In-Depth: The Patek Philippe 2526, And Why It's A Watch To Pay Attention To

The Patek Philippe 2526 has for quite some time been the younger sibling, nay, elderly person in the family of vintage Patek Calatravas. It’s not very sexy like a two-tone 570, or athletic like a steel 565. Nor was it the very first Calatrava like the little 96. What the 2526 is, as I would see it, is a standout amongst other buys in vintage Patek at this moment, if not all of vintage watches. In this report, I’ll advise you why.

But before I do that, I need to clarify what I mean by “outstanding amongst other buys” in watches. Do I mean it’s a deal? No, on the grounds that no vintage Patek over the cost of $10,000 is a deal, really. Do I mean they ought to be worth more? Not really, however in some way or another, I do accept the 2526 ought to be more costly than it is. What I mean is that offers its proprietor a huge measure of beguile with its lovely 36 mm, screw-back case; specialized ability, with Patek’s standout type 12-600AT; and added an incentive in its twice-prepared veneer dial. What’s more, in light of the fact that the previous time-onlys – the 570s and 565s – are so hot at this moment, I think the 2526 is really being ignored. We should burrow a little deeper.

What Is The 2526 And Why Does It Matter?

The 2526 is really only one model among a small bunch that utilized Patek Philippe’s very first self-winding type – 12-600 AT – however many allude to the 2526 similar to Patek’s first programmed. I don’t debate this, yet I simply couldn’t say whether the 2526 hit the market before the 2552 and other self-winding watches utilizing a similar development. Incidentally, the equivalent could be said for the Heuer Monaco – for years individuals considered it the main self-winding chronograph, when truth be told it was only one of a few Heuers to hit the market in 1969, all of which utilized a similar type 11. The quality of this development is one explanation the 2526 is so uncommon, yet it isn’t the sole explanation. The 2526 has various other distinctive qualities that raise it about its friends that share a similar 12-ligne, self-winding type. What right? All things considered, how about we talk development first, and afterward we’ll get into the rest.

The Best Time-Only Movement In The World (Maybe Of All Time?)

Okay, how about we examine how the type 12-600 AT affects Patek. Dispatched in 1953, it’s a 12-ligne development, roughly 6 mm in measurement, and programmed. In this way, you have the name 12-600 AT. It was Patek Philippe’s very first self-winding development, dispatched somewhere in the range of 22 years after Rolex protected its interminable component. This is important on the grounds that it was not as though it took Patek a decent twenty years to find Rolex – it was that Rolex had a multi decade patent on the instrument, so Patek, and anyone else besides, was legally disallowed from selling a full-rotor, self-winding development like this.

Rolex’s first self-winding type, licensed in 1931.

So, in the event that you accept Patek started dealing with the 12-600 AT not long after Rolex licensed their development, you can envision the time and length to which they went to separate their type from the Rolex development. And keeping in mind that they are both standout types, the Patek 12-600 AT is a few stages above what we see from Rolex, to where many individuals promote the 12-600 AT as maybe the best self-winding type ever made.

The 12-600 AT highlights Patek’s Gyromax balance wheel (first presented in 1951), which is a movable dormancy balance. A Gyromax equilibrium’s change screws are not, as is usually the situation, outwardly of the edge – all things being equal, they are actually recessed into the edge of the wheel. Also, they’re not actually screws – all things being equal, the Gyromax balance utilizes level, rotatable planning loads. The Gyromax balance stays a brand name of Patek Philippe even today. We see a swan-neck controller and self-compensating Breguet-style balance spring. Separate chickens are utilized for the equilibrium wheel, get away from wheel, and fourth wheel, while the third and focus wheels are joined to an enormous scaffold, which likewise hold the bearing for one of the development’s generally significant and important highlights – the 18 karat gold rotor. The rotor, arguably the very initially designed rotor ever, is as yet the benchmark for improvement. Including a staggering motor turned theme, the lovely “PP” peak at focus was utilized as the motivation for Patek Philippe’s own seal of quality presented in 2009, supplanting the Geneva seal on all Patek watches .

“With great consideration, and after ‘individual’ acclimation to your own wrist, the most extreme variety is only 1 second in 24 hours.”


– Period Brochure For The Patek Philippe 2526

The type beats at 19,800 vph, is acclimated to five positions, warmth and cold, and isochronism. Gracious, and it includes a tremendously astounding 30 gems! This was roughly twofold what most developments included at that point. What’s more, on the off chance that we take a gander at the type discovered inside the 5196 (arguably the cutting edge observe nearest to the 2526), we see that its type 215PS has only 18 gems. It’s manually twisted, so it ought to in theory have less, yet even the programmed type 324 today has 29 gems .

