Gold Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96 vintage wristwatch, made in 1953
A superb and very fine 18ct yellow gold manually wound wristwatch with Extract from the Archives
Named after the symbol of Patek Philippe, the ornate ‘Calatrava’ cross, the reference 96 is one of the most famous of all Patek references. The model first appeared in 1932 which was, incidentally, the same year the company was sold to the Stern family who remain the watchmaker’s owner to this day. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Worldwide economic depression had slowed sales at Patek Philippe. Charles Stern, one of the brothers who purchased the company, set out to design a new model to revive Patek Philippe’s market. The model, later named the ‘Calatrava’, was elegantly simple in design, its round case with flat bezel was an instant success. The present wristwatch is the most classic of all Ref.96 designs with its applied faceted (so-called ‘lapped’) hour markers, dauphine hands and subsidiary seconds. The dial (face) is in excellent original condition, the signature and subsidiary seconds track are fired in hard black enamel – this technique required the dial plate to be first engraved for the outline of the signature and subsidiary seconds before the enamel paint was applied and then fired, to harden it, in a specialist kiln. The outer minute track of the dial is a style known as ‘perlé’, a technique which requires each minute marker to be precision, diamond-drilled; this technique is of the highest quality and under magnification the symmetrical cone formed for each minute division is visible. The 18ct yellow gold case is in great condition with superb definition to the angles and down-turn of the lugs, the case back has a very light and original monogram detailed D.G.D. from M.S.D. 1955. The Patek Philippe calibre 12-400 manually wound movement is of outstanding quality with handsome ‘Geneva’ stripes across the surface of the plates, the watch has 18 jewels and precision regulation and the movement is stamped twice with the “Geneva Seal” a stamp only permitted on watches that were made within the city walls of Geneva and followed a rigorous set of production rules.
This watch is accompanied by its Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives which confirms production in 1953.
Patek Philippe manually wound calibre 12-400 movement stamped twice with the seal of Geneva, lever escapement, 18 jewels, compensation balance, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions, precision regulation; silvered dial, applied faceted gold baton (lapped) indexes, gold dauphine hands, subsidiary seconds with gold feuille hand, the subsidiary seconds and signature fired in black enamel, outer perlé minute track; 18ct yellow gold circular case, flat polished bezel, satin finished case sides, down-turned lugs, snap-on back; case, dial and movement signed.
Diameter excluding winding crown: 31mm
Length including lugs: 39mm