Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo is offering the earliest made and previously unknown Patek Philippe yellow gold reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial, representing the Eurasian landmass. with an estimate in excess of CHF 3.5 million (£2.7m). The watch is a leading highlight of The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII on May 8th and 9th, 2021.
Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe and Middle East, commented: “The present reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial is truly the end game for many collectors. Arguably, it is difficult to find a more abused term in the world of watch collecting, but this is the one instance where the word can be used with its original undiluted meaning: the present watch is – simply put – one of the most sought-after, unobtainable, attractive and fabled timepieces in the world; the only parallel in terms of pure watchmaking importance in the realm of wristwatches – without considering watches with provenance – can possibly be found in a stainless steel Patek Philippe reference 1518.”
Recently discovered in an important European collection, this timepiece is a time capsule, depicting an immaculate polychrome cloisonné enamel dial, rendered in fantastical hues of marine blue, gold, green and turquoise.
Of the eleven reference 2523s known with cloisonné enamel dials, five feature North America, three feature South America and three Eurasia. Of the three examples featuring the European and Asian continents, one is in the Patek Philippe museum, the other in a prominent private collection and the present, newly discovered example, fresh to the auction market.
Reference 2523 was first launched in 1953 and features an oversized-for-the-time 36 millimeter case, with two crowns and a city ring, which is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel. Two versions were available, with reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs that do not sit above the bezel.
It has been close to two decades since the last reference 2523 with Eurasian map has appeared on the market, and the present watch will most probably be the last to be discovered and to grace the auction market in a long time.