In a period handout for the 2526, the development is depicted as being of exceptionally excellent, with the level profile of the Gyromax balance achieving unrivaled aerodynamic attributes with absolutely logical amendment of the development’s presentation. As indicated by the pamphlet, after guideline, the watch ought to have a greatest variety of only one second out of every day. Consider that. One second per day! In 1953!

And the wrapping up! Take a gander at the 12-600 AT – crazy inclines, wide and faultless Geneva strips, and that rotor that we referenced? Come on. That must be the most delightful rotor at any point made, with motor turning in progressively more tight examples as you move from the periphery to the middle point. 

Now you may say, “I’ve seen better completed developments,” and today, maybe you have. However, consider that this watch turned out in 1953, and this work was done completely by hand – and consider that sapphire case backs didn’t become a thing until 40 years after the fact, which implies Patek was accomplishing this work for nobody yet the individuals who might likely be their own watchmakers as it were. The clients couldn’t see the all the hand-work that went into the completing of this development like they can today, however Patek did it anyway. How extraordinary is that?

In composing this story and investigating the 2526 over the previous year or thereabouts, I’ve addressed many individuals about the watch and its type. The agreement, among the six or so prepared watchmakers I’ve addressed, is that the Patek Philippe type 12-600AT is one of the untouched greats. One watchmaker, who is acclaimed for adjusting the most amazing aspect the best, had this to say: “Today, the very best self-twisting type on the planet is the Lange type L021.1 discovered inside the Daymatic . In the event that Patek actually made the 12-600AT, the Lange would be in second place.”

The 12-600AT was suspended in roughly 1960 after around 7,000 units were made across a modest bunch of references. Furthermore, however it not an ideal development, some would say it’s as near an ideal programmed development as anyone has at any point worked, to this day.

A Dial Meant To Last Forever

So the 2526 has an incredible development, however there’s considerably more to a watch than what makes it run. The other easy-to-characterize attribute of the 2526 that makes it so extraordinary is its dial – by far most of which are twice-prepared polish! Veneer dials are, right up ’til the present time, a very exceptional thing, and when a watch hits the market with a finish dial, authorities instantly observe ( model A , model B ). Once more, lacquer is utilized sparingly today since it is fragile and hard to deliver – it’s fairly luxurious now, however Patek decided to utilize finish on the 2526 for an alternate explanation; it would last forever.

Yes, in a similar period pamphlet for the 2526, it peruses: “The dial, of prepared polish, is impenetrable to the activity of outside specialists, for example, discoloring delivered by daylight.” Essentially, Patek needed to a make a watch that would keep going forever, and as we’ve seen, most dials from the 1950s were anything however impervious to the external components. It is the veneer dial of the 2526 that I accept really hoists this reference to something very exceptional – the eggshell shade of the lacquer utilized by Patek is simply divine. 

Can a finish dial wind up appearing as though what you see above? Certainly, yet I think the delicacy of these dials is vastly exaggerated. It is safe to say that they are more delicate than a typical metal dial? Certainly, however it would take a ton to deliver breaks like you see above, and the potential gains far exceed the odds of your ideal Calatrava transforming into a broke mess.

Image courtesy of Antiquorum.

Image courtesy of Antiquorum.

It is critical to take note of that not all 2526s accompanied lacquer dials. Truth be told, arguably the most unique dials you can discover on a 2526 are not veneer – incorporating all dials with jewel markers and the acclaimed “LBJ dials” that read “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” These are standard metal dials, and keeping in mind that the LBJ and precious stone dials are mainstream with a few, I really accept that on the off chance that you will claim one 2526, it ought to have a finish dial. 

Finally, what makes the way that the 2526 uses a finish so noteworthy is that this was a standard creation watch. It was anything but a restricted release, or some uncommon piece implied only for authorities, but instead the watch that Patek accept would be the foundation of their whole assortment. Essentially, the 2526 was expected to be everything extraordinary about watchmaking in one model. Show me a typical creation watch, at this scale, that utilizes a lacquer dial today. I don’t figure you can, but Patek did it 60 years ago.

Enormous, Bad Bracelets Everywhere

Another inquisitive quality of the 2526 is that a huge level of them were brought into the world with or sold with enormous gold wristbands. Once more, I accept the deduction here was that a gold wristband would keep going forever and offer the wearer the most tough and enduring lash choice conceivable. Any number of alternatives were accessible, however maybe the most common is the “G” wristband, which many call a “lobster” bracelet.

