Calatrava Reference 2508 At Christie’s Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary Auction
My guess is that if even if you are a fan of vintage Patek Philippe, and even if you have obsessively looked over the lots at the Christie’s auction taking place on November 9, you may have overlooked lot number 65, a Reference 2508 Calatrava.
This watch currently belongs to a young collector I know, a guy who stepped into the spotlight by starting his own blog – which, of course, has gone on to great acclaim, becoming an interesting place for other collectors and, particularly, other aspiring collectors, to learn about vintage watches, especially Patek Philippe and Rolex.
Certainly this blog has also contributed to the renaissance of the vintage and secondary markets for those – and some other – brands.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, of course I am talking about Benjamin Clymer and hodinkee.com.
Putting his money where his mouth is
Like our GaryG, Clymer puts his discretionary money where his mouth is (see Introducing Resident “Collector” GaryG for what I mean by this), actively searching out deals, steals and notable timepieces on the secondary and vintage markets and reporting on them.
Clymer knows what he likes and he has no problem going after watches he considers truly worthy of his attention. Thus, one day he found himself the proud owner of a Patek Philippe Reference 2508 Calatrava.
And not just any old example of this classic timepiece, but one that had previously been owned by veteran collector John Goldberger.
Goldberger, of course, is one of the rock stars of the vintage Patek Philippe and Rolex collecting scene, this year even taking part as a jury member on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. See New Jury And Categories At The 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for complete information.
You can see some of Goldberger’s collection in the video that Clymer and his team made (VIDEO: Talking Watches With John Goldberger). In fact, writes Clymer in the introduction to that video, “For the past 40 years, John Goldberger has surrounded himself with the kind of watches that I personally love, strive to understand and, when the stars align, seek to purchase.” More on Goldberger’s history can be found at his own website johngoldbergerwatches.com.
A Sportier Patek Philippe
Reference 2508 represents Patek Philippe’s first foray into water resistance in the Calatrava line. The company achieved it at this time by using a more solid case with screw-down case back, thicker lugs and an inner case back for protection against moisture and magnetism.
This particular, extremely well-preserved example of the sporty Reference 2508 has radium-filled hands, luminous 18-karat gold markers and a blued second hand against a cream-colored silver dial with hard enamel printing, which, according to Christie’s, has not aged or been altered and does not contain a single blemish of any sort.
Christie’s also confirms that both luminosity and blued second hands are exceedingly rare at Patek Philippe.
The 35 mm 18-karat gold case has neither a scratch nor a smudge, and it has never been polished. All of its components – such as the crown, crystal, and hands – are original. “The metal has taken on a beautiful rose gold color over time and the original bright blue hand is just fantastic,” says Clymer.
Reference 2508 was launched in 1951 and remained in production until 1960. Its sturdy case design, unusual for the era, sees that it remains popular in the collector scene despite its classic 35 mm size.
Manufactured in 1955, this example is powered by hand-wound Caliber 27 SC with swan-neck precision adjustment. The movement is stamped twice with the Seal of Geneva.
“The rarity, quality, and beauty of this piece are all truly world-class,” Clymer explained to me recently. “Which is why I decided to submit it for review to be included in this special thematic sale, celebrating arguably the most important period for this most important watch brand that I love so much.”
Scrupulously vetted and selected
“The 100 pieces presented for sale in this auction exemplify how Patek Philippe persisted true to its founders’ vision as an innovator and market leader from its earliest days to its more recent past,” says John Reardon, international head of Christie’s watch department and author of several books on Patek Philippe.
“These timepieces have been scrupulously vetted and selected for this sale, and include only the rarest, most sought-after, superlative timepieces representing Patek Philippe’s historic production.
This collection presents an immeasurable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs to view, learn about, and purchase a superlative timepiece. Each one is a true work of art that will forever be remembered as part of this sale and part of Patek Philippe’s unrivaled history.”
In other words, these 100 pieces vividly demonstrate the depth, breadth and history of the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva. They originate in the early nineteenth century and continue right up through the 1980s, with pre-sale estimates ranging from 1,000 to 1,600,000 Swiss francs. Of the 100 lots, 57 others aside from this Reference 2508 have never been seen at auction before.
This will likely be one of the most historically comprehensive selections of Patek Philippe timepieces ever seen in one place – barring the standing collection found in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
“I am very proud of this watch, and I hope it goes to a really great home that will enjoy it as much as I have,” Clymer says.
For information on Patek Philippe’s exciting new 175th anniversary timepiece releases please read Dawn On The Lake: Celebrating Patek Philippe’s Grandiose 175th Anniversary With Art And Collaboration and Patek Philippe’s 175th Anniversary Is A Swirl Of (Grandmaster) Flash And Emotion.
For a look at a few other timepieces in the November 9 auction, please take a look at 100 Ultra-Valuable, Incredibly Rare Patek Philippe Wristwatches To Auction In Celebration Of Anniversary.
Full details of this watch, including an extensive footnote, are found on Christie’s website: www.christies.com/lotfinder/watches/patek-philippe-a-fine-and-rare-18k-5836341-details.aspx.
Movement: hand-wound Caliber 27 SC, swan-neck fine adjustment, Seal of Geneva
Functions: hours, minutes, sweep seconds
Case: 18-karat yellow gold with a rose gold hue, 35 mm
Remarks: comes with Patek Philippe extract from the archives confirming production in 1955 and subsequent sale on March 21, 1956
Price estimate: 20,000 – 40,000 Swiss francs ($21,186 – $42,372)