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COLLECIONISMO: RELOJES – PATEK PHILIPPE & CO., GENEVA, SUBASTA EN SOTHEBY’S

PATEK PHILIPPE & CO., GENEVA, REFERENCE 989, MOVEMENT NO. 844000, CASE NO. 2839425, STARTED IN 1980 AND COMPLETED IN 1989 TO COMMEMORATE PATEK PHILIPPE’S 150TH JUBILEE ANNIVERSARY

A yellow gold, double dialled and double open faced, minute repeating, grande and petite sonnerie clockwatch with Westminster chimes, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, indications for century, leap year cycle, seasons, second time zone, date of Easter, astrological indications, moon phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, alarm, temperature, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky over Geneva, Switzerland at 46° 11’ 59” minutes north latitudeAccompanied by the original Patek Philippe fitted wood box with a plaque engraved, ‘Calibre 89’. Together with a Patek Philippe Portfolio with Extract from the Archives confirming the date of manufacture in 1989, with outer presentation slip case, gold corrector and gold key.reloj

READ CONDITION REPORT SALEROOM NOTICE

PROVENANCE

Antiquorum, Geneva, April 1989, The Art of Patek Philippe, lot 301The Matsuda Collection, Tokyo

Antiquorum, Geneva, November 2009, Celebrating 35 Years of Making History in Time, lot 364

Property of a Private Collector

EXHIBITED

Tiffany & Co., New York, March 7–10, 1989 and Beverly Hills, March 14–15, 1989

LITERATURE

Martin Huber and Alan Banbery, Patek Philippe, Geneva, 1993 (2nd ed.), pp. 274–286Alan Downing and René Bittel, Voyage to the End of Time, Geneva, 1989

Nicholas Foulkes, Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography, London, 2016, pp. 321–355

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CATALOGUE NOTE

IN THE COURSE OF PATEK PHILIPPE’S DISTINGUISHED HISTORY, THE FIRM HAS CREATED MANY EXTRAORDINARY WATCHES THAT HAVE CHALLENGED THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT TIMEPIECES.  AMONGST THE MANY COMPLICATED AND SIGNIFICANT TIMEPIECES EVER CREATED, THE CALIBRE 89 HAS REDEFINED THE FIELD OF HOROLOGY DUE TO THE INGENUITY OF ITS CREATORS.  IT IS AN HONOUR TO OFFER THE CALIBRE 89, THE MOST COMPLICATED WATCH OF THE 20TH CENTURY, AND PATEK PHILIPPE’S MOST COMPLICATED MASTERPIECE TO DATE. 

Philippe Stern: A Declaration of Independence

 Throughout its 178 years as a master watchmaking firm, Patek Philippe has created an abundance of extraordinary watches, challenging the way consumers think about timepieces. Among the most complicated and significant watches ever created, the Calibre 89 not only represents Patek Philippe’s unrivaled position at the apex of horology, but it also illustrates the firm’s unwavering belief in the superiority of the mechanical watch. Made at a time when the impact of the quartz crisis was still reverberating through the Swiss watch industry, the Calibre 89 is an affirmation of the unsurpassable genius of the watchmaker’s art. With 33 complications, the Calibre 89 remains Patek Philippe’s most complicated watch.

 While the Swiss watch industry underwent profound advances and changes, Honorary President, (then Vice President and Managing Director) Philippe Stern, boldly faced the challenges of the modern world with a new manifesto. Under Stern, the company published a brochure titled A Declaration of Independence in 1974. Patek Philippe reaffirmed its integrity as a family-owned business and reassured its retail partners of its commitment to excellence in the face of the mass-produced and easily accessible quartz watch.

 Stern’s challenge was to push Patek Philippe into the modern world while retaining the venerable culture on which its success and reputation originated. The company’s new approach to marketing and innovation redefined Patek Philippe in the final two decades of the twentieth century.  Changes in socioeconomic status and consumer culture paved the way for a new type of consumer with very high spending power but little knowledge of traditional and bespoke brands such as Patek Philippe.  Stern wisely targeted this deficit through an aggressive and cohesive marketing strategy.

 “Our marketing objective is to make Patek Philippe known as the best watch. We have to look after this new clientele and point out to them that Patek Philippe stands for original watchmaking that is above fashion and trends, and also something that is not an industrial product.” (Philippe Stern in Nicholas Foulkes, Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography, 2016, p. 338)

 The Calibre 89 was devised during a discussion beD

Secular Calendar and Leap Year:  The Perpetual Calendar shows the correct day of the week, date of the month and month of the year regardless of the length of the month, it also adjusts for the leap year.  Since the duration of a Solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, an extra day is added every four years (leap year).  According to the Gregorian Calendar reforms of 1582, only century years that are divisible by 400 without remainder are considered leap years.  Unlike the Graves, the Calibre 89 compensates for this, thus it will not count the years 2100, 2200 and 2300 as leap years.

The aperture immediately to the right of the year indication displays the leap year cycle from 1-4..

Year Indication: The year indication appears in an aperture right under the winding-crown-position indicator.  A metal disk has the numerals for centuries up to the 27th century.

