This One-of-a-Kind Patek Philippe is Heading to Auction—and It Can Be Yours for HK$78 Million
An all-out bidding war is expected for this rare “Heures Universelles” wristwatch.
BY P.Ramakrishnan  |  April 29, 2024
2 Minute Read

Patek Philippe 18K Yellow Gold Dual-Crown World Time Wristwatch Ref.2523

On 26 May, Christie’s Hong Kong will present a highly anticipated live auction when a rare Patek Philippe wristwatch will take to the stage. An intricate timepiece depicting a map of Eurasia on a polychrome cloisonné enamel dial, the dazzling 18-carat yellow-gold Dual-Crown World Time Wristwatch Ref. 2523, rendered in violet, turquoise, gold, dark blue, and green, is striking from every angle, and set to be one of the most coveted accessories in recent times as the estimated price hovers between HK$39 million and HK$78 million.

As a leading watch capital, Hong Kong is one of few cities privy to this rare timepiece—only one of three known to exist—which has been preserved in mint condition since 1955. If the estimate numbers seem amplified, even for Patek Philippe’s lofty standards, there’s a reason why—there has been a chronology of high watermark auctions in recent years that have elevated the numbers to such dizzying heights. In May 2023, a wristwatch from 1955, in yellow gold with a cloisonné dial showing the North American continent, peaked at HK$66.6 million during Christie’s Hong Kong’s 20th–21st Century Art Evening Sale.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

A striking timepiece with a blue enamel dial, the Patek Philippe “L’Heure Bleue,” a one-of-a-kind “Heures Universelles” Dual-Crown World Time in rose gold dating back to 1953 with “Gobbi Milano” stamped on the dial, was another one for the books. Gobbi Milano, a distinguished watch and jewellery store in Milan that opened in 1842, was the original touchstone for refined accessories, and the Patek timepieces sold through the legendary business were often printed with the store’s insignia, a rare feat in cross-branding that is now coveted by collectors. It went for HK$70.175 million. A Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime set a record when the hammer slammed at HK$242.7 million at Christie’s in Geneva just five years ago—making it the most expensive watch ever sold (as we go to publish).

Patek Philippe“L’Heure Bleue” (Ref. 2523)

And now, all eyes are darting toward 26 May 2024. Bearing historical significance, preserved in near-flawless condition, and on auction for the first time in two decades—collectors the world over are expected raise their placards for what promises to be an all-out bidding war. 

An incredible team of legendary craftsmen worked on this masterpiece. Housed within the casing is the 12 400 HU movement created by Antoine Gerlach, with two 18-carat gold crowns made by Boninchi Frères. Stern Frères supplied the grand feu enamel artistry for the world time dial, while Marguerite Koch worked on the cloisonné enamel map.

Auspiciously, exactly a year ago, Christie’s set a global record for the most expensive watch auctioned online with the US$5.8 million (HK$45.5 million) sale of an ultra-rare Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon. Will there be an equally jaw-dropping moment that’ll beam around the world with the Patek Philippe’s Dual-Crown World Time Wristwatch?

All images Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2024