offered.
In 1957, Cottier is recorded to have researched and created three prototype 'heures sautantes' movements, which were likely then exhibited at the Basel Fair that year. Considering the date confirmed on the Extract from the Archives from Patek Philippe of 1957 for the present lot, it is fair to assume that the present movement was among those three. Following its exhibition and study, it was then cased and sold to the original owner in 1961.
Sotheby's is pleased to offer the present lot on behalf of a descendant of this original owner. A prominent private American collector, he was an important Patek Philippe client whose collection included a Ref. 605 enamel dial world time watch. Reviewing the client's breadth of knowledge of Louis Cottier's most iconic works, it may be surmised that his patronage was rewarded with this rare and early Ref. 2597- the first known from the series.
It is also noteworthy that the present example is the only one known to exist with a non-silvered dial. While the Patek Philippe Archives have no record further than '2597' for type of dial, the most likely explanation is that this client presented his watch for service within the first decade of ownership for replacement with Patek Philippe's most current and stylish offering, the blue sunburst dial. Working in close collaboration with his esteemed advisors at Henri Stern Watch Agency in New York, the client furthermore enhanced this fascinating piece as the only known Ref. 2597 example with a non-silvered dial.
The first version of the wristwatch was made with a single hour hand, seen here. It is estimated that the firm produced one hundred examples of this mode, in yellow and pink gold, and with two and three hands. Watches similar to the present example, in yellow gold and featuring two hands, made up perhaps just over half of the complete production run.
A similar example is illustrated in Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Watches, First Edition, p. 184.
We are grateful to Eric Tortella for his kind assistance in researching this piece.
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