Lobster arm bands are marked PP on the fasten and fully endorsed within. Different arm bands, similar to the pink-gold wristband found underneath, are marked simply by Gay Frères. There is no unmistakable hierarchy with regards to desirability here, and many proprietors of 2526s simply could do without these, yet they do add something very uncommon to the watch that is undeniably interesting.

Further, these arm bands are valuable. To specific gatherers, these could be worth upwards of $20,000 all alone in today’s market, so I believe it’s fascinating to take note of that the 2526, everything being equal, was the one regularly sold with them.

The Ultimate Watch From The Ultimate Watchmaker At Its Very Best

The 2526 has so much pulling out all the stops – the remarkably top notch type that regards one second out of every day and completed to the nines, and the polish dial that today is only utilized on the most uncommon watches on the planet, are really the start. The twofold P crown that you see on the 2526 was presented for the type 12-600 AT and keeping in mind that it isn’t novel to this reference, it is probably most connected with it. This crown is simply excellent, and one of my undisputed top choice credits of the watch.

Then you have the genuine plan of the case and dial – which I would set up there with the very most amazing aspect them. The watch is a screw-back, which means it’s waterproof – something that was a genuine selling point in those days, and maybe considerably more so today. Screw-back watches are currently selling for huge expenses over their snap-back brethren, however regarding the 2526, the thicker case, combined with oneself winding development, causes for a considerably more significant to feel on the wrist than, say, a 565 or 570. 

The dial, with sub seconds, minute plots, and lovely dauphine emphasizes, is without defect, and the case, with its sharp yet bended hauls, is completely balanced.

What you have then in the 2526 is arguably the best time-only watch  Patek Philippe made in arrangement. The quality of the development, dial, and case  and dial plan, and its wrist presence, make the 2526 the encapsulation of Patek  Philippe in my conviction, and it was clearly intended to be a definitive  watch – promoting it as having “unchallenged supremacy.” And think about what – Patek estimated it that way, too.

The retail cost of the 2526 during the 1950s went from simply over CHF 2,000 for a yellow-gold watch on cowhide tie, to a surprising CHF 5,500 for a platinum adaptation with jewel markers. In the middle, there were rose, yellow, and white gold watches with lacquer dials, with and without wristband – however on the off chance that you expect the normal 2526 on arm band in a gold (not platinum) was around CHF 3,400, you begin to get the image. Why is that astonishing? Since the 2499 – an unending schedule with chronograph, the only one that existed on the planet at that point – sold for roughly CHF 3,800 at that point. In this way, a 2526 on arm band cost nearly as much as new as a 2499. Unfathomable to consider, yet again this brings back my prior point that the 2526 is and has always been, since the day Patek made it, something very special.

Gathering The 2526

I recollect the very first time I saw a Patek Philippe 2526 – I was strolling a manager from (actually, it was in those days) around a Patrizzi & Co. (Tear) review in New York. The editorial manager highlighted a yellow-gold 2526 and requested to see it. The expert from Patrizzi & Co. answered, “Gracious, you would prefer not to see that, that is an elderly person’s watch!” Okay. Sure. Yet, that has for quite some time been the overarching opinion toward the 2526 however long I’ve been in watches. It simply was definitely not a hot watch, and frankly it’s still not.

As I said in the very start, today a 570 in steel can sell for six figures with a plain, exhausting old dial. The early Calatravas – 570 and 565 (less significantly 96, 2508 and 2508) – are the thing individuals are searching for nowadays. I comprehend – hell, I’ve claimed a 2508 and I currently own a 565 – however shy of the astounding two-tone dialed watches, or out and out uber reference 530s, the 2526 is an undeniably more exceptional watch. Presently I’ve illustrated above what the realities are about the 2526 – its executioner development, dazzling heated polish dial, and awesome history all make the 2526 incredible, on paper. Yet, on the off chance that we know one thing about watch gathering, it’s that nothing bodes well – everything comes down to supply and request. At the present time, interest for the 2526 is relatively low, and this why I think it addresses a particularly phenomenal opportunity. I’ll walk you through the rudiments of gathering 2526s here.

