Patek Philippe 130 in Double Yellow Gold
The Beatles are not remembered as they are today for their outright technical skill. Nor are they forever loved simply for being handsome, though they certainly had that in spades. The Beatles aren’t even remembered as they are for merely innovating, treading new musical territory. The Beatles are the most influential band ever because when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr came together, magic lingered between them in the air. They did all the things I just listed also; undoubtedly, they practiced until their fingers bled, looked after themselves, and created that which had never been heard before. Yet, musicians had done that before. We know every line of Abbey Road because the four coalesced into a sum far greater than its parts. Some analogies write themselves. So meet Patek’s Abbey Road.
As Patek’s first chronograph produced at meaningful scale, the 130 holds a special place in many collector’s hearts. It also happens to be one of their most diverse and longest-reaching vintage production runs ever. The design was given space to evolve from 1934 until 1964, with changes going so far as to include different calibres entirely. Despite the long-lived production, overall numbers are still very low at an estimated 1500 examples. Yellow gold cases were most common, but matched dials are considerably rarer.
The 130 is often known as the Calatrava chronograph for its case design, which maintained a relatively flat bezel like Patek’s time only offerings. This design reflects its history. All chronographs previous to this were almost entirely constrained to pocket watches. Released to much success, it is a sort of of-its-era-Nautilus with on-wrist sporting pretensions. Patek took their Calatrava wristwatch case, altered it, and made a very early wrist-worn chrono. The 33mm case is elegant with long lugs and squared off pushers. Interestingly, case shapes changed depending on the metal and calibre Patek was using at time of production. Its matched yellow gold dial incorporates classic applied dual-roman and pip indices. Often, more worn dials of this construction can turn toffee in color with long sun exposure. This one is just starting to turn brown. If you want an iconic vintage chronograph that sings, there’s magic in how this one came together.
Yellow gold cases of this era are notoriously soft. One should understand that this watch has lived a life for the better part of a century. There is even surface wear throughout and the lugs have seen a polish. However, proportions are still there and the hallmark is clearly present. The dial is a standout for its classic Roman style and multi-scale track; most collectors prefer either this or individual Breguet numerals. It comes as a naked watch, service history not mentioned, but from a very well-regarded retailer in Switzerland.
Find this yellow gold 130 here from Vintage Watches Zermatt for 72300 USD.