Think of Patek Philippe and you usually think of exceedingly rare models selling for well over a million dollars at Christie’s and Bonhams auctions. But not every Patek Philippe watch is hopelessly out of reach. There are quite a few beautiful models from the 1940s and 50s still readily available online for something approaching bargain prices.
The 1940s produced Ref 1588 in 18k yellow gold is a typical example. It’s a rare watch, but not so rare that it isn’t turning up on Ebay and quite regularly on various auction sites.
It’s slim, elegant lines are typical of the era, you just have to adjust yourself to the fact that watches from this time were so much smaller than they are today. Come to that, in pre-fat explosion USA and Britain, people were much smaller too.
The Ref 1588 is a man’s watch but it measures just 23mm x 38mm. It could easily pass as a woman’s watch in the modern era.
It runs on an 18 jewel Cal 19’’’90 manual wind movement with a bimetallic compensation balance and Breguet balance spring.
The silvered dial features hourly applied rose gold faceted chevron markers and quarterly Roman numerals, with sub seconds at six o’clock, and rose gold sword hands. Perhaps one of the most attractive and striking features is the watch case, which is sculpted in a Pagoda style.
This particular model being sold on Ebay at the moment has a mint clean case back and the numbered movement looks in pretty good condition too.
The asking price is $10,999. Is that a bargain? Well, shop around and you will get a feel for the price. The same model sold two years ago for $13,000. If you want to do more research on this, or any other Patek Philippe watch, an excellent source is Mondani Editore’s authoritative and comprehensive three volume study on Patek Philippe called Collecting Nautilus and other Patek Philippe watches. The set may cost you close to 1000 Euros, but it’s a wise investment prior to splashing out large money online on a vintage Patek.