Exemplifying the white hot collectors market right now, a superb example of a second series pink gold Patek Philipee Reference 2499 sold at the Christie’s “Important Watches” sale this week in Geneva for a cool $2.2 million, well beyond pre-sale estimates. This was the headline piece of the sale, outselling a rare Patek Ref 1563 which sold for a whopping $1.57 million. To many elite collectors of vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches, reference 2499 represents the pinnacle, beautifully combining aesthetics, complications, and rarity. Indeed, a Patek reference 2499 cased in platinum and formerly owned by Eric Clapton sold at this same sale last year year for $3.6 million. Even without the star power of someone like Clapton behind it, it quite simply does not get any better than this pink gold 2499.
According to Christie’s, ” many of the world’s most important watch collection do not include a rose gold example of reference 2499 due to its limited availability.” During the last decade, Christie’s Geneva has offered three outstanding examples of Patek Philippe 2499 reference second series in rose gold (see “Did You Know” below for more on the 2499).
As you can see above, the dial is a work-of-art unto itself. In the assessment of Christies experts, the dial has never been cleaned since its manufacture and is in absolutely untouched original condition. Most importantly however, is the smooth and warm ivory-colored patina that the watch has taken on over the years — lending the watch just the right touch of vintage.
And if you look closely, you will notice that, interestingly, the outer tachometer scale and inner ring calibrated for the 1/5 seconds have kept more of the original off-white tone. This is most likely due to the vicinity of the bezel and convex edge of the crystal, preventing over exposure to light during its life.
Did You Know?
Over a period of 35 years, the Patek reference 2499 was made in four series in a total production of only 349 pieces, the majority cased in yellow gold. Thus the rarity of the pink gold model becomes evident when one realizes that an annual average of only 9 watches left Patek Philippe’s workbench.
Reference 2499 is generally divided into the following four series:
– first series: square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachymetre scale
– second series (such as the present watch): round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachymetre scale
– third series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions
– fourth series: round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal