Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref.96 1945 – Stainless Steel
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Completely Original Example
All in Totally Unrestored Tip-Top Museum Condition
Very High Grade P.P. Cal.12-120PS, 18 Jewel, Hand-Wound Movement
One of Less Than 100 Stainless Steel Patek Model Ref 96 Calatrava Ever Produced
Totally Original Unrestored Untouched White Dial with Original ‘Leaf’ Hands
Good-Sized 31mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Correct Unsigned Crown
High Quality Black Genuine Leather Strap with Plain Steel Buckle
Original Extract from the Archives Included, as Shown
Patek Philippe Presentation Box Included, as Shown
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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Simply the finest watch money can buy.
Even today, Patek Philippe’s extraordinary care and commitment towards perfection means it takes almost year to manufacture even its simplest watch movement.
Some significant moments in watchmaking since 1839 …
– 1839 Antoine Patek began producing about 200 high-quality pocket watches per year
– 1845 Patek & Co. Partnership founded in Geneva with Jean Adrien Philippe, Technical Director
– 1846 Tiffany & Co. New York, Tiffany appoints Patek Philippe as its principal supplier of pocket watches
– 1857 Universal Exposition, London, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert buy a timepiece, shooting Patek to international fame
– 1867 the company produces the world’s first wristwatch
– 1927 the company produces the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch
– 1941 the company produces the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch
– 1962 the company produces the world’s first automatic, perpetual calendar wristwatch
It is said that fewer than 1 million Patek Philippe watches have been made since the first watch was completed in 1839. That is fewer than some high-end Swiss manufacturers (notably Rolex) produce in one year. In fact, the company limits itself to producing less than 50,000 watches per year, even though it is estimated by watch market analysts, the company could sell ten times this figure. Patek production is so detailed, it takes almost a year to complete its most basic watch and more than two years to produce some of the more complicated timepieces.
Patek’s vintage complications hold more world record prices at auction than any other brand. Landmark models include the model ref. 1518; the world’s first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph and its successor, the model ref. 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the model refs. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450.
We, of course, associate Patek Philippe with the very best, but particularly, the understated elegance, craftsmanship, heritage, exquisite design, perfection and total confidence and commitment in everything it does.
Why This Watch Is Important
The Patek Philippe Calatrava is the most important watch model in the company’s history for three principal reasons. Firstly, following its launch in 1932 this watch became a cornerstone for Patek and has remained so through to this current day. Secondly, the design has became ‘the blueprint’ for the modern ‘time only’ dress watch we know today. Thirdly it helped re-establish and re-position the brand during the time it was in transition from a one-off or very small number manufacturer, to the serial production of wristwatches.
Upon launch, the Patek Philippe Calatrava was considered of such importance it was given a name rather than simply a model number. This was a significant first for Patek, and further, it was named after the Calatrava Cross, which has been the company’s brand and trademark since 1887.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava design was created during the early 1930s when gentlemen’s wristwatches were still a relatively new phenomenon. However, wristwatches were gaining popularity following their use by Officers during World War I. Patek Philippe was in a precarious position at this point due to losing momentum and direction following the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression in America, Patek’s largest market. So it badly needed a mainstream model to sell in larger numbers to generate some steady income. Inspired by the Bauhaus principle of form follows function, the minimalist design created by David Penney distilled timekeeping down to its most pure essence. The Calatrava made its debut 90 years ago in 1932 with the model reference 96, the watch you see here, with the look we have all become so familiar with today. You may feel it somewhat unremarkable today, but this is because the Calatrava Reference 96 is the design standard today. In 1932 there was nothing else like it, characterised by its pure lines, round case, supreme elegance and timeless understated perfection.
The Reference 96 was initially launched in 1932 with a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, because at this point Patek Phillipe usually bought in its wristwatch its movements. However in 1934, the Jaeger-LeCoultre movement was replaced by Patek’s new in-house calibre, the 12”’120, developed under the direction of Jean Pfister, who was in charge of the technical department where these were created. He was tasked with making the initial drawings for the new calibres – the first of which was the 12-120.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava model reference 96 was hugely successful and remained in production for over 40 years. By far the majority of these were quite naturally produced with gold case. The example you see here is one of the very rare models manufactured in stainless steel of which, less than 100 were produced.
