CIRCA: 1958
CASE MATERIAL: 18k yellow gold, caseback engraved with the initials J.Z.
DIAMETER: 33 mm.
BRACELET: 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe bracelet made by Gay Frères
DIAL: Gilt dial, 8 pearls and raised gold hour markers
FUNCTION: Time only
CLASP: 18k yellow gold clasp with Calatrava Cross medallion
WITH: Extract from the Archives confirming the sale of the watch with 18k yellow gold bracelet in February 12th, 1959
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UAE for sale. Should the lot be released into GCC/UAE free circulation, duty will be payable at 5% on the low estimate. Duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment as per GCC''s customs laws. VAT at 5% will be applied to the hammer and buyer’s premium.
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Lot Essay

The present watch is believed to be one of three known Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 2573 specially commissioned by Emir Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa I of Bahrain to feature eight Bahraini seed pearls as hour markers between the cardinal indices.

Whereas the other two were made from rose gold, this one, in yellow gold, is all the more stunning for the solid yellow gold bracelet created especially for this watch by Gay Frères.

Manufactured in 1958, its case and movement numbers indicate it was the first of the three special commissions to be manufactured as well. The watches were remitted by the Emir on June 26th, 1959.
Based on the Calatrava ref. 2573 that was launched in 1956 (and would be manufactured until ca. 1971), the bespoke case construction or ‘architecture’ necessary to accommodate the natural seed pearl hour markers is in itself extraordinary. The hour and minute hands are on a raised central axis to enable them to clear the pearl hour markers.

The bezel is thus taller and steeper than on other examples of the reference 2573. Combined with the domed crystal, the steep bezel provides remarkable three-dimensional viewing of the pearl hour markers from a side angle and gives the watch incredible visual interest; rendered all the more fascinating by the perfect sense of balance achieved.

Up until 2015 nobody really knew what a ‘Pearl of Bahrain’ looked like in the metal, nor was it known who had commissioned it. Did it exist at all or was it all a myth? That year, on December 16th, Christie’s New York sold a Patek Philippe with pearl hour markers, a time-only Calatrava ref. 2573 in rose gold with a rose gold dial (Lot 62).

The expert consensus at the time held that this was the only ‘Pearl of Bahrain’ in existence. Three years later, in 2018, Christie’s Geneva offered the second ref. 2573 in rose gold with pearl dial, with a confirmed Extract from the Archives, at auction.

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