Not often one runs into the legendary Patek Philippe ref. 2526 and even less often, you run into a reference 2526 with a dial signed for Swiss retailer Gübelin —one of the oldest retailers in Switzerland founded in 1854. The Patek Philippe ref. 2526 was the first automatic wristwatch launched by Patek and introduced to the market in 1953. Fitted with the Patek Philippe 30-jewel automatic calibre 12-600 AT —Patek's first automatic movement— it is by many considered to be the most beautiful automatic movement made by any watch company and one that remains hidden under the solid case back of the reference 2526.
Predominantly produced in 18K yellow gold and with less than 600 pieces ever made across all metals, only a small batch was produced in 18K rose gold and in 18K white gold and only a handful of examples in platinum, the Patek Philippe ref. 2526 remains a rare bird and one of the most difficult references to acquire amongst watch collectors if you are looking for one in pristine condition. The example we have here is one of the most complete examples of a vintage Patek Philippe ref. 2526 we've ever seen; accompanied by the original booklets, original certificate, original box and even the sales invoice, this is as rare as it gets. Furthermore, the watch sports one of the most rare —non Gay Frères— original Patek Philippe bracelets in matching 18K yellow gold.
This amazing example of Patek Philippe's reference 2526 was purchased at Gübelin in Luzern on July 21st of 1955. With a retail price of only 2,700 Swiss Francs —only $632 USD— at the time, the invoice shows that the buyer was able to get a 10% discount paying $568.80 USD in total. This watch very well preserved by the original owner, is one of those rare birds that one desires to own one day or at the very least, to peruse and admire in the company of a good whisky.
Looking at the 60+ years old paperwork that accompanies a watch like this is like immersing yourself in a tiny time capsule that takes you back to that summer day in 1955 when a fine American gentleman walked into Gübelin in Luzern to purchase this exquisite timepiece. Every time we look at vintage paperwork accompanying a vintage timepiece we ask ourselves so many questions: What did Gübelin Luzern looked like back then? What was the weather like on that summer day marked on the paperwork? Was this watch purchased during a vacation or a work trip? Was it a planned purchase or a dream come true?
Fitted with a very generous case for the era measuring 36 mm in diameter and a gorgeous white enamel dial with applied cabochon minute track, raised 18K yellow gold hour batons and dauphine hands, this Patek Philippe ref. 2526 is simply stunning and one that many collectors dream to own including us.
Still equipped with its original Patek Philippe 18K gold bracelet —Patek Philippe offered nine different bracelets for this reference back then and some of them were made by Gay Frères—, this is an example that one can spend decades trying to find. With a link design that is quite hard to describe and with no name given by watch scholars yet, every time we see this bracelet all we can think of is 'fideuà' —a Spaniard dish similar to paella but with fideo noodles. In all this is the most unique bracelet from Patek Philippe we've ever seen and one that has clearly passed the test of time after more than half a century.
Featuring the legendary double-opposing Ps signed crown —originally released with this reference— this watch shows the signs of a well worn and enjoyed timepiece. While we appreciate safe queens from a collectability standpoint, there's something very charming about a watch that has been enjoyed and has collected so many memories over time.
Without a doubt the Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 2526 is one of the most iconic and legendary watches of the past century. With only around 600 examples ever made across all metals between 1953 and 1956, the Patek Philippe 2526 is and will continue to be one of the most beautiful time-only watches ever made and its beating heart, the most beautiful and accurate automatic movement released back then.
Sticker Price $40,000-$80,000 USD. For more info on Patek Philippe click here.