Step by step instructions to Identify A First Series Dial

As I’ve said a couple of times currently, creating polish dials isn’t exactly something ordinary – that is why we only see them on very costly watches today. The very initial 2526 dials delivered have extraordinary attributes compared to the rest – the hour markers are actually set into the actual dial utilizing pins. All later dials are stuck to a strong veneer surface. Setting the markers into the actual dial end up being massively tricky, and Patek quickly deserted this training. You understand what this implies – any time there is a demonstrated thing to be troublesome and only accomplished for a brief period, authorities will need it. What’s more, that is clearly obvious here with the principal arrangement dials on the 2526. How might you tell in the event that you’re taking a gander at a first-arrangement dial? Turn it on a point and take a gander at the hour markers – you’ll see little dimples at the edge of every hour marker. Later dials will be completely level by the hour markers. Here’s a superior delineation of what I mean:

A first-arrangement dial missing an hour marker.

A later dial missing an hour marker.

The picture on the left shows what it would resemble if an hour marker were taken out from a first-arrangement dial. The picture on the correct shows the equivalent on a later dial – one is set into the actual dial, the other is stuck. This is the enormous contrast between finish dials, and keeping in mind that some sub-partition 2526 dials considerably further, I will in general consider it first arrangement (with dimples) as opposed to everything else. The previous dials are more uncommon and more alluring, however this is anything but a too significant thing when buying – even more something pleasant to have.

A Question Of Case Material

The 2526 was delivered in four metals: yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and platinum. Yellow gold is obviously the most common, and a yellow cased watch with finish dial is still probably your smartest option on the off chance that you need something like this without going through a lot money. They are out there, and you can discover them absent a difficult situation – again why I say right now is an ideal opportunity to buy. You’ll always need to guarantee the dial is without break and the case not very cleaned, yet these watches are an astounding buy simply for the watchmaking that they contain.

Rose-gold models are magnificent watches, and offer a ton of fascinate with the warm shade of the metal. Many of them were sold in South America, regularly at Caracas seller Serpico Y Laino. 

I end up reasoning that rose gold against the eggshell dial tone is a lovely combination, and these are fairly uncommon watches. A very genuine illustration of a rose-gold 2526 will set you back significantly more than one in yellow – however of course it’s a more alluring tone, and the believing is there is around one rose-gold 2526 for every eight yellow-gold models – and possibly even fewer. 

Then we have the white metals. Platinum and white gold 2526s are exceedingly hard to track down. Truth be told, by certain appraisals, we’ve seen under 25 platinum models ever, and under 20 in white gold have come to advertise. So we are talking absolutely little numbers here. Furthermore, I haven’t gotten to the way that by far most of white gold and platinum 2526s highlighted metallic dials with precious stone markers. 

The watch you see here is a 2526 in platinum – it sold at Phillips in November of a year ago for CHF 227,000, and many would concur this was a traditionalist cost for the watch. As per the reference, it is one of five known platinum models with a veneer dial. White-gold models could be much more uncommon with veneer dials. There was never a tempered steel cased 2526 – the nearest thing to this would’ve been the 2585, which utilized the extraordinary 12-600 AT, yet arrived in an alternate case and without polish dial. The last opportunity one came up we expounded on it here – and it subsequently sold for CHF 785,000 . On the off chance that a steel 2526 were at any point found, I believe most would agree it would sell for even more.

Twofold Signatures And Special Dials

As expressed, the two holy vessels of 2526 gathering would be a white gold  or platinum model, with an impeccable finish dial. They are, for all  intents and purposes, practically unobtanium. Astounding that we  actually saw one in Talking Watches with Matt Jacobson . There are a variety of various metal dials for the white gold and  platinum watches – all highlighting jewel markers. The 2526G or P with a  diamond dial is certainly not an everyday watch, but rather may be one of  the most exquisite watches on the planet. In any case, since they are more  common than lacquer dials, they sell for less notwithstanding the precious stone  indexes. The exemptions, nonetheless, would be a white-metal watch with a dark metal, jewel dial. Many consider these up there with white-metal, non-precious stone, polish dial models as the zenith of the 2526 family, and when they come up, they pull out all the stops .

The other highly collectible metal dial would be the Tiffany-marked watch that you see above, which peruses: “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” The story is that these watches w ere requested by LBJ prior to becoming President , as he was an unmistakable customer of Tiffany in New York. It ought to be noted it is likely these dials were not fitted by Patek, but rather by Tiffany after the offer of the watches to the Henri Stern Watch Agency – and all things considered, Patek has, of late, not been forthcoming with documents for such watches. Further, by far most of these watches have been re-dialed, so discovering one with great, fair patina on the dial and right content is very uncommon. As far as I might be concerned, these are the coolest and generally fascinating of the metal-dial 2526s.

