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Patek Philippe

Reference 533, 'The General'| A yellow gold chronograph wristwatch | Circa 1937

Lot Closed

February 8, 02:04 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details


Patek Philippe

'The General', Reference 533

An iconic, rare and historically important yellow gold chronograph

Circa 1937

Dial: silvered sector

Calibre: cal. 13’’’ manual winding, 23 jewels

Movement number: 860'506

Case: 18k yellow gold, snap-on case back

Case number: 616'006

Size: 33 mm diameter

Signed: case, dial and movement 

Box: no

Papers: no

Accessories: Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin, photocopy of original owner's service record from the Department of Defense, Pentagon Dossier portraits of North, double portrait in which North appears seated with Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sotheby’s Watches is proud to offer an iconic, rare and historically important Patek Philippe Chronograph, which was worn on the wrist of Major General Thomas North during his service in the Second World War. In addition, the watch is being offered by the family of the original owner.

In 1939 North took part in a 'Good Will' tour to Brazil, followed by a tour of the US. Captain Thomas North and his detachment escorted the Brazilian Chief of Staff (General Pedro Aurelio de Góis Monteiro) and General George C. Marshall, around the country, after which North was gifted the present watch by General Góis Monteiro.

This Reference 533 in yellow gold with a '4 Ring' second series sector dial is accompanied by original Pentagon Dossier portraits of North as well as a double portrait in which North appears seated with another US Army General. It is further accompanied by his service record from the Department of Defense and a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives denoting the case and movement number.

Reference 533 was produced from 1937 to 1957 and was very similar to Reference 130 aside from its flat coin-like bezel. Patek Philippe only produced around 350 examples of Reference 533 across three metals – 215 pink, 125 yellow and 10 steel– with the rarer gold case unusually being yellow gold. The cases were produced by the Geneva case maker Emile Vichet and the dials were made by Stern Frères. The addition of a sector dial places the watch in a much smaller category of rarity as it is believed that only 12 sector dial 533’s were produced and only 6 of them have returned to market.

North was a veteran of the battle of the Somme in the First World War as part of the 11th Engineers and a General of Artillery during the Second World War. Given the unique and heavily documented provenance of the piece and the level to which the dial is preserved, the present watch is without doubt one of the most interesting examples to ever come to market.