Mechanism to halt chime: Two mainspring barrels in the first tier of the movement power the chime and the alarm.  The chime consists of four gongs, and is regulated by a centrifugal governor.  When the repeater is in use, it can run down the mainspring in the barrel that powers the chime.  If the watch is set to chime in passing, a blocking mechanism stops the Grand Strike or Small Strike before the mainspring of the chimes completely runs down.

Winding-Crown position indicator: The Winding Crown position indicator is also unique to the Calibre 89.  Placed towards the top of the mean solar time dial, it indicates the different positions at which the winding crown must be at in order to set specific functions of the watch.  Position R to wind the movement and the chime, Position A to set astronomical calendar and the alarm, Position B to set sidereal time and mean solar time.

The Mean Time Dial

Cream dial, applied yellow gold Breguet numerals, outer track for minutes with red five minute divisions, double-sunk subsidiary dials for 30-minute and 12-hour registers combined with power reserve indications for going and striking trains respectively, further double-sunk subsidiary dial for constant seconds and temperature combined with moon-phases, retrograde date, apertures for day, month, year, and leap year indication, crown position indicator, yellow gold Breguet hour and minute hands, blued steel Breguet hand for second time zone, blued steel split second hands, blued steel triangular alarm indicator, hands for temperature and power reserve indications, blued steel hands for subsidiary seconds and chronograph minute/hour registers

1. Winding-Crown-Position Indicator

2. Century Decade and Year

3. Leap Year Indication

4. Split Seconds

5. Seconds in Meantime

6. Power Reserve for Movement

7. 30-Minute Register

8. Month

9. Second Time Zone

10. Constant Seconds

11. Moon-Phases

12. Temperature °C

13. Day

14. Power Reserve for Chime

15. Alarm

16. Hours in Meantime

17. 12-Hour Register

18. Date

The Sidereal Dial

White dial, painted gold Arabic numerals calibrated for 24 hours, inner minute track, subsidiary dials for sunrise, sunset and sidereal seconds combined with the equation of time, outermost ring for seasons, solstice and equinox indications, zodiac, and months, blued steel feuille hands for hours and minutes, blued steel hand for indicating date of Easter, yellow gold sun-tipped hand indicating to outer rings, blued steel hands for sunrise/sunset and subsidiary seconds, gold hand for equation of time, large aperture revealing the celestial chart surrounded with the cardinal points, the celestial disc composed of corundum sapphire crystal marked with 2,800 distinct gilt stars in five sizes according to their orders of magnitude, on the reverse side of the transparent disc with applied fine gold dust representing the Milky Way, the whole night sky for the horizon at the latitude of Geneva, Switzerland, 46 ° 11’ 59” North

1. Month

2. Signs of the Zodiac

3. Seasons

4. Minutes in Sidereal time

5. Celestial Chart over Geneva, Switzerland

6. Time of Sunset

7. Constant Seconds in Sidereal Time

8. Solstice

9. Sun Hand

10. Equation of Time

11. Time of Sunrise

12. Equinox

13. Hours in Sidereal Time

14. Date of Easter

The movement of the Calibre 89 is composed of four separate tiers on three plates. The plates are made of the alloy maillechort, more commonly referred to as German silver. Within the movement are three mainspring barrels, powering the main functions of the watch and calendar, the alarm, and the repeat function respectively. The multi-tiered construction not only allows the watch to convey all the information of its 33 complications to the dial, but also allows the configuration of the dials to retain symmetry and attractive proportions.

 The Movement

Tier 1

Containing the chime, alarm, power reserve for the movement and repeater, and 12-hour register.

 Tier 2

Containing the mean-time, tourbillon, chronograph function and 30-minute register.

 Tier 3

Containing the functions of the sidereal dial including the sidereal time, star chart, seasons, solstices and equinoxes, Zodiac calendar, equation of time, sunrise and sunset.

 Tier 4

Containing the functions of the perpetual calendar including the month, day and date, moon phases, second time zone, and the one non-horological function, the thermometer.

The Case

The classic bassine case of the Calibre 89 was made in house by Patek Philippe. It is cut from three pieces of 18 carat yellow gold, and consists of a central case band that supports the plates of the movement, the band fitted with a slide at the crown, engraved CL (Cadran Légal) and CS (Cadran sidéral), slide for strike/ silent engraved S/O, for slide for petite sonnerie and grande sonnerie engraved GS/PS, repeat slide at 6 o’clock, one large slide for winding of the alarm, with two bezels on which the crystals are installed to protect the dials. Two corundum sapphire crystals are fitted atop each dial which is scratch resistant against virtually every common material, except diamond. The case boasts a massive diameter of 88.2 mm, 41.07 mm total thickness including the crystals, and, including the movement, weighs a total of 1,100 grams (2 lb, 43 oz). The case itself weighs an impressive 500 grams, twice the weight of the Henry Graves Supercomplication.

With such an enormous number of complications co-existing within one finely tuned case, even the simplest of functions and configurations were put to the test and met with challenges. The winding-crown-position indicator is a simple function where a needle points to one of the three positions to which the winding-crown is set to perform certain tasks. However, as the complication was developed and ordered after the entire watch had been designed, fitting this otherwise simple function was nearly impossible without the perfecting eye of Patek Philippe’s, Jean-Pierre Musy and Paul Buclin.