Sotheby’s has auctioned off Andy Warhol’s pink gold Patek Philippe ref. 2526, and while it is a beauty, there’s quite a bit of history behind the reference. With a superior dial and an exceptional movement, there’s a lot to love here.
When the ref. 2526 was released in the early 1950s brand marketing described their first automatic system, the calibre 12”’600, as, “The famous 18k gold rotor that glides like a swan on a clear lake.” Isn’t that poetic? Don Draper would be proud. The quality of this movement cannot be understated as even the slightest wrist movement would charge the 40-hour power reserve.
The dial is perhaps what the ref. 2526 is most recognised for. The original marketing described the dial as “double-baked enamel on sterling disc.” Enamel is a prized dial material because it’s designed to last forever. It isn’t susceptible to oxidation and moisture damage like metal dials.
On Warhol’s watch, the dial is known as a first series dial, distinguished by the small dimples on the surface that can be seen underneath the top and bottom of each baton hour marker. The reason for these dimples is that the hour markers are set into the dial itself using pins, while later dials have the hour markers glued to the enamel surface.
This watch was originally discovered and sold in 1988 as part of the Andy Warhol Collection Part II. This sale occurred when a compartment in the bottom drawer of Warhol’s cabinet was discovered during the dismantling of his townhouse holding a large number of gemstones, designer jewellery, and watches.
Warhol didn’t just have the ref. 2526, but several others from Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Cartier. In fact, he owned two ref. 2526’s, one in yellow gold with Breguet numerals and the pink gold.
Unfortunately for potential buyers, this watch has already sold at auction for an undisclosed amount estimated between $40,000 – $60,000 USD.
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