For those who noticed my report on final November’s public sale weekend in Geneva (see You Are There: Only Watch 2017 And Geneva Auction Weekend With Patek Philippe), you might recall that one of many prizes I returned residence with was a classic Patek Philippe watch: Reference 2526 in yellow gold.
Now that a little bit of time has handed, and I’ve had some alternatives to get this watch into my mild tent, it’s time to return and contemplate how this explicit piece matches into my assortment, why I purchased it, and why it’s rapidly turn into a favourite of mine.
How the Patek Philippe Reference 2526 matches
In my pal Terry’s gathering taxonomy, this piece is unquestionably a “foundational” merchandise: a watch that may be a permanent factor of 1’s timepiece portfolio.
Over the previous couple of years, I’ve been executing a acutely aware technique of accelerating the relative quantity and worth of foundational watches in my assortment to rebalance the combination with the numerous variety of “patronage” and “enjoyable” items I already personal. On the similar time I’ve additionally begun to study extra in regards to the world of classic watches and the potential for together with classic items as a part of my core assortment (see A Contemporary Watch Collector Goes Vintage).
Why and the way I purchased Patek Philippe Reference 2526
good friend of mine owns a cream-dialed Reference 2526, and I’d usually admired it through the years however hadn’t actually understood the position that the 2526 performs in Patek Philippe’s historical past till speaking with him and different watch friends in the course of the journey to Only Watch 2017 and doing a little late-night on-line analysis.
As I realized extra, features of this reference which might be well-known to classic lovers actually caught my consideration: particularly the usage of a fired enamel dial and the presence of Caliber 12-600 AT, Patek Philippe’s first automated motion, a characteristic to which I’ll return a bit of later.
At dinner, a very good good friend who additionally occurs to be a classic watch professional dashed my hopes of shopping for the Reference 2526 I’d been eyeing at Christie’s by revealing that he could be a bidder on that piece the next day. Nevertheless, that planted the seed that I’d contemplate one other watch in the identical public sale: a black-dialed piece signed each by Patek Philippe and Gobbi Milano, the unique vendor of the watch.
Two issues stood in my manner: first, the black-dialed piece had a considerably larger estimate than the primary 2526 coupled with the truth that I’d already picked up a few different watches that weekend; and second, whereas it appeared that we’d dealt with and seen just about each watch at each public sale with a loupe over the prior days, for some cause I hadn’t taken an in depth have a look at that individual lot.
In consequence, I used to be fairly effectively resolved to not bid and didn’t protest when my buddy determined to step out of the public sale room previous to the introduction of the lot to go off for some buying in Geneva.
For these of you who’ve learn my musings on tips on how to (and to not) bid at public sale (see How I Bid: One Collector’s Approach To Buying At Watch Auctions), there’s positively a wholesome dose of “how to not” in what occurred subsequent: the bidding stalled just under the low estimate, I put up my hand, and several other seconds later I used to be the brand new proprietor.
Why I like Patek Philippe Reference 2526
After the preliminary shock wore off and I had the prospect to say my prize, I began feeling nice about including this watch to my assortment for a number of causes:
Traditional, basic, basic: whereas there’s some disagreement about what’s essentially the most “basic” Patek Philippe Calatrava, in my opinion it’s very tough to go unsuitable with Reference 2526. Every little thing from the case form to the usage of fired enamel for the dial to the crisp dauphine arms and pointed markers imparts a timeless really feel that appears as at residence on the wrist at present as when this watch was bought in Milan two months earlier than my delivery.
That motion: Caliber 12-600 AT was Patek Philippe’s first automated motion, launched simply after the expiration of the Rolex patent on a full-rotor self-winding motion. The guilloche work on the rotor alone is well worth the worth of admission, and Patek Philippe’s declare on the time that this motion would preserve time to inside one second per day suggests the trouble exerted in its design and manufacture.
These colours: now that I personal a black-with-yellow model of this watch, I in some way can’t think about having purchased a cream-dialed piece, even in my favored pink gold.
Maybe you’ve had the expertise with a given watch the place one colour mixture simply appears significantly better than every other. For me, examples embrace the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual in white gold with gray dial, the crimson gold Vianney Halter Antiqua with platinum dials, the Patek Philippe Reference 5070P and 5170Ps with their unearthly blue dials, and now the Patek Philippe Reference 2526 in yellow gold with black dial.
Looking back I’m even a bit shocked: as a rule I’m not strongly drawn to Patek Philippe’s yellow/black watches, however in relation to this piece I discover it tough to tear my gaze away.
