Patek Philippe Record Breaking Chronograph
1943 Perpetual Chronograph Sold For $5.6 Million
[37.6 mm: Reference 1527]
Christie's sold this stunningly beautiful chronograph on May 10, 2010 for a record setting $5.6 Million. This is a most unusual Patek Philippe with a fascinating history, or lack thereof–depending on how you look at it.
There is something very strange and unusual about this watch. According to the provenance, it just kind of showed-up from out of nowhere, and it was recorded as being last seen at auction 20 years ago.
According to the Patek Philippe's exhaustive research, this watch was made in 1943 and completed in 1944, and originally sold on August 22, 1946. This watch is bizarre in so many ways. First and foremost, it is perplexing to understand it was designed and built in Switzerland during World War II.
In other words, this watch was completed while Adolf Hitler was still alive and running Nazi Germany, and tucked away in Switzerland there was some master Patek Philippe watchmaker engineering this magnificent and timeless beauty.
Out Of Time
If anybody else but Patek Philippe confirmed the design and build date of this watch I would not believe them. This watch is considered to be one-of-a-kind, and thus it is perhaps a prototype or a custom-watch. It almost appears that somebody in 1943 had a time machine and went 10 years into the future and saw this design and brought it back in time. Somehow the ultra-timeless nature of this design does not jibe!!!
It is hard to imagine, but apparently, somehow, some-way, somebody in 1943 designed this modern masterpiece, and years later it became popular. This watch just does not look like it is from 1943, and yet somehow it is!?! It is so modern and timeless, that if you wore it today, it would look superb.
I guess it all makes sense in some ways–kinda like Cary Grant's style in the 1950s. In other words, if Cary Grant from 1955 got in a time machine and landed in New York in 2011, he would not look out of place in any way. Call it timeless elegance or whatever you like.
How could this 68 year old wristwatch possible be worth $5.6 Million!?! I think its valuation is based upon the crazy-amazing timeless design aesthetic this watch possesses. In other words, I think its value is based upon the fact this watch is so bold and stunning and timeless at the same time. Imagine driving around today in any car from 1943 and you would look silly, or certainly out of place, but put on this watch and it would look like you bought it yesterday!!!
This watch is surrounded by mystery and it is so hard to believe it was designed and made in 1943. It stands testament to the notion that elegance knows no pain.