Patek Philippe 2523 Eurasia

Christie’s presents the Patek Philippe 2523 Eurasia

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The curtain is about to open on Act III of one of the great stories of recent horological history: on May 26th, Christie’s Hong Kong Live Auction will present the Patek Philippe 18K Yellow Gold Dual-Crown World Time Wristwatch Ref.2523, with a polychrome cloisonné enamel dial depicting the map of Eurasia. A masterpiece of watchmaking prowess and aesthetic beauty, this extremely rare timepiece in excellent condition – one of three known to exist – is set to captivate collectors (est. HK$ 39,000,000-78,000,000 – USD 4.9 million-9.9million – EUR 4.6 million-9.2 million).

Patek Philippe 2523 Eurasia
Yours is the world: The Patek Philippe Ref.2523, an exceptional and highly important 18K Gold Dual-Crown World Time wristwatch with 24-Hour indication and cloisonné enamel dial depicting the map of Eurasia. Circa 1953. (Est. HK$ 39 million-78 million – US$ 4.9 million-9.9million – EUR 4.6 million-9.2 million)

A crescendo in modern auction history

Act I: The year is 2019. Just two weeks after the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime in steel set the record for the most expensive watch ever when it sold for US$31m at Christie’s in Geneva, the auction house set a new record for the most expensive watch sold in Asia, previously also held by a Patek Philippe.

The watch: the Patek Philippe ‘L’Heure Bleue’, a one-of-a-kind ref. 2523 ‘Heures Universelles’ Dual-Crown World Time in rose gold with a blue enamel dial, double-signed ‘Gobbi Milano’ and dated circa 1953. It went for HK$70.175m including fees, equivalent to US$8.97m – a tidy outcome for the seller, a noted Asian collector who had purchased the watch in 2010 at Christie’s in Geneva for 2.675m Swiss francs.

How it changed hands is a story in itself. One of only two known with a blue enamel dial, this particular ref. 2523 was listed under The Masterpiece Auction held in November of that year. However, it was actually offered as the first lot at 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale held by Christie’s Hong Kong just a few days prior, a testament to the watch’s stature as a work of horological art.

Act II: In May of 2023, the second ref. 2523, this one from 1955 in yellow gold with a cloisonné dial showing the North American continent broke the record for the reference when it reached HK$66,625,000 / US$8,546,282 at Christie’s Hong Kong’s 20th-21st Century Art Evening Sale. The watch was last auctioned in 2012, when it fetched CHF 2.8m (US$3m) at Christie’s in Geneva .

Patek Philippe 2523 Eurasia

Act III: A pristine rarity unveiled

May 26th, 2024 –This day will see probably the most exceptional watch – be it in terms of historical significance, prestige or rarity – to be presented at auction this season. More than that, the third Patek Philippe ref. 2523, this one in yellow gold and featuring a map of Eurasia rendered in cloisonné enamel, presented in Hong Kong is most probably the best-preserved exemplar of all three. It also dazzles aesthetically – violet, turquoise, jaune, dark blue, green, the breadth and vibrancy of its color palette is simply breathtaking.

The world time dial, made circa 1952 by Stern Frères, features the names of 41 cities in French and showcases a cloisonné enamel map attributed to Marguerite Koch, representing the pinnacle of the time’s artisan handcrafts. Every cloisonné enamel dial, even those of identical pattern or theme are unique works of art, differing from one another because the enamel artist created each dial by eye and the enamel colors can also differ in tone due to the slight variations in temperature during firing, for instance some blues are more sparkling and yellows more intense.

Crafted between 1954-55 by Antoine Gerlach, the exceptionally well-preserved case impresses not only the connoisseur but also the novice. It houses the Caliber 12 400 HU, a pinnacle of timekeeping precision and aesthetic grace. Sensationally well-preserved with clear hallmarks, the lugs maintain fantastically well-defined edges. The two crowns, made of solid 18k gold by Boninchi Frères, are original.

Patek Philippe 2523 Eurasia

One of three, and a first in over two decades

Appearing in the auction world for the first time in over two decades, this awe-inspiring Patek Philippe wristwatch is one of only three examples known to still exist today.

Its cloisonné dial is one of the ultimate world-class rarities, alongside the other Patek Philippe wristwatch legends such as the Steel reference 1518 and the Pink Gold series 2499. Combining the highest degree of exceptional condition along with the beauty of Grand Feu enamel artistry and the confident simplicity of 1950s design, this may well represent the only chance, for decades to come, to acquire one of these elusive masterworks from the Golden Age of Patek Philippe wristwatches.

Alexandre Bigler, Senior Vice-President & Head of Watches, Christie’s Asia Pacific: “The Christie’s Hong Kong live sale on May 26th will showcase over 200 lots, ranging from ideal collection starters to the rarest finds that captivate even the most experienced collectors. This meticulously selected array of contemporary and vintage timepieces reflects the vibrant dynamics of today’s watch market. Among the highlights is the exceptional Patek Philippe ref. 2523 in yellow gold, featuring a cloisonné dial that beautifully maps Eurasia—a masterpiece seldom seen at auction. The unparalleled rarity, pristine condition, and captivating color play of this timepiece showcase the unique allure of enamel artistry. It represents a coveted dream for discerning collectors—a chance to acquire a pinnacle of watchmaking excellence. This event offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only witness but possibly own a piece of horological history.

As ‘Watches Online: The Hong Kong Edit (27 March-9 April) reaches its conclusion, Christie’s reaffirms its commitment to showcasing the global watch market’s dynamism and depth, particularly in the region. The online and live auctions held here not only emphasize Hong Kong’s role as a pivotal marketplace for horological gems but also its position as a leading platform for an expanding community of aficionados and collectors.

With a blend of unparalleled craftsmanship and historical fascination, this auction not only promises an exclusive opportunity to own a piece of horological legend but also invites connoisseurs and collectors alike to become a part of a story that continues to enchant and inspire across generations. Join us at Christie’s Hong Kong on 26 May 2024 for a chance to witness history in the making and perhaps, to claim a piece of it for your own collection.

Please Note:
The Patek Philippe ref 2523 ‘Heures Universelles’ will be on display, together with highlights destined for the Live Sale on 26 May, at Christie’s Hong Kong. Preview: 4-7 April 2024

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