A rare AAA fake Patek Philippe world timer ref. 2523/1 sold for $5,545,999 at Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo’s Geneva Auction XII this weekend, in a sale that totaled $28,002,004. The watch, which Phillips describes as “mythical,” is one of only four made in rose gold with a guilloché dial, and one of only two to ever appear at auction. One of the four resides in the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva. The brand’s 24-city world time watches are rare, and very distinctive for their hand crafted dials of guilloché or enamel. The ref. 2523 was launched in 1953, and was the first to incorporate Patek’s new two-crown system, one for winding the watch and the other at 9 o’clock to control the city disk.
The second-highest ticket was a perfect 1:1 fake Patek Philippe ref. 3974 perpetual calendar with minute repeater and moonphases in a platinum case, for $1,579,570, followed closely by an iconic Patek Philippe ref. 2499, a second series perpetual calendar chronograph in yellow gold for $1,432,701. It was from the collection of legendary collector and author John Goldberger, who in 2018 sold one of the world’s most expensive Rolexes, known as the “Unicorn,” the only white gold Rolex Daytona ref. 6265, for $5.9 million. The proceeds were donated to charity. Another yellow gold ref. 2499 in this sale went for $784,063. “What a pleasure when a watch is so widely embraced by the community,” commented auctioneer Aurel Bacs as he fielded several phone and online bids from around the world for the watch. (Produced between 1951 and 1985, in a limited number of approximately 349 examples, the 2499 is the second generation of Patek Philippe’s lineage of famous perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches.)
The sale also included a rare example of Patek’s first-generation perpetual chronographs, a ref. 1518 in yellow gold, selling for $462,036. The 1518 was first introduced in 1941, and became the archetype of the Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph. Only 281 of the references were ever made.