For quite a few years now, the auction market for rare and very desirable Patek Philippe models has increasingly become, for most of us, a spectator sport. Still, purely from a connoisseurship standpoint, there is something intrinsically interesting about this particular lot, coming up at Sotheby’s Important Watches auction tomorrow. Not only is this one of a very few replica Patek Philippe reference 1415s enamel dial, but it’s also one of only two known to have an enamel map of Eurasia, and it is absolutely fresh to market.
According to Sotheby’s, this watch (lot 213) has never been offered at auction before. The last reference 1415 with a Eurasia enamel dial was offered by Christie’s, over 15 years ago, and it’s been 20 years since a previously unknown example was on the market. The exact fake Patek Philippe reference 1415 world timer, with a mechanism designed by the famed watchmaker Louis Cottier, was sold in very small numbers between 1939 and 1954 and less than a quarter had enamel dials, with only eight of those having subsequently appeared on the market. Of those eight references 1415 HU DE, exactly two have a map of Eurasia; the other six have a world map.
These heures universelles watches showed the time simultaneously in either 28 or 41 cities (depending on the model) and the movement was based on Patek’s caliber 12”’–120.
Purely from a Patek scholarship standpoint, this is an extremely interesting and rare watch that represents an early example of an historically extremely important complication. It’s also, obviously, going to be very interesting to see how it performs. Sotheby’s estimate for this reference 1415 is $600,000 to $1,200,000. However, as we’ve seen repeatedly in recent years, when it comes to extremely rare and highly desirable Pateks, in particular, it’s really anyone’s guess as to what will happen. Though there is one other cheap copy Patek Philippe Eurasia dial 1415 known, it hasn’t been seen since well before the huge upsurge in recent years in interest in, and prices realized by, vintage Pateks – and while there are some signs of the vintage watch market beginning to level off, the potential for such genuinely exotic and near-impossible to find watches as this remains very unpredictable.
This reference 1415 is also part of an auction that includes a truly wonderful collection of automata, which we covered here. And you can browse the entire catalogue right here. This is actually a very, very diverse auction – while this cheap replica Patek Philippe reference 1415 is the second highest estimate out of 213 lots (the highest estimate, $1,500,000 to $2,500,000, is for the “King Farouk” music box, lot 81) the lowest estimate is under $2,000, and if vintage Patek interests you, you could do a heck of a lot worse than lot 68 – a split seconds minute repeater pocket watch, made by Patek in 1893 and sold in 1895, complete with an extract from the archives. The estimate? Just $8,000 to $12,000.