Along with Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe is considered to form part of the uppermost echelon of watchmaking. The company in its original form was set up in 1839. Unlike many watch companies, it has been manufacturing consistently since its genesis, with no hiatus due to the quartz crisis of the 1970s, or any of the other industry challenges. The company holds the title of having the highest price ever achieved at auction for both a wristwatch, and pocket watch, at $31.19m and $24m respectively. They design and manufacture both internal and external components in-house and the quality of both is regarded extremely highly, by the industry and collectors alike.
Along with the Rolex Daytona and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautlius is one of the most desired watches today. The Nautilus, said to take inspiration from a ship’s porthole, was first released in 1976. It joined the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in inhabiting a new category of watches that emerged that decade – the ‘luxury sports watch.’ These timepieces were often just as, if not more, expensive than gold examples by the same companies. They have also now become the most desirable wristwatches on the pre-owned market today.
Patek’s Nautilus may be a poster boy for the company currently but its worthy challenger comes in the form of the many Complicated watches that the company has been known for from the beginning. One such watch is the 5146; often referred to as a versatile watch, it is not too dressy nor is it too sporty or casual. It is of course a Complicated watch in the technical sense of the word – an annual calendar is no simple mechanical thing. It tells the time of course, but in addition it displays the day, date, month and moon phase. The original annual calendar wristwatch by Patek is the 5135. First released in 1996, it was in fact the first annual calendar wrist watch ever, perhaps surprising given that its more complicated sibling, the perpetual calendar, has been around since the 1920s. The perpetual calendar displays everything that the annual one does but automatically takes into account the leap year cycle. The annual calendar has to be adjusted manually to show the correct date at the end of February. The annual calendar watch was seen as a more accessible complicated timepiece for buyers, in comparison to the perpetual calendar.
In the Watches auction on 7th December we are pleased to present lot 260, a white gold annual calendar 5146 wristwatch, the property of a private individual.
Lyon & Turnbull’s Watch Auctions department is a dynamic one with significant expertise, hosting diverse watch auctions across the U.K. featuring fine, rare, modern and vintage timepieces. Highlights from recent auctions include a rare Rolex Daytona 6263 that sold for £62,500 in October 2021 and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that achieved £106,250 (incl premium).
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