|Dial Color:||Creme white|
|Box/Paper:||Handmade Leather Travel Pouch|
Patek Phillipe Calatrava 2526 from 1958 with Extract of the Archive
For many collectors the Patek Philippe Calatrava is a grail watch. The Calatrava with reference 2526 is considered by many as the best automatic movement ever made.
When you inspect this watch in the metal, you immediately feel that it is something really special. It oozes quality. The design of the watch with its refined case with a really remarkable twice baked enamel dial confirms your expectations. The applied golden hour markers which finish the look and the really nice hand painted signature. The case of this watch is locked with a screw down golden case-back. The crown is beautifully designed and features the 2 P’s.
But what really makes old Patek’s so special is that they finished the movement with the most refined decorations. If you see the guilloche engine turned patterns on the rotor, insane bevels, wide and flawless Geneva strips you can imagine that’s this would make watchmakers smile. It is like opening a hood of Bugatti type 35 or a ‘57 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Or Charlie walking in the Chocolate factory.
Some history about the invention of the automatic movement
John Harwood patented the first automatic movement in 1922. The HARWOOD Automatic relied on pawls and clockwork and a pivoted oscillating weight that moved to and from through an arc of 270° hitting buffer springs on both sides (so-called hammer automatic).At the Basel Trade Fair in 1926 FORTIS presented the world's first mass-produced automatic wristwatches to an enthusiastic international audience. The HARWOOD Automatic was a pioneer in the history of the wristwatch and had a considerable impact on subsequent development of the automatic watch.
In 1931, Rolex invented and patented the world's first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. They patented a new winding system, which wound the mechanism by rotating a weight through 360 degrees. This ingenious system, a true work of art, is today at the heart of every modern automatic watch.
The invention of the "Rotor", Calibre 12-600 AT was introduced by Patek Philippe in 1953 at the dawn of automatic movement technology. It was Patek Philippe's very first self-winding movement, launched some 22 years after Rolex patented its perpetual mechanism. This is meaningful because it was not as if it took Patek a good two decades to catch up with Rolex – it was that Rolex had a two decade patent on the mechanism, so Patek, and anyone else for that matter, was legally prohibited from selling a full-rotor, self-winding movement like this.
So Patek got more than 20 years to work on their version of the automatic chronometer. And oh boy they hit a home run! For Patek it was a reason to be proud of their newest watch. In a period brochure for the 2526, the movement is described as being of exceptionally high quality, with the flat profile of the Gyromax balance attaining unequaled aerodynamic characteristics with absolutely scientific correction of the movement's performance. According to the brochure, after regulation, the watch should have a maximum variation of only one second per day. Think about that. One second per day! In 1953!
Now let’s dive into the technical details of this calibre.
Although not the first automatic, or even the first with a central rotor setup, it appears quite modern apart from its use of small seconds. Today, Cal. 12-600 AT is considered one of the best movements in the history of watchmaking. About 7,100 Cal. 12-400 AT movements were made between 1953 and 1960, when PP 27-460 was introduced. That this replacement was closely related to Cal. 12-600 AT and remained in production until 1985 says much for the engineering behind this movement.
Patek was quite proud of this movement and wanted to differentiate it from the other automatic watches on the market, the majority of which used hammer movements. Therefore, they billed it as a "self-winding watch", not an "automatic".
As was typical at the time, the name of Cal. 12-600 AT explains its key features:
The 30-jewel 12-600 AT features a solid 18 karat yellow gold rotor, consummately decorated with engine turning even though no watch at the time had an exhibition case back. Timing was kept using Patek Philippe's patented Gyromax balance wheel (introduced just two years earlier) and this wheel beats at 19,800 A/h. Aiding the Gyromax wheel is a swan neck regulator and self-compensating Breguet balance spring. The movement is adjusted to five positions, heat and cold, and isochronism. It is possible that some early examples lacked the Gyromax balance.
The design calls to mind Patek Philippe's mid-century hand-winding movements. Separate cocks are used for the balance wheel, escape wheel, and fourth wheel. A large bridge is used for the third wheel and center wheel and also acts as a mounting point for the rotor bearing. The movement is rhodium plated and finished to the standards of the Geneva Seal.
Cal. 12-600 AT is widely respected today but was not without issues. The massive gold rotor caused excessive wear on its bearing, forcing a mid-cycle redesign. The successor, Cal. 27-460 of 1960, includes a redesigned bearing. Additionally, a third case screw was required to keep the movement in place in the case. Finally, swan neck regulator proved less than satisfactory, causing engineers to develop a novel adjustable balance spring stud carrier for the replacement.
Cal. 12-600 AT was quite special at the time, and Patek Philippe reserved it for their finest watches. Every reference fitted with this movement was cased in gold or platinum with the exception of Ref. 2588 which was made in steel.
Source Watchwiki and Hodinkee
The reference Patek Philippe 2526 is more than a mechanical beauty. Aesthetically it’s almost perfect in its simplicity. So get into action and add this grail to your collection!
This particular Patek Philippe Calatrava 2526 has just undergone a check by our watchmaker. It keeps good time within COCS standards.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase.
Brand: Patek Phillipe
Year: 1957 sold in March 18th, 1958
Movement No: 764,7xx signed Patek Philippe
Case: It has a polished 18-carat yellow golden case with a screw caseback.
Dimensions: 36mm diameter;
Crystal: acrylic crystal
Dial: double baked enamel dial with applied golden hour markers
Calibre: 2526. Self-winding movement with is adjusted to five positions, heat and cold, and isochronism. Power reserve: 55 hours
Crystal: Domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Bracelet/Strap: fitted on a new WRIST ICONS leather strap made by Jean Paul Menicucci and comes also with an extra strap
Lug Width: 17mm
Condition: Pre-owned. Excellent condition with some light hairline signs of wear.