The 5 Sides of an Amazing 1949 Patek Philippe

Launch Slideshow

An achievement of craftsmanship, engineering and artistry, the appearance on the market of this Patek Philippe Ref. 1415 Heures Universelles is momentous. Only two exist with a map of Eurasia, and it has been more than fifteen years since one has last been available for purchase. Its technical and aesthetic merits surpass every example in its category, and as a period advertisement for the watch noted, “For men with international interests, it is indispensable.” Click ahead to take a closer look at what makes this exceptional timepiece so coveted.  

Important Watches
8 June | New York

The 5 Sides of an Amazing 1949 Patek Philippe

  • Mark of Precision
    The underside of the dial is clearly stamped with the movement number for this watch, 964808, which indicates a high level of precision, as each part was matched together in the Patek Philippe atelier before its original sale. 

  • Enamel Dial
    The Ref. 1415 was first launched in 1939, and it was not until 1948 that the first enamel dials appeared for this model. It is estimated that the small number created were produced only for five years. This feature was fitted to less than one-quarter of the examples created in total, with esteemed enamellers Nelly Richard and Marguerite Koch being commissioned for the work.

  • World Time
    The world time mechanism is one of the greatest successes of watchmaking. The ‘Heures Universelles’ function of Ref. 1415 operates via the rotating bezel. When the bezel is rotated so that the home city is at the 12 o’clock position, and the watch is set to the local time zone, the 24-hour indication adjusts automatically so that one can see the current time in 41 world cities.

  • Complication
    Reacting to the realities of the Great Depression, Louis Cottier saw a niche in high-end watchmaking and focused his talents on the development of complicated watches. Foremost among these innovations was his development of the world time mechanism in the 1930s. This invention would inspire some of the most iconic Patek Philippe complications. Because the case, dial and movement of the Ref. 1415 are all integral to the technical function of the watch, Cottier supervised the production of each element. 

  • GMT
    It is interesting to note that the present example, like many of Cottier’s inventions, lists London and Paris on the same time zone, Greenwich Mean Time. On 15 June, 1940, Paris converted to Central European time due to the war. For many years, it was thought that Paris would eventually revert back to GMT, and there are Patek Philippe ‘Heures Universelles’ watches and wristwatches from as late as the 1970s that still list Paris and London on the same time zone.