Unless you’ve been hiding away from watch Instagram and living under a rock, you’ll probably be aware that Sotheby’s recent dropped the hammer on a ridiculous pink-on-pink 1518 for 9.5M. It was record across many facets and deserved win for one of the nicest men in our sphere, @jonbinla. However, as auction season wraps, one or two lots in mid-pages of the upcoming Phillips sale have missed the spotlight. One of them, this elegant thought-to-be-unique 591, deserves some ink spilled on its behalf.
Patek’s 591 succeeded the 530 and 533 series in 1938 as was intended to be entirely separate to anything the manufacture had made previous. The case grew to a (undersized by modern standards, oversized in 1940) 34mm diameter with angular and harsh transitions. Moreover, the lug profile changed entirely to a welded oval shape, giving it the moniker ‘Fagiolino’ (‘little bean’) from the Italian collecting set. This, the 1579, and a piece-unique 533 are the only Patek chronographs to feature these stylized lugs. The cases were made by none other the Wenger Geneva. Inside beats the 18800 vph calibre 13 with a 42 hour reserve.
The reference was produced in exceedingly small numbers, it is one of the lowest by volume Patek chronograph runs ever. There are 19 examples known in yellow gold, and 27 in this pink variety. There are no steel cases. This example, however, sports an extra dimension of rarity. Not only is the dial salmon in hue, but it is a pulsations scale. This watch was likely produced by request of an MD, who used its chronograph and pulsometric scale on the outer ring of the dial to measure patients’ heart rates. There is only one other known example with a salmon pink pulsations dial. As if that weren’t enough, the dial is also double-signed by retailer Walser Wald. This is the only known example with that trifecta.
The dial is this lot’s main attraction, and thankfully it is without blemish. All scales are legible and it appears unrestored. The case retains its sharp lines with a full lug profile. The case back is stamped uniquely, with a French/South American single-stamp owl. This is an odd bit of nuanced watch history, but look up case back stampings for foreign markets, you’ll be reading all evening. It comes with a reasonable estimate, for which it will almost certain sell well above.
Find this pink gold pulsations 591 here as part of Phillips 2021 New York Watch Auction set to hammer 11 Dec (estimated 46.3K-92.5K CHF).