Serpico Y Laino Dial ‘Tasti Tondi’ 1463 Patek Philippe in Pink Gold
When you start to describe a 1463, you’re not talking about a watch. You’re talking about a cornerstone in the pantheon of great chronographs. One cannot discuss the greats of whisky without mentioning Islay and, similarly, one can’t talk about the greats of chronographs and not mention the 1463. If you needed to know only the three most significant manual chronographs ever made, they’d probably all be described in four digits, amusingly: 2915, 6240 (actually quite hard to decide which Daytona to list here, maybe 6263? 6239?), and 1463. I can’t see an honest argument for any other trio, but will make honorable mentions for the 13ZN, Carrera, Navi, and even Datograph. The 1463 may never be bested; Port Ellen sherry cask with an escapement.
The Tasti Tondi was Patek’s first water resistant chronograph, succeeding the previous iconic 530 chronograph in 1940. The improvements were characterized by a larger case, rounded pushers, and a screwdown caseback. Some call this Patek’s first ‘sports’ watch, though it is a bit of a stretch. That 35.5mm case was manufactured by Francois Borgel with some delightfully intricate, fluted, and oversized chronograph pushers to accomplish water resistance. As with most watches, the Italians got to naming it first: ‘Tasti Tondi’ (tondi meaning round pushers in Italian). Since then, the reference has achieved a grail status for collectors, justly so.
This 1463, though, needs context. There are thought to be 750 Tasti Tondis, across all metals. Of those, 145 were manufactured in this pink gold. Just 55 are known today. But then this is pink-on-pink, with a pink gold dial that happens to be signed by Venezuelan retailer Serpico Y Laino. There are four known 1463s that are Serpico signed. That means it’s straight unobtainium, not just us but most of the mega-wealthy crowd as well. Aurel Bacs will be tempting you to bid not just against an oil magnate, but investment funds. This is blue chip.
But for all the many watches which are simply unattainable, I’m nonetheless glad they exist. In the same way that I won’t be courting Vanessa Kirby any time soon, but the world would be a worse place without her. It’s Patek’s first screw-back chronograph; genesis. A Francois Borgel case at a modernish 35.5mm. Fluted pushers. Enough variation inter-example to make a prog rock look uninspired. Mostly though, I love the fact that Carroll Shelby owned one. Because if racing aggressively tuned 427 Cobras or GT40s at Le Mans while popping nitroglycerin pills wasn’t enough to get your heart racing, a glance down at Carroll’s wrist certainly would. Bet you didn’t expect that twist.
This example still has crisp hallmarks on a cleaned but nonetheless still very lovely dial. There’s a bit of gold oxidation on the bezel that is totally normal, and the lugs are still quite well defined. There is a slight blemish to the outer track of the dial above the B of BASE as well, worth noting. It’s a dream Tasti Tondi and will likely do big numbers, be prepared.