It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom and mesmerizing watches. Undoubtedly, the mid 20th century was the golden era of fine watch-making and a landmark for the long-lasting history of Patek Philippe: the king of them all, had created his very first waterproof chronograph. Such introduction would be made for no other reference than the much sought 1463, or else “Tasti Tondi” as described by Italian collectors for its “Round Pushers”, whose production is being tracked at the beginning of 1940s.
Patek Philippe Steel 1463 by Onlyvintage
With a life span of 25 years, one would expect that such reference would thrive in today’s market but Patek Philippe ruled for the rest of us in a more minimalistic way. It is estimated that only 750 watches were produced in total, with the majority of them being cased in yellow gold, exactly as the times commanded and much fewer in steel as well as rose gold. In general, the characteristic features of 1463 are the screwback case, instead of the more usual snapback, as well as round pushers with engraved ends and an average 35mm dial with a 14mm thickness. For the time, such reference was pretty groundbreaking, especially for the choice of thickness which can be explained by the sporty mentality of the watch and its additional details such as domed crystal and internal dust protector for the movement.
Patek Philippe Steel 1463 by Onlyvintage
The few examples made in steel, were produced occasionally over this period of 25 years and this is exactly what makes them so special: each example represents a different period of time, able to tell a different story and to reflect the evolution of Patek Philippe in terms of the dials and case configurations over these years. Steel 1463 can be found with silver, black or two-toned dials with a variety of hands such as leaf, dauphine or even luminous. Another interesting variation can be also found in the numerals, most commonly found with Arabic or Roman. The most beautiful pieces though, come with the elegant “Breguet” numerals and it is said that less than 20 examples exist in the world today.
Patek Philippe Pink gold ref 1463 by Onlyvintage
For the fans of historic details, two stories travel us back in time, both on the soil of the United States. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller offered a watch to his counsel Roswell B. Perkings in 1959 as gratitude for his services. The watch, a 1463 in yellow gold, carried the engravings of the gesture: “R. B. P, Jan. 1 – Mar. 25, 1959, N.A.R.”. A few years later, in November 22 1963 the world missed a heartbeat over the news of the assassination of the 35th president of the US: John F. Kennedy. It is said that the time of his death was pronounced after the doctor who examined him, looked down on his yellow gold Patek Philippe 1463.
Patek Philippe 18 kt yellow gold ref 1463 with Breguet numerals by Onlyvintage
Either you are a gold enthusiast or a passionate for steel, this reference can make your royal dreams come true. For most collectors, it is the beauty of contrasts that captivates their interest and the 1463 could not better embrace its fundamental opposites: extremely complicated mechanism with the fine simplicity of lines. Nonetheless, the steel version being showcased today, earns the favors and can be priced up to $500,000 as in the 2013 auction at Christie’s. This May, we anticipate for May 14th and the Lot 17 where Phillips will auction an ultra-rare 1463 in steel, manufactured in 1955. What makes it unique, is the signing of Freccero & Cia on the dial, Freccero being a retailer of Patek Philippe at the time.
Patek Philippe ref. 1463 “Frecerro” in stainless steel and two-tone silvered dial, 1955. Sold by Phillips in May 2016 for CHF 605,000 (approx. 562,000€). Discover more at www.phillips.com
No matter if the present auction exceeds the span of estimation which currently accounts for $359,700 to $719,500 or not, remember that any given amount does not make you the owner of this piece but the guard, to “merely look after it for the next generation”.
Author: Luca Balella