The Patek Philippe stainless steel Nautilus ref. 5711-1a-010 is arguably the hottest watch on the market at the moment with dealer prices reaching and eye-watering 3x RRP a few months ago, although falling back to an only slightly less crazy 2x RRP now. Despite it being the de-facto face of the brand on blogs and social media, steel watches are something of a rarity for Patek Philippe. Around 25% of the brand’s output is steel and the vast majority of these are for the lady’s ‘Twenty 4’ collection.
Lot 273 (left) & Lot 274 (right)
This has been true throughout Patek Philippe’s long history. Of the 281 examples of their ground-breaking perpetual calendar chronograph ref. 1518, introduced in 1941, only 4 were made in stainless steel. This is not surprising as the immense pride the brand takes in their watches sees them determined to encase them in precious metal, but the result is that the humble steel examples have a rarity that pushes their value higher than gold or platinum.
Lot 274: Patek Philippe, ref. 1461, a stainless steel wrist watch, no. 626517 910864, circa 1940 | Est. £4,000-6,000 (+fees)
In Dreweatts’ auction of Fine Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Objects of Vertu on 18 March we are offering a number of watches from Patek Philippe and two of them are in stainless steel. The first is Lot 274, a ref. 1461, a similar sized watch to the first ever Patek Calatrava, the Ref. 96 at 31mm but with the addition of attractive ‘teardrop’ shaped lugs. This particular example has a personal engraving on the case back indicating that it belonged to a Dr Lewis H Weed M.D. of Baltimore USA.
Lot 274 (Detail)
Graduating in 1912 from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr Weed went on to serve 2 years at Harvard University in charge of surgical research before returning to John Hopkins where he rose to become Director of the Medical School until 1946. In 1947 he left to devote more attention to his role at the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Research Council and the US Army Medical Department. His most celebrated accomplishment was the discovery of the origin of cerebrospinal fluid and mapping out its circulation.
Lot 273: Y Patek Philippe, a stainless steel wrist watch, no. 611020, circa 1940 | Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)
The second watch, Lot 273, is more enigmatic, with no history or personal engraving. The dial signature indicates production for the US market and a date earlier than the ref. 1461. Similar to the reference 1408 but with a rectangular rather than square dial, the watch has the same hooded lugs but features attractive, highly polished Breguet numerals. The sharp edges and corners of the rectangular case, with signs of the original satin brushing indicate that this watch has been lightly worn throughout its life and possibly never polished.
AUCTION DATE & LOCATION
Wednesday 18 March | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
VIEWING IN LONDON:
(Jewellery, Watches & Portrait Miniatures)
16-17 Pall Mall, St James's, London SW1Y 5LU
Tuesday 10 March: 10am-7pm
Wednesday 11 March: 10am-5pm
VIEWING AT DONNINGTON PRIORY:
Sunday 15 March: 10am-2pm
Monday 16 March: 10am-5pm
Tuesday 17 March: 10am-5pm
Day of sale: from 8.30am
View online catalogue
View page turning catalogue