Lot Essay Patek Philippe Reference 1463R with Two-Tone dial
Retailed by Serpico y Laino of Caracas
The discovery of one of the great ‘golden era’ Patek Philippe references is always a very exciting moment, even more so when that watch is not only made in the rarest metal for the reference but is also double signed by one of Patek Philippe’s most revered retail agents of the mid-20th century. Christie’s is honored to present here one such superlative wristwatch – a second series pink gold reference 1463. Kept as the star and showpiece of the present owner’s collection, it is an immensely seductive rarity for the even the most discerning of international collectors.
The reference 1463 is one of the most highly prized vintage Patek Philippe chronographs in the market today. The ownership of any reference 1463 of any type is already regarded as a statement of exclusivity and discernment, the present watch in pink gold with two-tone dial signed by Serpico y Laino is therefore one of the great trophy watches of the reference. The new custodian of this exceptional chronograph will have the honor of beginning the next chapter in its illustrious history.
The only vintage Patek Philippe chronograph model with screw back case and round pushers, the reference 1463 is without question one of the company’s most iconic and noble wristwatches. Launched in 1940 and remaining in production until 1965, around 740 pieces were made in total in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel, an average of only 21 watches were produced per year.
The striking pink gold version is the rarest of all, a total of 145 pieces were ever made with only 55 examples identified publicly today. To put this into perspective, 190 pieces were made in steel with 90 publicly known today and 405 in yellow gold with 165 known to survive. The added presence of the Serpico y Laino retailer signature to the present pink gold watch makes it one of the rarest 1463’s to be offered at international auction in recent times and one of only a handful of known examples signed by this illustrious retailer.
Beautifully preserved, the present extremely rare two-tone silvered dial was made around 1949-1950 and is double signed by both Patek Philippe and the legendary Caracas retailer Serpico y Laino. The silver base plate has a matte ‘satine-opalin’ surface finish to its center, the outer circle has a circular brushed finish for the tachymeter scale. The signature, tachymeter, minutes/seconds scale and sunk subsidiary dials are engraved and hard enameled. This technique provides permanence and imperviousness to the dial features which were engraved from a template, then the engraved recesses were filled with enamel and fired up to a temperature of around 900 degrees. The perfectly contrasting pink gold applied hour numerals and markers are cut and polished by all hand. The pink gold hour and minute hands are ‘feuille’ pattern, as is the subsidiary seconds hand, in contrast, the chronograph 30-minute register and chronograph hand are flame-blued-steel for easy readability.
Considered as one of the great all-time design classics of Patek Philippe, the dials of the reference 1463 were made entirely by hand by Stern Frères, the acknowledged masters of the art of dial making. Stern Frères had always worked very closely with Patek Philippe being the only company with the know-how to make dials that met their exacting standards. In fact, Stern Frères dials for complicated watches were reserved almost exclusively for Patek Philippe who were additionally offered the first choice on each new design or manufacturing technique as it was developed.
The pink gold two-piece ‘water-resistant’ case is preserved in excellent original overall condition retaining full proportions. The crisp ‘S.. 18K’ stamps to the case back and the well-defined sharp bezel steps underline its fresh to the market private provenance. The ‘mushroom’ shaped pushers and crown are almost certainly original, furthermore, the hallmarks on the outside case band between the winding crown and pusher are very well preserved, as are the lugs and lug pin holes.
Made by Taubert, the Geneva master case-maker whose mark of the number 11 within a key is punched on the interior of the caseback, the case is the typical, water-resistant case of the ref. 1463, relatively large for the time at 35mm in diameter. Due to the screw-down back sitting relatively high, the reference 1463 has a very distinctive and instantly recognizable side profile.
Made in 1950, this caliber 13’’’-130 has 23 jewels, ‘Amagnetic balance’ and swan neck high-precision micrometric regulator.
The caliber 13’’’-130 was in production between 1936 and 1985 and was especially and exclusively made for Patek Philippe. In use for a record 50 years, the caliber had no updates after the first few years when the shape of the main bridge changed, the micrometric regulator was introduced around 1938 on some movements and from 1944 on all production of the caliber thereafter. The ‘Amagnetic’ balance was introduced in 1946.
We are grateful to Eric and Gabriel Tortella for their kind assistance in researching this piece.
Serpico y Laino
The honor of being granted the right to put a retail name on a Patek Philippe dial was only given to a small number of prestigious retailers who were the leading outlets for luxury timepieces in either their country or region. Serpico y Laino was one of those chosen few and is now one of the retail signatures most valued by collectors of vintage Patek Philippe.
Serpico y Laino was founded in the late 1920s by two Italian immigrants, Leopoldo Serpico and Vicente Laino, a young goldsmith. Initially focusing on jewelry, they soon expanded into watches and became the exclusive distribution agent for Rolex in Venezuela following a meeting with Hans Wilsdorf in Geneva in the early 1930s. Shortly after, other brands were added and the firm was appointed the sole authorized retailer for another famous watch manufacturer: Patek Philippe. In 1966, after forty years of flourishing business, the leading watch retailer in Caracas closed.
The reference 1463 is illustrated in:
Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, 1998 edition, p. 267, and for calibre 13’’’-130 see: pp. 262, 265 & 269.
Patek Philippe Museum, Patek Philippe, 2014 edition, Vol. II, pp. 268-269.
Blue Book 1, Study on Patek Philippe Wristwatches, 2018 edition, pp. 320-345.
ψ Please note the endangered species strap is shown for display purposes only and is not for sale. Upon sale, this watch will be supplied to the buyer with a non CITES strap (not shown). For further information please refer to the Conditions of Sale.
Post Lot Text
Please note that bidding for this lot will increase by increments of US $10,000, or as determined by Christie’s in its sole discretion.