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Patek Philippe Rare 1578 SPIDER lug 1943 PINK Gold & Pink Dial 1st Series Calatrava Wristwatch

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Condition Pre-owned
Scope of delivery
No original box, no original papers
Available now
Expected delivery
Jun 22, 2021 - Jun 30, 2021
Payment Method
Bank transfer

Reviews: 30
This dealer is from New York, New York, United States of America.
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Basic Info

Listing code AJ8GG8
Brand Patek Philippe
Model Calatrava
Movement Manual winding
Case material Rose gold
Year of production 1943 (Approximation)
Condition Fair (Obvious signs of wear or scratches)
Scope of delivery
No original box, no original papers
Gender Men's watch/Unisex
Location United States of America, New York, New York, New York


Movement Manual winding
Movement/Caliber 12-120


Case material Rose gold
Case diameter 35 x 40 mm
Thickness 4 mm
Bezel material Rose gold
Crystal Mineral Glass
Dial Pink
Dial numerals Arabic numerals


Small seconds, Guilloché dial (handwork), Genevian Seal, Limited Edition, Only Original Parts


A Rare Patek Philippe 1943 WW2 Spider Lug 1st Series Ref 1578R Rose Gold & Pink “Salmon” Dial Calatrava with Arabic Numbering System Wristwatch

Basic Dimensions & Specifications
⁃ 35mm Dial Diameter
- 40mm Top to Bottom of each Lug
- 4mm Case Thickness
- Fully Signed Case, Dial & Movement & Sharp Hallmarks
- Completely Original Untouched Hard Enamel Pink “Salmon” Dial with Arabic Numbering system at the indicated by 12,3 & 9 & Baton markers for hours and further accented by enamel markers for outer minute track
- Subsidiary seconds complication at the 6
- Recently Serviced & Perfect Working Condition

Additional Special Features
- Produced in the 1st year the 1st series 1578 went into production and is earliest known example to hit market- Prototype of 1578 Reference -
- Present Timepiece is one of only 3 Pink Gold Examples ever produced from 1943-1949 with Cal 12-120 and 12 known Pink Gold Examples production in 2nd &3rd series with Cal-270 movement 1949-1956
- Extremely Rare Hard Enamel “Patek Philippe & Co.” Long signature signed Dial only available on Pre-World War Two Patek Philippe’s as the signature was shortened when the war ended in 1945 two years after production of the current example
- 1st Series Cal 12-120 Patek Philippe mechanical movement – The first and most important inhouse movement caliber ever produced by Patek Philippe it was the first wristwatch built entirely by Patek Philippe under Stern Brothers Ownership
- Extremely limited production Pink Salmon Dials & far less with Rose Gold Case as well
- “Spider Lug” Case design
- Legendary Master Case Maker: Ed Wenger Designed Case & Stern Freres Dial
- Sharp Signatures throughout with special Owl Hallmark on inside case back indicating production for French Market
- Present example is earliest known reference of this Time Only Prototype which set foundation to its Brother reference the acclaimed 1579 model which differs as it has chronograph function and sells for approximately 50-200k+ USD

Catalog Note
The present vintage 1943 WWII Patek Philippe wristwatch, reference 1578R in Pink Gold with Spider Lug Case design concept and extremely rare Special-Order Pink “Salmon” Arabic Numeral Dial is one of the rarest and sought after examples available in today’s market of this legendary Calatrava reference series and is a true collector’s piece for a variety of reasons which make so sought after for even the most seasoned collectors in addition to also being recognized as the prototype design reference to its brother model the acclaimed 1579 chronograph which typically sells for approximately 50-200k plus USD with identical case design.

Embodying practically every element of Patek Philippe’s famous history and all the very best design elements a vintage Patek Philippe can have as a time only example, the present example stands out as especially rare versus = other reference 1578s to hit the market not only given its very rare color combination of pink gold with pink dial which was produced in an extremely limited production during this time of only 3 examples known in the first series of this model produced for only 6 years from 1943 -1949 but also because it was produced in the first years of the first series as well indicated by its signature.

Additionally, the present case design was created by one of if not the most important Patek Philippe master casemakers, legendary Ed Wenger who’s timepieces are known to sell for millions of dollars at auction today and in addition to the famous casemaker, the present timepiece also is designed by the most important dial makers, none other than Stern freres who was also responsible for essentially saving the company as it almost went out of business during the world wars which what makes the present example such a trophy for collectors to acquire and add to their collection.

In addition to the extremely rare dial and case maker responsible for this series, the present example further stands out in rarity further from the other 1578 examples produced in the current market as it the earliest known example offered in public since it was produced in the very first year of production of the first series and is a prototype to this celeberated 1578 series & 1579 series which is indicated by the dials’ very rare long signature which was only placed on wristwatches until 1945-the end of World War II.

In addition, the present example also is one of the very first wristwatches ever fully produced with its dial movement and case all produced in house by Patek Philippe which is demonstrated by the present 1578’s movement caliber a 12-120 movement only used on the firms first Calatrava wristwatches.

