Important Watches: Part I

Important Watches: Part I

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 57. World Time, Reference 5110G A white gold world time wristwatch with prototype dial Circa 2003.

Patek Philippe

World Time, Reference 5110G A white gold world time wristwatch with prototype dial Circa 2003

Auction Closed

November 5, 12:07 PM GMT


40,000 - 80,000 CHF

Lot Details


Patek Philippe

World Time, Reference 5110G

A white gold world time wristwatch with prototype dial

Circa 2003

Dial: two-tone white/off-white

Calibre: cal. 240 HU automatic, 33 jewels

Movement number: 3'212'260

Case: 18k white gold, sapphire crystal display screw-down back

Case number: 4'209'723

Closure: 18k Patek Philippe white gold folding clasp

Size: 38.5 mm diameter

Signed: case, dial and movement

Box: yes

Papers: no

Accessories: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the date of sale on November 6th 2003, additional guilloché dial and presentation case

Please note the leather strap derived from endangered species is for display purposes only and is not sold with the watch. The watch will be shipped with a Sotheby’s branded calf leather strap.

Please note that the condition report has been amended.

The ingenious “Heure Universelle (World Time)” mechanism was invented by master watchmaker Louis Cottier (1894-1966) in 1931.

As an independent watchmaker, Louis Cottier opened his own workshop in Carouge and made this complication for famous manufacturers such as Agassiz, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin.

However, this complication is closely associated with Patek Philippe and it has become part of the very DNA of the Manufacture.

Each of the World Time references Patek Philippe has been producing since the early 1930’s has become highly collectible. After the legendary 2523 launched in 1953, Patek Philippe reintroduced the complication in 2000 with the Reference 5110. The new model was fitted with a pusher, replacing the second crown while retaining many of the iconic details of the 2523 including the listing of 24 cities, one in each time zone along the outer ring on the dial. Just a simple click of the pusher at 10 o'clock, enables the change of time zone, advancing the hour hand by one hour, the city and the 24 hour discs to move one increment counter clockwise.

The Reference 5110 was only produced for six years, until 2006. It has since then gained a well-deserved recognition of the collectors and becomes more sought-after every day.

This example is one of the most important examples that has ever surfaced on the market.

Indeed, this white gold timepiece is fitted with a prototype dial. These dials hardly ever come up on the market, especially on complicated timepieces. The dial belonged to a watchmaker who worked at Patek Philippe in the 1980’s until the 2000’s and who was dedicated to developing complicated movements, including for the 5110.

They originally wanted to fit the 5110 with a smooth dial, as it is the case with the present example. Unfortunately, they quickly realized that this surface was too fragile and did not resist to the use of the watch and complication. Therefore, the idea did not pass the prototype stage and the commercialized guilloche version was, until today, the only publicly known version.

The smooth white prototype dial brings an entire new appearance to the piece. It gives it a sportier, more dynamic and contemporary identity. At the same time, it reminds the single colour enamel central disc found on some Reference 2523. Creating links to the past and the future, it is a perfect timeless watch. Furthermore, one will notice the subtle contrast between the white center part and the slightly more cream and light pink disc of the cities. These two tones go harmoniously together and create a most attractive effect, further enhanced by the white gold case.

This possibly unique, previously unknown, most striking and historically important example of one of the signature complications produced by Patek Philippe would be a serious addition to the collection of a distinctive enthusiast.