Patek Philippe Triple Complication In Titanium Reference 5208T-010 Unique Piece For Only Watch 2017: The Real Thing
Since its launch in 2005, Only Watch has been one of the most – if not the most – significant auctions in the watch world. A biennial charity auction founded by Luc Pettavino, Only Watch is organized by the Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (MAAMD) under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Brands donate unique timepieces to be auctioned; the proceeds are used completely to help finance research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and life-threatening genetic disorder that affects around one in 3,500 boys, including Pettavino’s own son, who died of the disease in November 2016.
Patek Philippe is one of the 50 watch brands taking part in this year’s edition of Only Watch by Christie’s, which will be held in Geneva on November 11, 2017. And as connoisseurs and collectors may have expected, the brand’s generous Lot 12 is an ultra-complicated mechanical marvel: a Reference 5208T-010 triple complication in a titanium case, the only 5208T-010 ever to be housed in a titanium case.
We’re talking here about nothing less than a grand complication representing the paragon of horology: a minute repeater chiming the time on two gongs resides within the movement alongside an instantaneous perpetual calendar with three window displays and a sophisticated monopusher chronograph.
“So far so good,” you might think, as the Swiss manufacture founded in 1839 has treated us to a most impressive portfolio of complicated watches.
When it comes to Patek Philippe we are a little spoiled, since hardly another watchmaking firm has shown its particular brand of prowess for so long. Grand complications are part of its established collection; they are not simply one-off showpieces like those of many other haute horlogerie watch brands.
Patek Philippe: the undisputed world record holder at auctions
The almost unlimited array of Patek Philippe’s grand complication timepieces could fill entire books – which, in fact, they have. Boasting 33 complications, Caliber 89 was the world’s most complicated portable timepiece when it was presented in 1989.
Patek Philippe’s special exhibitions, such as the recently concluded The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition, are literally packed with milestone timepieces that testify how deeply the legendary brand has been involved in the highest spheres of haute horlogerie.
The superlatives string together like pearls to cover every aspect of watchmaking – from a technical viewpoint as well as an artistic one, including the excellent rare handicrafts the manufacture is likewise dedicated to.
The external aesthetics of each and every Patek Philippe timepiece reflect the inner beauty of its intricate mechanical workings.
The perfect harmony of both elements is one reason behind Patek Philippe’s record-holding run at auction. Whenever a fresh vintage timepiece hits the market, it is sure to start a bidding war among relentlessly battling collectors the world over.
The most recent record was set by a stainless steel Reference 1518 perpetual calendar wristwatch from 1943 that hammered for more than $11 million (CHF 11,002,000) in November 2016, making it the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at an auction.
Considering that the admittedly rare watch was “only” clad in stainless steel reflects the unique reputation Patek Philippe enjoys in elite collector circles.
Dressed for success: a Patek Philippe in titanium
Coming back to Patek Philippe’s contribution to Only Watch 2017, a variation on the Reference 5208 Triple Complication first launched in 2011, the sophisticated nature of the watch might be less surprising than its case material, which is titanium.
Yes, you read that correctly: it is encased in titanium!
A metal so rarely used to house a Patek Philippe that you could truthfully say “almost never,” titanium stands out as the material defining this timepiece. And although the sporty alloy excels in terms of strength, toughness, and being ultra lightweight, it is hardly usually Patek Philippe’s first choice for encasing a precious timepiece.
The extreme rarity of the use of titanium at Patek Philippe is likely to raise bidders’ desire to own this timepiece, thereby increasing not only suspense during the bidding process but, most importantly at a charity auction with one-off pieces on offer, the pecuniary outcome.
So it seems like a pretty smart strategy from Patek Philippe, who has participated in Only Watch three times thus far, not to house the timepiece in precious platinum or gold but instead in the (for the brand) rarely used titanium.
Also underscoring its uncommon nature is the fact that 701-component Caliber R CH 27 PS QI is one of the Patek Philippe’s few automatic grand complication movements.
In addition, the lucky owner of this timepiece will also get to meet with Thierry Stern, the blue-chip company’s president, and be treated with a visit to the Patek Philippe workshops and museum.
Let’s be honest, which watch enthusiast would not love to have lunch with the very pleasant and down-to-earth Thierry Stern in addition to being exclusively guided through the “most holy place of horology”?
That’s why Lot 12 is as safe of the Bank of England in terms of the expected result: it has the highest estimate of all 50 unique timepieces on offer and will certainly perform extremely well, especially if the 2015 edition of Only Watch is anything to go by (see You Are There: Attending The Only Watch Auction 2015 With Patek Philippe).
In fact, its results will probably skyrocket on November 11, 2017.
In addition to all the factors just mentioned, this triple complication watch is just breathtakingly beautiful!
Its outstandingly detailed, intense blue dial is enlivened with a striking hand-guilloché carbon fiber pattern, which lends the watch a notably fresh and almost sporty look.
The distinctive decoration is repeated on the platinum micro rotor of Caliber R CH 27 PS QI, a movement that has been plated with black rhodium, continuing the watch’s unlikely sporty theme. Intricately finished and executed, it represents haute horlogerie at its very best!
From the indexes to the hands and subdials – and not to forget the romantic moon phase – it is a perfectly balanced horological ensemble.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/grand-complications/5208P-001 and/or www.onlywatch.com/the-watches/patek-philippe.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Reference 5208T-010 Unique Piece for Only Watch 2017
Case: 42 x 15.11 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber R CH 27 PS QI, black rhodium plated, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency; power reserve 50 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds: minute repeater; chronograph; instantaneous perpetual calendar with day/night indication, day, date, month, leap year, and moon phase
Limitation: one unique piece
Estimate: €822,000 – €1,004,000 / $932,000 – $1,139,000 / 900,000 – 1,100,000 Swiss francs
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Exquisite piece indeed !