Industry / Watches

Most Valuable Known Patek Philippe Watch Goes To Auction


Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, announced today that it will put the earliest-made model of a very rare Patek Philippe watch—a yellow gold reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial, representing the Eurasian landmass—up for auction at the Geneva Watch Auction: XIII May 8–9. The watch is valued at approximately 3.5 million Swiss francs ($3.73 million).

Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Bacs & Russo, said the watch was “truly the end game for many collectors” and explained in a statement, “Arguably, it is difficult to find a more abused term in the world of watch collecting, but this is the one instance where the word can be used with its original undiluted meaning: The present watch is, simply put, one of the most sought-after, unobtainable, attractive, and fabled timepieces in the world. The only parallel in terms of pure watchmaking importance in the realm of wristwatches—without considering watches with provenance—can possibly be found in a stainless steel Patek Philippe reference 1518.”

The watch to be auctioned wasn’t known to exist until recently (it was discovered in “an important European collection,” according to the same statement), which makes its unearthing even more exciting. It’s also in immaculate condition, with a polychrome cloisonné enamel dial rendered in marine blue, gold, green, and turquoise.

There are only eleven known reference 2523s with cloisonné enamel dials—five feature North America, three South America, and three Eurasia. One of the other two models featuring the European and Asian continents resides in the Patek Philippe museum, and the third is privately owned.

Reference 2523 was first launched in 1953 and features a 36 mm case (which was oversize for the time), with two crowns and a city ring, “which is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel,” according to Phillips. It’s been close to two decades since the last reference 2523 with Eurasian map was on the market, and the present watch will likely be the last we see auctioned for a long time.

Top: The Patek Philippe yellow gold reference 2523 watch with cloisonné enamel dial (photo courtesy of Phillips and Bacs & Russo)

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By: Emili Vesilind

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