Buying Time: Manual Wind Chronographs from Patek, Journe, Omega and Chopard

FP Journe Centigraphe - for sale Govberg via Perpetuelle

Welcome to this week’s edition of Buying Time.  This week, I have selected four great pre-owned watches that are all manual wind chronographs.  Due to the intricate mechanics required for operation, manual wind chronograph calibers are arguably some of the most beautiful and intriguing calibers out there, especially at the high end.  My list spans a broad price range this week, but mostly focused on the pricier stuff.  I will start things off with an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 11, then we’ll climb the ladder to a special edition Chopard L.U.C 1963 chronograph that I absolutely love and I think is a great buy for the money.  After this, we’ll really step it up with two incredible watches:  the F.P. Journe Centigraphe, and a Patek Philippe 5170J chronograph.  The great thing about a top notch shop like Govberg Jewelers (our partner in this weekly pre-owned curation) is the quality of pieces that come their way — these last two pieces certainly aren’t watches that come onto the secondary market very often, so you should give them serious consideration if you are in the market.  Now let’s get into it!

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A Look At Patek Philippe’s Super “London Limited Editions” for 2015

Patek Ladies 7200R-0110 time only and 7000R-011 minute repeater for London 2015 - Perpetuelle

The Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition in London recently brought to a close the Patek Philippe 175th anniversary celebrations which started on May 1st 2014.   As part of the celebration, Patek Philippe unveiled a collection of limited edition timepieces specifically for the Bond Street boutique which is, by the way, one of only three boutiques exclusively owned and operated by Patek Philippe (Geneva, London & Paris).   The London event incorporated the commemorative timepieces which were presented to the world last year in October (headlined by the $2.5 million Grandmaster Chime that we photographed at the NYC celebration and other superlative pieces like the Patek 5975 multiscale chronograph that we reviewed hands-on a few months ago), as well as an impressive range of “London limited editions” spanning the complication spectrum.  Most of these pieces are variants of existing models, distinguished only by an engraved “London 2015″ logo on the caseback; others, such as the enamel dials with London theme, are obviously special and very spectacular productions.

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Buying Time: Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Watches

Patek Philippe 5960P annual calendar hands on - Govberg - Perpetuelle

Welcome to “Buying Time”, a new series here on Perpetuelle.  Buying Time is created in collaboration with Govberg Jewelers, one of America’s preeminent watch and jewelry retailers and creator of the OnTime watch app.  It is a thematic selection of compelling pieces curated from Govberg’s prodigious inventory of pre-owned watches.  With so many great watches out there, it can be hard to sort through “what’s what” and what’s worth your hard earned dollars.  But as important as “what” to buy, perhaps, is “why.”  And that’s where Buying Time hopes to be of assistance.  With this weekly series, the goal is to not merely present a selection of watches for sale, but to put forth a set of watches that share a common thread, and to share a bit more depth and knowledge around each particular piece or theme.

Which brings me to today, and the inaugural Buying Time theme:  Patek Philippe annual calendar watches.  I have a put together a selection of Patek annual calendars to tempt you — but first, some background.

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A Rare Patek Philippe Ref 1518 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Going Up at Auction

Patek Philippe Ref 1518 vintage angleview - Perpetuelle

What an amazing watch.  This beautifully aged Patek Philippe Ref 1518 in 35mm yellow gold case is up for auction one week from today at Christie’s Important Watches auction in New York.    The Patek Ref 1518 was the first perpetual calendar chronograph to be manufactured in series by any firm worldwide.  It was produced by Patek Philippe from 1941 until approximately 1954, with a total of only 281 examples being produced.   The model was later replaced by the reference 2499 (yes, like the platinum 2499 that Eric Clapton used to own and which sold for $3.6 million).  Though Patek 2499’s carry stronger results in the auction market, for me the 1518 is a better looking, more well proportioned watch I prefer it to the 2499.

Patek Philippe Ref 1518 vintage - Perpetuelle

The Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives for this particular model confirms production in 1951 and original sale on October 22, 1953.  It was last seen at auction in 1987.  A distinguishing feature of this watch is the outer tachometer is calibrated for miles, rather than the more common metric tachometer.  The day and month indicators are also in English.  The full crisp lugs and short signature on the beautifully aging dial make this an extremely desirable watch for the discerning collector.   The inside of the case back is stamped Poinçon de Maître key 9, which is also known as a Collective Responsibility Mark which is codified in Swiss law (don’t ask me why!); the stamp indicates the case was made by Emile Vichet S.A. in Geneva, a firm known for crafting very thin cases, and the cases for other complicated Patek Philippe watches.

This superb Patek Philippe 1518 carries a pre-auction estimate of $200,000 – $400,000.