Market Trends

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499: Master Guide

History, production numbers, appearances at auction, retailer signed dials, value appreciation. Everything you need to know about the iconic Patek Philippe 2499.
By Giovanni Prigigallo
Nov 10, 2023
Image

Introduction

In the echelons of high-end watchmaking, few timepieces evoke as much reverence and admiration as the Patek Philippe Reference 2499. This horological masterpiece, produced over a span of 35 years, from 1950 to 1985, is a paradigm of craftsmanship, design, and innovation. Its rarity, combined with an unparalleled attention to detail, has catapulted the Reference 2499 into the stratosphere of collectible watches, making it a coveted piece for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. This article delves into the intricacies of this exquisite timepiece, exploring its history, design evolution, craftsmanship, and the enduring legacy that cements its place in the annals of watchmaking history.

Historical Valuation and Material Distinction

  1. Yellow Gold: As the most common material used for the 2499, yellow gold cases are beloved by many for their classic and timeless appeal. The warmth of yellow gold has, historically, made it a favorite for watchmakers and collectors alike. Yet, given its prevalence, the valuation trends for yellow gold 2499s tend to align with the general market trajectory seen in the charts. The significant appreciation in recent years, notably from 2020 to 2023, reflects a renewed interest in classic designs, with the yellow gold variants benefiting greatly from this trend.
  2. Rose Gold: Rarer than its yellow counterpart, rose gold models of the 2499 have always been a collector's gem. The gentle hue of rose gold imparts a unique vintage charm. This rarity often means that rose gold variants can command higher prices, especially in auction settings. They have likely contributed to some of the spikes in valuation observed in the charts, particularly during years when notable pieces have come up for sale.
  3. Platinum: Perhaps the rarest of all 2499s are those cased in platinum. Known to exist in extremely limited numbers (only 2), platinum versions are the unicorns of the 2499 family. Their scarcity has made them highly sought after, and now only one is possibly in the market with the other one being in the Patek Philippe museum. A platinum 2499 is the grail of many collectors and some would buy it at all costs if it ever appeared in the market.

 

The Movement: Caliber 13-130

At the heart of the Reference 2499 beats the Caliber 13-130, a manual winding movement that is a marvel of mechanical engineering. This movement combines a perpetual calendar with a chronograph function, displaying the day, date, month, and leap year, alongside the standard timekeeping functions. The integration of these complications showcases Patek Philippe’s mastery in horological craftsmanship, ensuring that the watch not only tells time but also accurately keeps track of the complex Gregorian calendar.

The Collectors’ Universe

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499 has achieved legendary status in the world of watch collecting, with examples of this timepiece fetching astronomical prices at auctions and private sales. Its combination of rarity, historical significance, and unparalleled craftsmanship make it a grail watch for many collectors, embodying the pinnacle of what many aspire to own. The Reference 2499 is not just a watch; it is an investment, a piece of history, and a work of art that transcends generations.

Sales Volume Trends & Material Influence

The charts indicate varied sales volumes over the years. Peaks in sales volume, like those observed in the early 1990s or mid-2000s, might be attributed to significant collections coming to market or increased interest in vintage timepieces during those periods.

General Thoughts:

The legacy of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 2499, accentuated by its diverse case materials, continues to captivate collectors. Its value trends, as observed from the charts, are a testament to its enduring allure and the premium placed on rarity in the horological world.
As the watch world continues to evolve, one constant remains: the 2499, irrespective of its case material, stands as a beacon of Patek Philippe's storied craftsmanship and history.

Production numbers:

The production numbers do match the number of appearances at auction for each series, further confirming the production numbers of each series. First and second series being equally low production and rare, 3rd series being the most abundant but with very few rose gold watches percentage wise, and the 4thseries being between second and fourth series in terms of rarity.
The first series watches in rose gold and the 4th  series watches in platinum are the rarest configurations, making them highly coveted by collectors.
Also 1st series Vichet cases are extremely rare with only 9 examples known to the market.

Double signed watches:

 

Out of the 9 different retailer signed 2499s, the Tiffany stamped ones are by far the most common retailer stamped of the bunch with 10 known watches.
In second spot we have Beyer with 4 watches and then Gübelin with 3 watches, while the remaining double signed watches have only 1 or 2 known watches.
Furthermore, the only ones that are known to have a rose gold version are Tiffany, Gobbi and Trucchi. The fact that they combine 2 extra rare features makes them possibly the rarest 2499s in circulation, which the market is beginning to appreciate as the Gobbi Rose Gold 2nd series sold for over 7,679,422 USD in April 2022 at Sotheby’s.

Patek Philippe 2499 Series:

The Reference 2499 is renowned for its balanced and harmonious design, a testament to Patek Philippe’s commitment to aesthetic excellence. The watch underwent four distinct series of production, each with slight variations in design and functionality.

