Owning a Patek Philippe watch is a memorable milestone for every watch collector. Owning a Patek Philippe Reference 2523 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that literally only a couple of individuals can claim they have had. It’s one of those extremely rare timepieces that usually remain in private collections for decades that would maybe, only so often, would change hands. What’s even more unheard of is the discovery of a previously unknown Reference 2523 to come up for auction.
And yet, this is exactly what’s happening this May in Switzerland.
Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo just announced that the highlight of the upcoming The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII is an exquisite Patek Philippe yellow gold reference 2523. The auction house calls the timepiece “a time capsule, depicting an immaculate polychrome cloisonné enamel dial, rendered in fantastical hues of marine blue, gold, green and turquoise.”
The history of this newly discovered watch goes back to 1953 when it was first launched. Of the eleven known Reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dials today, five feature North America, three feature South America, and three Eurasia. One of these three is in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, and the other two in private collections.
“The present reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial is truly the end game for many collectors. Arguably, it is difficult to find a more abused term in the world of watch collecting, but this is the one instance where the word can be used with its original undiluted meaning: the present watch is—simply put—one of the most sought-after, unobtainable, attractive and fabled timepieces in the world,” stated in a press release Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, head of watches for continental Europe and the Middle East.
The watch in question features a 36mm case, a novelty at the time of its launch, with two crowns and a city ring embedded in the dial rather than the bezel.
The auction house points out that the last time a Reference 2523 with a Eurasian map has appeared on the market was almost two decades ago. The timepiece is expected to fetch at least $3.7 million.
The last time a watch of similar rarity and importance was auctioned was last year when a Patek Philippe reference 2523/1 sold for $2.5 million.