This extremely rare and highly sought after watch comes complete with a Patek Philippe presentation box and an original Extract from the archives which dates this watch correctly to 1945.
This year celebrates the 90th anniversary since the Patek Philippe Calatrava model was first released.
This beautiful, rare Patek Philippe is completely original, unrestored and untouched. This dial carries the original, unrestored ‘pencil’ hour indices which are swept wonderfully by the original ‘leaf’ hands, all completed with a perfectly proportioned subsidiary seconds dial at 6 that carries a blued steel leaf hand. All of these perfect features complete this dial and makes the watch very easy to read when upon the wrist.
The dial is simply signed with ‘Patek Philippe & Co’ and ‘Geneve’ at the very top of the dial just below 12.
As mentioned above, the dial is original and unrestored and we have elected to leave this untouched by our restoration team. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left untouched.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
Many will be surprised that Patek Philippe almost did not survive the Great Depression and Wall Street crash of the early 1930s. Fortunately, the company was saved by the Swiss, Stern family, which still owns the company today. One of Charles Stern’s early and important decisions as Chairman was to cease the practice of buying in movements from Jaeger-LeCoultre for its Calatrava collection, introduced earlier in 1932. This is important because the Patek Calibre 12-120 movement we see here was the direct result of this decision. Indeed, it was the first Patek Philippe movement fitted in the Calatrava, which subsequently became its most successful line of watches ever. The Calibre 12-120 is one of two versions, the 12-120 with the subsidiary seconds dial as seen here, and the 12-400 with a centre seconds design. The movement has 18 Jewels, a Breguet hairspring and a power reserve of 44 hrs.
As can be seen, this movement is in spectacular condition. The Geneva wave finishing on the bridge and plates and the bevelled edging throughout was all applied by hand, 70 years ago, and looks as beautifully bright and fresh today as one could ever wish. This movement is in A1 condition indicating this watch has been properly cared for and regularly serviced.
The movement has been fully overhauled and serviced by a Master Watchmaker. This means dismantling the movement to each of its component parts, careful inspection under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine parts, then careful reassembly and adjustment, before final calibration in 5 positions. The movement winds sets and runs accurately and reliably and at final testing and calibration, it was running within +9 seconds per day, averaged over 5 positions. This is outstanding for any watch of this age. We are therefore highly confident in offering our 12-month warranty* with this watch.
The movement is all correctly signed, ‘Patek Philippe & Co.’, ‘Geneve’ and ‘Swiss’, with the Calibre number 12-120.
As can be seen in the photographs, the Patek Philippe extract from the archives, applied for and included in the sale, indicates this watch was manufactured in 1945 and first sold on November 6th 1945.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
As mentioned above, Patek Philippe only produced around 100 model 96 in stainless steel making this watch extremely rare. The example you see here measures 31mm, excluding the correct unsigned crown making this watch a good size for the period. The case you see here, is in incredible condition, the bezel, lugs and case back have no dinks, marks or scratches, therefore it has taken just a gentle polish to bring this watch back to sparkling condition.
The condition of the three-piece case is outstanding, indicating the watch has seen only light and careful use. It is as sturdy and tight as the day it was made, with all parts pressing together with a very firm click.
Inside the case, the case-back all is signed correctly and as expected, ‘Patek Philippe & Co.’, ‘Geneve’, ‘Swiss’, with stainless steel, the inside of the case-back also has the model reference number 96.
As always, our standard advice applies: vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with a high quality black genuine leather strap with a plain stainless steel buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black straps in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs.
The Box and Papers
This watch comes complete with the original Extract from the Archives which dates this watch correctly to 1945.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
This watch comes complete with a Patek Philippe presentation box as shown in the photographs.
If you would like to pay by bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.
Here we have a truly rare and highly sought after, vintage gold dress watch from horology’s most revered name which is truly a thing of beauty – to wear, use, treasure and enjoy. It will also make an excellent investment and family heirloom piece. Even though Patek prices continue to rise inexorably, we feel outstanding examples such as this remain undervalued, particularly when compared to a new Patek Philippe. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage Patek Philippe watches expands, availability will become ever more limited, meaning prices are destined only to climb ever higher!
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We, therefore, consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.