There are not many watches where you can count the number of models existing on one hand. This Patek Philippe Heures Universelles pocket watch is one of those watches. It is, in fact, only the fourth of the Heures Universelles pocket watches known with a cloisonné enamel dial showing North America with a palm tree next to it.
This particular pocket watch was manufactured in 1948 and fitted with a silver dial. This one was later replaced by Patek Philippe for the current cloisonné enamel dial. Known under reference number 605 HU, these pocket watches were made from 1937 until the late 1960’s. They catered to a niche market, as by then the demand for pocket watches was greatly declining. This is why Patek Philippe never made a great deal of them, and also created custom dials for them.
The desirability of the cloisonné enamel dial is evident by the depth of colors and the beautiful details. Watches with these type of dials, pocket- or wristwatch, are among the most highly prized by Patek Philippe collectors. Combined with the “Cottier hands,” named after the watchmaker who created the world time complication for this watch, it gives the pocket watch an even more exotic look. This is in part also because of the world time complication. Keen observers will also note that both London as well as Paris, are in the same time zone. Although on June 15th, 1940, Paris actually joined the Central European Time Zone. It was however expected at the time that Paris would later convert back to GMT, so many of these watches were still made with a world time ring anticipating this.
The back of this pocket watch is actually engraved, testifying that it was given in 1968 to Joaquin Planell by Banco de Credito Industrial. Planell served as Minister of Industry from 1951 to 1962 under Franco, in which he played a vital part into revitalizing Spain’s industry. After this he joined Banco de Credito Industrial, from which he retired in 1968, receiving this Patek Philippe as a retirement gift. This fact even adds more to the history of this pocket watch and sets it apart from the three other ones that are known to exist.
The Patek Philippe 605HU will be sold this weekend as lot 182 in Phillips Geneva auction.