Important Watches: Part I

Important Watches: Part I

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 15. 'The Clarin Mustad', Reference 1518R | A unique pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and bracelet | Made in 1944.

Patek Philippe

'The Clarin Mustad', Reference 1518R | A unique pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and bracelet | Made in 1944

Auction Closed

November 5, 12:07 PM GMT


2,000,000 - 4,000,000 CHF

Lot Details


Patek Philippe

'The Clarin Mustad', Reference 1518R

A unique pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and bracelet 

Made in 1944

Dial: pink, French calendar 

Calibre: cal. 13 130 Q manual winding, 23 jewels

Movement number: 863'371

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

Case number: 636'292

Closure: 18k pink gold integrated Patek Philippe bracelet and locking claps 

Size: 34.7 mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 185 mm

Signed: case, dial and movement 

Box: no

Papers: no

Accessories: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming date of manufacture in 1944, date of sale on November 30, 1944 and Tortella & Sons study book

Patek Philippe’s entire lineage of perpetual calendar chronographs starts with the reference 1518 launched in 1941, amidst World War II at the Swiss Watch Fair in Basel. The reference was not only Patek Philippe’s first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, but the first of its kind from any brand, earning the reference its well-deserved place in horological history and setting the standard of haute horology for the decades to come. The reference was a pivotal model for the firm and played a significant role in their development of complicated wristwatches and led to their unbroken dominance in the Industry.

In accordance with period tastes, Patek Philippe cased the majority of the 281 total examples of the reference in yellow gold, while only 58 examples believed to have been cased in pink gold. Of these 58 examples, an exceedingly scarce few were configured like the current example. When cased in pink gold, the reference was most commonly fitted with silvered dials, with only a select few wearing matching pink dials. The end result of this subtle adjustment is a warm attractive aesthetic, unique to this variant. To date, the market has seen only 14 of these ‘pink on pink’ examples.

As might be expected, the reference 1518's significance and renown was not lost on collectors throughout history, with the world’s most important collectors as owners including Henry Graves Jr and celebrities such as Sugar Ray Robinson. The references association with royalty has been well established too, with owners including the former ruler of Romania, King Michael I, the King of Jordan, and Egypt’s penultimate ruler King Farouk I.

The present watch features several design elements that are unique to this example. It is the only known 1518 with "Empire" case, integral bracelet, and pink dial with applied dot hour markers, pink day and month calendar discs and baton hands.

The variations mentioned above each characterize the watch's distinctive nature in nearly every aspect. The dial design flows harmoniously from the pink background of the dial plate united with the subtle dot numerals to the pink calendar window discs. The baton hands continue the elegant lines of the dial. Baton hands are unknown in any other reference 1518. The dial, made by Stern Frères, was likely a special order given that standard 1518 dials during this period were designed with applied Arabic numerals.

The subtleties are further echoed by the enhanced bezel design of this example. The bezel features a larger opening for the crystal, which provides optimal dial visibility. From the profile the bezel is distinctly different from the standard reference 1518. The watch face appears bigger than any other 1518 allowing an optimal appreciation of this timepiece.

The typical reference 1518 case is constructed as one piece, forged with lugs. By contrast, the present lot is designed as an "Empire" case that is to say specifically without lugs, for the express purpose of an integrated bracelet. This consideration ties together the tailor-made nature of this watch, reinforcing the fact that it is the only known 1518 to have been made in this style.

The watch was presented to Norwegian car industry pioneer Clarin Mustad in Montreux in 1944. Hans Clarin Hovind Mustad (1871-1948) was a successful Norwegian businessman. He became co-owner of his father's business, O. Mustad & Son, with his four brothers in 1905. In 1918 it was the largest industrial company in Norway with several factories abroad. Clarin Mustad was also involved in the emerging car industry. He is credited with inventing an ignition whereby the driver could start his car from his driver's seat. This was a revolutionary concept at the time as it replaced the use of an external handle to start the car's engine. The system he invented is still in use today in every motor vehicle.

The inside of the case back is engraved ‘Mustad Clarin c/o Benoit SA CH-1820 Montreux Reward-Recompense. We believe that this inscription was put there by the owner after the purchase of his watch, so that, in case of loss, people would be able to return it. It is a clear sign of the importance of this timepiece to its original owner.

It is only rarely that timepieces of such importance appear on the market. This very example of the reference 1518, being the only one of its kind, is a unique opportunity to acquire the Holy Grail of watch.

We wish to thank Eric and Gabriel Tortella for the in-depth research they have provided for this unique example in the history of the reference 1518.