Coming back to polish dials – there are twofold marked watches like this  first arrangement Serpico Y Laino in pink gold that sold recently at Phillips , which must be viewed as more uncommon and important than non-twofold marked watches. For Serpico Y Laino watches, always ensure there is an “S&L” trademark looking into the issue back – if there isn’t, it could mean the dial was traded to another case, or that the case was cleaned to the point that it is not, at this point noticeable. In any case, it’s a pass.

Oh, and keeping in mind that we’re on trademarks, all 2526s have a trademark between the 6 o’clock hauls, just as on the back of the carries. Make certain to see them to check how cleaned a case may be. 

Here is a photograph of three lacquer dial 2526s, all endorsed by Serpico Y Laino, and achingly uncommon with dark dial and in platinum.

Okay, back to dials – I figure what can be considered on a similar level as a white-metal, finish dial 2526 is anything with a confirmed  original dark veneer dial. You will discover dark dial 2526s out there – I  tend to consider them a once (maybe two times a) year occurence – however  the majority of them include dials that were added later. Yes, that is  possible, so you should guarantee that the watch was born with a dark dial, else it is a very extraordinary recommendation. Here, for instance, is the last dark dial 2526 to be sold publicly  prior to this previous end of the week, yet it was not brought into the world that way, and even  Christie’s announces that. It made $81,000 in November of 2015. 

This weekend, Phillips offered another 2526 with dark finish dial, this time affirmed brought into the world with said dial, and keeping in mind that a gauge of CHF 60,000 to 90,000 was offered, the outcome was significantly higher . That is a roughly $100,000 contrast between observes just dependent on a concentrate – astounding, however evident, and to be remembered whether somebody offers you a 2526 with an extraordinary dial; it’s nothing without confirmation.

Finally, there are a couple of known unique dial 2526s out there, and estimating those, while troublesome, ought to be done dependent on material and dial types. Andy Warhol, for instance, wore a 2526 in yellow gold with Breguet numbers . There have likewise been instances of dark lacquer dials with radiant Arabic hour markers, which I consider to be a portion of the most intriguing instances of the 2526.

What is flawless about the 2526 is that there really are many diverse dial types, and dissimilar to the 570s and 565s, relatively few are tracking. In this way, you could possibly gather up a very uncommon emphasis of the 2526 from a seller who doesn’t know exactly what he has.

Finally, a word about “sigma dials” – some would say that a 2526 with a dial that includes the “sigma” checking at 6 o’clock is likely a help dial. This implies the dial was traded by Patek and much of the time, it is presently don’t polish however a metallic dial canvassed in enamel. I’m not saying all sigma dial 2526s have lacquered rather than finish dials, however when buying, pay a lot nearer consideration regarding those with a sigma dial than those without. 

Feeling, Charm, And Wearability

Now, on to the completely emotional piece of this story. I personally love the 2526, on the off chance that you haven’t had the option to tell up until now. I think it is truly the finish of what makes mid-century Patek Philippe wristwatches so uncommon – the over-designed and utterly beautiful type, the dazzling and rich veneer dial, the faultless 36 mm waterproof case, and simply wonderful twofold P crown. Once more, the 2526 was truly expected to be the unapproachable time-only watch from Patek, a watch of “unchallenged supremacy,” and however present day tastes have pulled many away from it, I feel that portrayal remains constant today.

What’s more is the manner by which significant Patek saw the 2526 in its hey-day. It was the watch picked by a man who might be president, by Warhol, and the very initial 2526 was to be sure given to in all honesty super customer J.B. Champion. The 2526 was a revolutionary item in 1953, and one that simply would not be made today – there are an excessive number of components at play today for Patek to make a particularly extraordinary time-only watch, and value it in the midst of its complications. Today, the nearest thing we have to a 2526 is Lange’s Richard Lange Pour Le Mérite , and that was a 250 piece (across two metals) restricted edition.

Yes, I figure the days of immortal plans and pride in designing may be a relic of days gone by for many, incredible watch brands, however that doesn’t mean they can’t be discovered today. As I’ve said, a yellow-gold 2526 can be found at the cost of another Nautilus in steel – and which do you think has more handcraft, or even a superior story to tell? Further, the case size and state of the 2526 is simply awesome, thicker than a 570 and I think far and away superior adjusted, and the 2526 looks incredible on the two people (as you can see above – that is additionally a dealing tip to be utilized with the huge other).

The 2526 remaining parts today one of Patek Philippe’s generally lovely and enduring accomplishments – at any rate to my eye – and I trust that subsequent to perusing this story, you’ll agree.


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