The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO
7 & 8 November 2015, La Reserve
HIGHLIGHT: LOT 295
The reference 2497 holds special value to collectors, as it was the brand’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch made in series to feature center seconds.
In 1951, reference 2497 was first introduced slightly earlier than its water-resistant equivalent, the reference 2438/1. Due to their balanced symmetry, spectacular curves, and large case sizes, they are considered by many to be one of the most beautiful perpetual calendar wristwatches ever made.
Dials of the first series of reference 2497, as seen in the present example, were fitted with Arabic and dot raised hour markers, whereas models produced later feature faceted, baton hour markers. This wristwatch features a stunning silvered satin finished dial fitted with beautiful feuille hands.
The case style of the first series, produced by Vichet, stand out from later models that were made by Wenger, as the lugs were longer, with a prominent, accentuated curvature that was later minimized in more recent examples. The stepped claw- shaped lugs perfectly complement the beautifully matched, concave bezel and caseback – exhibiting perfect symmetry in design. The Vichet casebacks are additionally known for having a flat region in the center of the caseback, whereas Wenger-made casesbacks are rounded.
Scholarship tells us that there were a combined total of only 179 examples made across both references 2497 and 2438/1, with movement numbers spanning from 888.000 to 888.178. The present example with movement number 888.041 indicates that this was made in the first quarter of production, and quite possibly, one of the first amongst the 2497 reference. With the majority produced in yellow gold, this pink gold-cased example is exceedingly rare. There are only six examples of reference 2497 in pink gold known that are fitted with a flat Vichet caseback.
The engraving on the caseback reads "Peter S. Knoll, New York City, 1980", which interestingly enough, matches our scholarship indicating that Mr. Knoll, the second generation of the contemporary furniture pioneering family, purchased this piece during a New York watch auction in 1980. Based on the extract from the archives this watch sat as new old stock until it was purchased in 1970, 17 years after it was first manufactured, which helps to further explain how the watch has remained in exceptional condition.
As this is arguably one of the very best examples of any reference 2497 in pink gold to appear on the market, it is certain to impress even the most discerning collector.
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