View full screen - View 1 of Lot 77. 'Les Armes de Paris', A rare pink gold wristwatch with a cloisonné enamel dial, Made in 1949  百達翡麗  Les Armes de Paris 罕有粉紅金腕錶配掐絲琺瑯錶盤,1949年製.

Patek Philippe

'Les Armes de Paris', A rare pink gold wristwatch with a cloisonné enamel dial, Made in 1949 百達翡麗 Les Armes de Paris 罕有粉紅金腕錶配掐絲琺瑯錶盤,1949年製

Auction Closed

December 9, 06:15 PM GMT


50,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


'Les Armes de Paris'

A rare pink gold wristwatch with a cloisonné enamel dial, Made in 1949

Dial: polychrome cloisonné enamel dial depicting a boat tossing amidst a stormy sea, with applied gold dot and Roman numerals

Caliber: cal. 12-120 mechanical, 18 jewels

Movement Number: 963’876

Case: 18k pink gold, snap on case back

Size: 37 mm diameter

Signed: dial and movement 

Box: no

Papers: no

Accessories: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the date of sale on July 11, 1949, and that the movement sold without a case

The fine polychrome cloisonné enamel dial depicts the coat of arms of Paris and is attributed to Marquerite Koch, one of Geneva's most renowned enamellers. 

Under the employ of Stern Frères, Koch was most well known for classical subjects and has created iconic dials such as the map of North America on a white gold World Time wristwatch. For a comprehensive view of her work, see Huber, M., & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Vol. II, Second Edition, pp. 143-144, 206 and 242.

The Parisian coat of arms depicts an Egyptian ship at sea amidst a storm. Vibrant red enamel sails are set against a cacophony of blue hues. The emblem is still found on official monuments and buildings throughout the French capital. Befitting this emblem, the city's official motto is 'Fluctuat nec mergitur', translated from Latin to 'Tossed but not submerged.'

Patek Philippe wristwatches with cloisonné enamel dials are widely sought-after. Fully enameled dial plates such as this example are considered the most desirable among collectors. While many cloisonné enamel dials were fitted with decorative center fields, the present lot offers an expansive full plate depiction.

A similar Patek Philippe timepiece, No. 963880, was sold at Sotheby's Geneva 9 May 1989, lot 143. That example was offered by the original owner, a Frenchman who purchased it in Paris at Guillermin, Patek Philippe's most important French retailer and agent, whose store in Place Vendôme is now the Patek Philippe boutique. Similarly, that piece was cased in France, had an identical signature to the dial and its movement number was close to that of the present example.

French-cased Patek Philippe watches were common during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The French government, reacting to its fragile post-war economy, placed importation restrictions on precious metals in jewelry and watches. Given these constraints, Patek Philippe worked closely with French firms, such as Guillermin, providing the movements under the agreement that Patek Philippe's standards would be upheld at a level suitable to bear the firm's signature.

The denotation 'Fab. Suisse', seen at the top of the dial of the present lot, became all the more important at this time, given the French market's unabated appetite for Swiss-made pieces. Due to these circumstances, at the time of its sale, this watch was simply marketed as a Patek Philippe watch, rather than a Patek Philippe movement with a French case. 

The close relationship between Patek Philippe and Guillermin is illustrated by the similarity between the case of the present lot and that of lot 137 from Sotheby's New York, 28 April 2009, which had a cloisonné enamel floral dial. The French case maker likely modeled the present case to the specifications for Ref. 2494.

The present lot was first introduced to the market at Sotheby's NY October 2009, Important Watches, Clocks and Automata, Lot 125.