Black enamel: simply as I needed to ask for the Patek Philippe Reference 5370P as quickly as I received sucked into its inky black enamel dial, I like testing the dial on my 2526.
There are some variations: the “double fired” method used within the 1950s resulted in a considerably much less completely flat floor than the multi-layer (and multi-firing) technique used at present, however I discover that each the peerlessly easy brilliance of the 5370P and the marginally rougher look of the 2526 have their attraction.
Rarity: by now, you’ll have observed that along with its uncommon black dial, this watch bears one other distinction: the phrases “Gobbi Milano” in gold simply between the middle of the dial and the seconds subdial.
In keeping with Christie’s, fewer than 20 black-dialed examples of Reference 2526 have appeared at worldwide public sale. Only some of these are licensed by extracts from the corporate archives as having had black dials on the time of manufacture, and solely two recognized black-dialed watches are signed by Gobbi Milano.
Because it seems, my watch is the one black-dialed Gobbi 2526 with the black dial licensed on its extract as unique, making it probably distinctive.
Does it matter? I notice that I’m at critical danger of sliding into triple-red floating underlined Submariner land right here, however at a minimal, I feel it’s fairly cool to have a basic Patek Philippe watch that’s probably not like all of the others.
Situation: I used to be justifiably nervous in regards to the situation of this watch on condition that I hadn’t given it detailed scrutiny earlier than bidding, however the situation was described as “exceptionally effectively preserved” within the catalogue and up to now I’ve not been disenchanted.
The case and lug shapes are clear, the perimeters of the polygonal case again are sharp, and the hallmarks are crisp; and once I took benefit of the auctioneer’s tendency to loosen case backs for bidder inspections and spun the again off in my resort room, I used to be delighted that the water resistant screw-down design had apparently protected the motion extraordinarily effectively over the previous 60-plus years.
Correctness: to the very best of my information, the parts of this watch are all at a minimal interval right, and will in actual fact be unique (though certifying that’s effectively past my experience and in my humble opinion claiming “new outdated inventory” standing for a decades-old watch is one speedy path to perdition). I’m notably keen on the “PP” crown, which is one contact on this watch that’s maybe a bit much less timeless than its different parts however for me provides it a little bit of ’50s pizzazz.
A worthy complement: I’m an immense fan of my pink gold instance of the Patek Philippe Reference 1526, the first-ever serially produced perpetual calendar wristwatch, and for me this ultra-rare basic Calatrava completely rises to the identical degree as a drool-worthy classic Patek Philippe watch.
Appears good, wears nice: I’ve re-measured the diameter of the 2526 a number of instances, and it nonetheless retains arising 35 mm however regardless of its darkish dial it wears bigger on the wrist, maybe attributable to its slim bezel and longish lugs. It is a watch that wears effectively, and for me can each deliver a contact of sophistication to enterprise apparel and comfortably gown down for casual put on.
May I get harm?
You’ll recall that the place I began with this watch was that in reality I actually ought to have saved the funds I used to purchase it in my financial savings account!
Whereas different variants of the Reference 2526 in sturdy situation can be found for lower than I paid for this piece, I take some solace within the values we’re seeing for different double-signed Patek Philippe watches, the licensed unique standing of my black enamel dial, and my sense that because of the order of the heaps at Christie’s that day and maybe a little bit of luck I appear to have purchased effectively, particularly as lower than a 12 months prior this similar watch was supplied on the market by a classic watch supplier at greater than twice the value I paid.
I used to be additionally more than happy to see that solely two weeks later in November, one other black-dialed 2526 – this one single-signed – bought at Christie’s Hong Kong public sale for 60 p.c greater than I paid for mine!
Maybe the very best information, although, is that a minimum of from the place I sit proper now, this one is a keeper.
Fast Details Patek Philippe Reference 2526 “Gobbi Milano” black dial
Case: 35 mm, yellow gold with strong screw-down again, PP brand crown
Dial and arms: black double-fired enamel signed by Patek Philippe and retailer Gobbi Milano; utilized gold markers and gold dauphine arms
Motion: automated Caliber 12-600 AT stamped with the Geneva Seal
Features: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds
Public sale worth: CHF 100,000 at Christie’s Geneva, November 2017
Offered: June, 1955
* This text was first printed on January 12, 2018 at Why I Bought It: Patek Philippe Reference 2526 ‘Gobbi Milano’.