You never know what you’re going to see during auction season. A few moments ago, the team at Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, presented to me a very special one-of-a-kind example of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5270 that will be auctioned off on November 7, 2022, at the biannual Children Action Gala.
The watch in question is a unique piece of Patek’s current flagship perpetual calendar chronograph, cased in titanium (!), with an emerald green sunburst dial (!!). The watch will be on display over the next few days during the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XV preview at Hotel La Reserve on the outskirts of Geneva.
If you’re wondering what makes this watch so special, it really boils down to the choice of case metal. Patek Philippe makes very few wristwatches out of lightweight titanium, and the few times they’ve done so over the years have typically been for charity auctions, such as Only Watch. There was a Sky Moon Tourbillon in titanium that sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, and you might remember that titanium versions of the 5004 and the 5208T-010 each achieved massive prices at Only Watch in 2013 and 2017, respectively. A Patek Calatrava Travel Time 5524 in titanium was also sold to benefit Children Action. But this is the very first time a 5270 will be cased in titanium.
Add in the use of a first-of-its-kind green dial and the fact that it will be auctioned off at Children Action, and you have the kind of watch that should generate serious attention (and a serious sum of money) when it goes to auction.
In 1994, Swiss entrepreneur Bernard Sabrier established Children Action, a charity that’s dedicated to making a difference in the lives of impoverished children around the world. Every two years, the charity hosts a gala that auctions off a small selection of goods to support the charity’s various causes. The gala sometimes contains auctions, and sometimes it doesn’t. (You might recall a few days ago when I broke down the Geneva Watch Auction XV catalog, Phillips will be auctioning off a unique F.P. Journe Octa Zodiaque that was sold in 2005 to benefit Children Action.) It’s worth noting here that Phillips will not be hosting the Children Action auction in November; however, the watch will be on display during the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XV preview, which starts today and runs till May 8. Aurel Bacs, master auctioneer and impresario of the Phillips Watch Department, has been selected by Sabrier and the charity to lead the charity auction.
“There are children in this world who need medical care and education,” Bacs said while presenting the watch to me earlier this afternoon. “There’s nothing more beautiful than when we can all come together and create a certain amount of funds to do good. Mr. [Thierry] Stern has made a watch that I think you and I can only speculate as to what type of records it may or may not smash. It’s wonderful.”
That’s everything we know about the watch’s background, but the good intent behind the project only matters if the watch itself is attractive enough to catch enough collectors’ eyes. I think that, in fact, is where the watch excels.
While it’s hard to top the Tiffany Blue 5711, the brand-new emerald sunburst dial on the 5270T-010 might even be more attention-grabbing thanks to its eye-popping Soleil finish. In the few moments I was able to inspect the piece, it was remarkable how the color transitioned with the light, from a light green tone to a more electric color, and even a saturated look that’s almost turquoise or teal in its coloration.
I’ll note here that the watch has a completely different effect than the olive green of last year’s Nautilus 5711/1A-014 and the darker shade of green used on the platinum 5270 we saw recently at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022. Other than the case metal, the polished titanium case is identical in shape and architecture to previous editions of the 5270. Finally, although it’s difficult to discern in the images we snapped when we viewed the watch earlier today, there’s a metalized inscription imprinted on the sapphire crystal caseback that reads “Children Action 2022,” although the watch will also be delivered with an interchangeable solid titanium caseback to that can be used instead.
Sometimes a watch is just a watch. But then there are times a watch is able to change lives through charity. This is another of those rare occasions where the proceeds that come from this unique Patek Philippe sale will leave an indelible mark on the lives of young people around the world.