Patek Philippe 5079: Christie’s Expert Sabine Kegel Weighs In

I am pleased to present one of the highlights of our Geneva 12 November Important Watches auction, a Patek Philippe reference 5079, the famous “cathedral” minute repeating watch with enamel dial.

It was consigned to us by its first owner who had bought it at Gübelin in Berne in 2006 and had since preciously kept it in a bank vault – except for one or two special occasions during which he wore it, meaning that it is in like new overall condition. The watch comes with the binder containing the Certificate of Origin, color photograph, description, instruction manual and other useful information, the original wooden box (quite impressive in size), plus a second box with the electrical winding facility. It is estimated at US$300,000-500,000.

 

For the famous “cathedral” repeating: Patek Philippe’s engineers succeeded in combining a minute repeating mechanism and automatic winding in a comparatively small size movement by fitting the ingenious calibre R27PS with a micro-rotor. The “Cathedral” repeating mechanism consists of a high-tone and a low-tone gong which in addition exceed in length the circumference of the case, resulting in a richer and fuller
sound than a “normal” repeater.

Another important factor that sets this watch apart is that it has been tested by Philippe Stern, now honorable president of Patek Philippe, in person. Since the firm started the production of minute repeating wristwatches in 1989, he listened to every piece individually to assure that the repeating sound corresponds to Patek Philippe’s high standards before handing the watch over to its new owner. This mission has been “inherited” by his son Thierry Stern who became the company’s president in 2009.

Reference 5079 is in my view one of the highlights in Patek Philippe’s modern production. I like its inconspicuous look – not easy to tell that it is a minute repeater unless you not only see the slide in the band but also know its purpose. The same applies for the dial; not everyone would at first sight realize that it is actually enamel (unless your eye sight is good enough to read the “cadran email” at the bottom). To sum it up reference 5079 qualifies as the personification of utterly understated sophistication.

Estimate: $320,000-530,000

 

 

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