  1. First Series: Characterized by square chronograph buttons and Arabic numerals, the first series is a nod to the classic design sensibilities of its time. The tachymeter scale on the dial adds a functional yet elegant touch, reflecting the brand’s attention to detail. Vichet cases are 36.2mm and Wenger cases are 37.8mm.
  2. Second Series: This series marked the introduction of round chronograph buttons, a subtle yet significant design evolution. The dial featured either Arabic numerals or applied baton markers, offering a more modern and streamlined aesthetic. Mostly Wenger cases and apparently 2 existing watches with Vichet cases.
  3. Third Series: Building on the design cues of its predecessors, the third series added outer seconds divisions to the dial, enhancing readability and functionality. The applied baton markers and round chronograph buttons were retained, ensuring design continuity. Easily distinguishable from the fourth series from the presence of no “30” at 6 o’clock of outer seconds divisions.
  4. Fourth Series: The final series of the Reference 2499 introduced a sapphire crystal, replacing the acrylic crystal of the earlier series. This technological advancement not only improved the durability of the watch but also added to its luxurious appeal. It loses the no “30” at 6 o’clock which is the most notable difference with the third series.

 

In order from left to right: 2499 1st series, 2499 2nd series, 2499 3rd series, 2499 4th series. Photos courtesy of Phillips.

With a total of 222 appearances at auction from 1989 until today, the Patek Philippe 2499 remains one of the rarest and most desirable watches in existence. Any auction featuring a 2499 can be considered exciting, as the results and bidding wars are more often than not thrilling.
Out of the 22 appearances 201 watches were made of Yellow Gold, 19 in Rose Gold and only 2 in Platinum.

 

We can observe from the auction appearances and production numbers match very well, as well as the ratios of production by case material.
What stands out is that, despite its higher production as a series, we saw very few rose gold 3rd series watches in percentage compared to the other series. Could this be an opportunity in the market? We think so.

Case Materials Figures:

  1. Yellow Gold: Majority of watches.
  2. Rose Gold: about 10%, so far 19 appeared at auction, 16 unique ones.
  3. Platinum: Only 2, one at the Patek Philippe Museum and one in a private collection.

These assumptions are confirmed from the watches that appeared at auction, where we have seen 123 unique Yellow Gold watches, and 14 unique rose gold ones, the ladder representing 11.38% of the total watches, strengthening the initial assumption that about 10% of the watches were made in Rose Gold.

Case Types:

 

On the left: Patek Philippe 2499 Vichet Case. On the right: Patek Philippe 2499 Wenger Case. Photos courtesy of Phillips.

1. Vichet Case: Vichet is known for producing a slightly smaller and more curved case, which has a diameter of 36.2mm. The lugs are more sculpted and tend to curve more prominently around the wrist. This case was typically used for the earlier series of the 2499. Identifiable by the Key no. 9 inside the caseback. Only 9 examples known to the market.

2. Wenger Case: Wenger cases are slightly larger, with a diameter of 37.8mm. The lugs on Wenger cases are straighter and the overall case shape is a bit more robust than the Vichet cases. This case type is seen more commonly in the later series of the 2499. Identifiable by the Key no. 1 inside the caseback.

Black Dials:

 

Patek Philippe 2499 Black dial Movement No: 869'332 Case No: 2'632'524. Photo courtesy of Phillips.

The 2499s with a black dial are extremely distinguishable and spectacular in their looks. Out of the 6 known to the market, only 1 (Movement No: 869'332 Case No: 2'632'524, sold by Phillips in November 2022) has the mention of the black dial in the extract from the archives. Some of the other 2499 with black dial mention in the extract a dial change by Patek and weren’t born with a black dial, others come with no extra information. To make them even more special, is the fact that the 1518 was never made with a black dial, making these black dial 2499s a first in Patek Philippe history.

Other Special Dials:

 

Patek Philippe 2499 1st series with baton indexes Movement No. 868537, case No. 691604. Photo courtesy of Antiquorum

Here is a mention to other special dial that we can find in the 2499 production, with the best in my opinion being the 1st series with baton indexes:

  • 1st series with baton indexes Movement No. 868537, case No. 691604
  • Special 3rd series with arabic numerals Movement No. 869340, Case No. 2632533, 3rd series Yellow Gold
  • 2 tone silvered matte dial movement no. 868'226, case no. 696'524, 2nd series Rose Gold
  • Baton indexes with arabic numeral at 12 No. 868627, case No. 691616, 1st series yellow Gold
  • Champagne dial, Movement No: 868'332 Case No: 665'018, 1st series Yellow Gold
  • Baton indexes with arabic numeral at 12, Movement No. 868627, case No. 691616, 1st series Yellow Gold
  • Baton indexes with arabic numeral at 12, movement No. 868627, case No. 691616, 1st series Yellow Gold
  • Silvered Matte Dial with special luminous short hands movement no. 868'631, case no. 2'637'693 2nd series

 

Special Bracelets:

 

Patek Philippe 2499/101 with integrated bracelet. Photo courtesy of Antiquorum

  • 2499/101 with integrated gold bracelet, movement No. 869392, case No. 2779153 4th series Yellow Gold
  • 2499 with integrated gold bracelet, Movement No. 869459, case No. 27004113rd series

 

Type of Hands:

The most prevalent hands of the 2499 are the gorgeous dauphine hands, which stand out as very modern and different from the Feuille hands which were inherited from the 1518.

