I’ve got a thing for classic dress watches in general and Patek Philippe Calatravas in particular, so I get excited when I see a real classic come up for auction. Such is the case with this Ref. 5015 Moon Phase Power Reserve: It’s not technically a Calatrava, but it features all the best elements of that line. Starting at just €7,000, who’s bidding?
When I did my tour of the Calatrava line, I discussed my favorite elements of that classic model:
- Classic proportions (under 38 mm and thin)
- Separate lugs
- Small seconds
- A micro-rotor automatic movement
- A transparent case back
- An “officer’s” or “hunter” hinged solid back
Although this watch has a few elements I don’t love (the hobnail bezel, Arabic numerals, and screwed lugs), it comes a lot closer than any other contemporary Calatrava. And it’s not (technically) part of that family!
The 35.5 mm case is similar to the contemporary Ref. 5053 “Officer’s Watch” but has a single row of hobnail decorations around the bezel. The enamel dial has an old-fashioned look to it, with radially-aligned “half-flipped” numerals rather than the sedate vertical arrangement common on Calatrava models. And the spade-style hour hand really says “grandfather’s pocket watch”!
Then there are the complications. No Calatrava should have a complication of any kind in my opinion, but this one has a moon phase dial at 7:00 and a power reserve dial at 10:30, with the subsidiary seconds shifted to 4:30 to make room. That moon phase decoration is really excessive, with a coaxial two-ended hand and colored pips duplicating the classic lunar disc. How odd for Patek to go to such excess on such a small watch?
But this was a special piece for Patek Philippe, so I’m not surprised they went overboard. This was the first time Patek equipped any watch without a perpetual calendar with a moon phase indicator. Indeed, this one lacks a date entirely! Yet it’s still a special complication, accurate to 122 years and capable of being set forward and back with precision.
The watch uses my favorite modern Patek Philippe movement, Cal. 240/152. The gorgeous, perfectly-decorated movement is visible behind the hinged “hunter” case back through a sapphire window. Be prepared to be mesmerized by that tiny but substantial 22 karat gold rotor! This amazingly-thin movement is the workhorse of high-end Patek Philippe watches, from the Calatrava to the complications, and has proven itself worthy. But some Ref. 5015 owners have had issues with that ground-breaking moon phase complication, so the buyer should be sure to get the watch serviced!
This particular Patek Philippe Ref. 5015 is listed in Auctionata’s January 11, 2017 auction. They estimate that it will sell for a surprisingly-low € 14,000, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for 50% more than that. Similar examples sell for over $20,000 these days, and this one does include the original case, box, tool, and brochure. I don’t see mention of the original paperwork, however. And the cheap Hirsch strap and fake-gold buckle are all wrong! Happily the lot also includes the original gold pin buckle so this can be rectified.
I don’t spot any serious issues with this watch, so I will estimate a € 20,000 sale price and a very happy buyer!
Update: Sold for € 15,000! A steal!
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