Not one, but two incredibly rare rose gold wristwatches from Patek Philippe are set to hit the auction block at Sotheby’s this December, with a combined upper estimate of more than $6 million. The first watch is a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph that was owned by a member of the Egyptian royal family, while the other is a Patek Philippe Ref. 5531R World Time Minute Repeater with a dial that depicts New York City.
Perhaps the most exciting out of the two watches is the Ref. 1518, a reference that once held the record for the most expensive watch ever sold. It was the first-ever perpetual calendar chronograph that was produced by Patek Philippe, originally released in 1941. Only 281 examples of the Ref. 1518 were ever made, with an estimated 58 of those being in rose gold.
While these factors make it a pretty rare wristwatch, the specific configuration of a rose gold case with a matching coloured dial was only ever done in 14 watches, making it even less common. But the real reason this is likely to fetch such a high price is how rare it is to see a Ref. 1518 in this configuration in such good condition, with such important provenance.
The watch was owned by Prince Tewfik Tousson of Egypt, who purchased the watch in 1951 before taking almost perfect care of it for a full seven decades. Unfortunately, the Prince passed away earlier this year, which was when the near-immaculate watch was discovered in Tewfik’s safe deposit box. It will be sold with its original box and documentation, with an estimate of US$1.2 million and US$2.2 million (AU$1.66 million – AU$3.04 million).
In contrast, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5531R World Time Minute Repeater is a thoroughly modern watch, first released in the New York edition in 2017. When it was first released it was an entirely new complication from Patek Philippe, which claimed a world first as the first minute repeater to chime your local time, rather than home time.
But while the watch is mechanically impressive, the cloisonné enamel dial is an equal feat of artistic mastery, featuring a view of New York City. Patek Philippe made just ten examples of the Ref. 5531R, five of which showed New York during the day, and five that showed New York at night. The 2017 RRP was a hefty US$561,341 (AU$776,936), but a price that is likely to be a bargain against the 2021 auction estimate of US$1 million and US$2 million (AU$1.38 million – AU$2.77 million).