  • Dauphine hands
  • Feuille hands (Typically 1st series)

 

Famous People Associated with the 2499:

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499 is one of the most iconic and sought-after watches in the world, so it's no surprise that it has graced the wrists of some notable figures over the years. Here are some famous and historical figures known to have owned a Patek Philippe 2499:

  1. Eric Clapton: The legendary musician owned a rare platinum version of the 2499, which was auctioned in 2012.
  2. Jean-Claude Biver: A prominent figure in the watch industry and the former CEO of Hublot, Biver is known to have a significant collection of vintage watches, including a Patek Philippe 2499 in rose gold.
  3. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie: A gold Patek Philippe 2499 was reportedly gifted to Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1950s. This watch has a notable provenance and has made appearances at auction houses.
  4. John Lennon: The famous John Lennon 2499 is extensively talked about and collectors cannot wait for it to finally appear at auction.
  5. Jay Z: Jay Z appears to have a passion for Perpetual Calendar Chronographs from Patek Philippe and recently showed more than one.
  6. John Mayer: He talked extensively about his 2499 and what makes it incredibly special.
  7. Ed Sheeran: Just recently in an interview with Hodinkee, Ed Sheeran showed his Patek Philippe 2499 and explained why it was so special.

 

Quote by Tony Kavak, owner of Stockholm Luxury Watches and renowned dealer of only the rarest Patek Philippes:

Tony is a third generation owner of the 2499 in his family, so his love for the reference runs deep and his son now also owns one.
“The Patek 2499 is one of the most iconic Patek Philippe ever created.
There are no other Patek Philippe’s that have been produced in such low quantities (only 9 per year) for the whole world, which makes this particular reference one of the rarest Patek Philippe’s ever made.
My favorite version is of course the platinum 4th series and then the rose gold version.
I love the 1st series the most, and I prefer the Wenger case”.

Andrea Parmegiani, owner of Monaco Legend Group, renowned auction house of the finest vintage watches:

“The Patek Philippe 2499 has an incredible design that is absolutely still modern. In fact the Patek philippe 5970, produced from 2004 until 2010, resembles the 2499 a lot and has inherited many traits of it.
My favorite 2499s are of course the platinum 4th series and a Rose Gold 2nd series Pulsation dial, signed by Freccero. The ladder has never been offered for sale publicly and it's been in a private collection for many years.
I also love the 1st series Vichet cases, which I think are incredibly special in their design and shape”.

Analytics:

  • Ever since 2000, the rose gold 2499 have fetched really high values and were highly sought after by collectors.
  • A platinum 2499 is the dream of any collector: the collector that bought one in 1989 kept it very close for many years and it’s now sitting with a treasure as the other one is in the Patek Philippe museum therefore we could consider it as “unique” as no other private collector can have one.
  • I believe that the value of the platinum 2499 in today’s market would be 15, even 20 million USD. Consider that the only steel 1518 ever sold at auction was sold in 2016 for 11 million USD, and at least 4 of them are known. The best example of the rose gold 2499 sold for over 7 million USD, which strengthens my theory.
  • The Yellow gold 2499 are the majority of the 2499 and have not been regarded heavily by collectors until recently, where we saw its value slowly creeping up.
  • I believe that very soon, if not already now, the entry level for a 2499 will be 1 million USD no matter what.
  • Double signed 2499 also performed extremely well in the market lately, but are they worth the same or close to a rose gold example? How much will the double signed 2499 in rose gold be worth soon?
  • The first series is the one with highest value for the Yellow Gold version, reflecting its rarity and more diverse look than the other series.
  • The second series is highly regarded amongst collectors, however there is a bigger spread between the rose gold and yellow gold watches compared to the first series.
  • The third series is the most common, yet it has the same amount of rose gold watches as the second series, therefore the rose gold versions demand the same price as second series, however the yellow gold version achieve the lowest prices out of all the series.
  • The fourth series has a steady valuation, it is quite rare and appreciated by collectors. With its median price of almost 1,000,000 USD it still has quite some room to grow.

 

Parting Thoughts:

The Patek Philippe 2499 is an icon and more and more people are noticing it and getting drawn to it. Its value has started to skyrocket and I believe it to be only the beginning.
For millions of watch enthusiasts and collectors, the 2499 is the holy grail must have in the collection, and I believe that this determining factor will push its value up even more. It is not often that a 70 year old watch looks just as amazing and contemporary as its current production peers, and people love it for that.
Looking into the different variations of the 2499 there are till very interesting deals and opportunities to be discovered, we hope this article will aid you in understanding just that.