The Spider lug as well, Respected as one of Patek Philippe’s most legendary case designs given its highly recognizable and iconic design was one of their most relevant Calatrava models produced in patek philippes part first series of calatravas wristwatches which is known to be Patek Philippe’s most important wristwatch design ever invented. Overall, The 1578 in general is celebrated as one of the most iconic and sought after of all the case designs as a result today due to its extremely unique lugs distinguishing it immediately from all the other case designs Patek Philippe introduced in their very first wristwatch Calatrava lines.

Instantly recognizable to collectors and experts as THE 1578, only on this reference and its brother reference the 1579, can the extremely complex faceted execution of the "spider lugs" ("anse a ragno" in Italian) available. This reference earned its nickname because when reviewing the wristwatches profile the design resembles a profile to the silhouette of an arachnid. Adding further to this piece’s collectability is that was also designed by legendary master casemaker Ed Wenger who is responsible for only the first and most important wristwatch designs concepts into the 40s and 50s with examples of his workmanship and concepts bringing millions of dollars at auction.

In addition to the present timepiece’s important pedigree, the 1578s reference itself was so popular that it was re-released two other times as part of 3 series with the first series only being in production for 6 years from 1943-1949 and being the most sought after of all other examples as a result of which the present example is a prototype as one of the very first examples of the very first series.

Additionally, the present example of which there are only 3 examples to have been produced with pink gold and pink dial in the first series and 12 examples ever known to be in production in all 3 available series over the span of nearly 30 years, is one of the rarest Calatrava and one of the rarest of the reference 1578s overall due to it being the earliest known example of this reference to hit ever hit the market.

More specifically, during the production of the present timepiece, Patek Philippe had already been in business for nearly 50 years but as a result of the world wars the once vibrant Brazilian and European Markets became completely rattled and the American market which the Genevan manufacturer was able to rely on as a major source of trade also became heavily affected by the Great depression and World War II escalation. As a result, Patek Philippe was forced with no choice, but to sell as a result of their reduced sales, increased debt and unfulfilled contracts.

Pocketwatch production began to switch to wristwatch production as it was seen as more functional timekeepers during the world wars, however Patek Philippe with no ability to produce their own in house wristwatch movement relied on supplier Jaeger LeCoultre to supply parts and blank gilt movements.

The present timepiece is the most collectible color combination for a vintage Patek Philippe overall as pink gold and pink dial Patek Philippes are trophy’s within themselves, however because of its manufacturing date as one of the first examples in one of the most legendary design concepts having the spider lugs ever it is also one of the first examples of Patek Philippes entirely built in house wristwatch where by Patek Philippe produced the movement, case, dial and case all by Patek Philippe workshop.

Before the commission of this series and the Reference 96 series, Patek Philippe did not have the ability to produce their own wristwatches entirely in house. Adding to this element combined with the turbulent times from World War II, Patek Philippe only was able to build the first wristwatch lines when the company switched owner ship and was sold to Stern Freres.

Additionally, as a testament to its popularity when launched, the present 1578 reference was produced in a total of three series over the span of 20 years until 1965 and only offered in yellow or pink gold with a total production of only 12 pink gold examples in total known in the 2nd and 3rd series combined. Also, interesting, all examples of the 1578 were designed with either a subsidiary seconds complication or center second complication with the 1st series 1578 pink gold on pink salmon dial reference being the most rare examples in the first series.

The reference 1578R is also commonly referred to as the non-chronographic brethren of the reference 1579 which is also an extremely sought-after timepiece in the same spider lug case design and typically sells for approximately $50,0000-$200,000.00 plus. Also, interesting to note, the custom of having two references for the same case design - one with chronograph and one without - is a Patek Philippe tradition for the vintage production brand and typically only reserved for the firm’s most important references as it is produced “brother” models for the extremely rare 1518 with the 1526 and for the 2499 with 2497. Both Reference lines that sell for $500,000 plus.

Adding further allure to this reference is the notable special attention to its construction which gives it the sharp edges of the lugs facets that are the cornerstone of which the looks of this model is built upon, but as they are so sensitive they are doomed to fade after just a handful of polishings. Luckily, in this instance the facets are still very well preserved and defined which is also a very important element to be aware of with this reference as well.

Also, notable the fact that such a design has never again been re-proposed by the brand makes the two references even more appealing and collectible: if a Patek Philippe enthusiasts wants to own one of the iconic "Patek Spider Lugs", he or she has only these two options.

To fully understand and appreciate the rarity and importance of the present example, it is also important to note the context in which the timepiece was designed and the turbulent times the brand faced in the world

Patek Philippe & The World War Era

Although, having been in been in business for nearly 100 years by the time the conception of the present 1578 Calatrava watch design was put into production, Patek Philippe was faced with new challenges as many internationally re-known businesses experienced as the World Wars savaged the world markets and during post-world war era created economic depressions and uncertainty in its tracks.
Naturally, the practicality of pocket watches could not compete with the practicality of the wristwatch while on a battlefield during the Wars and Patek Phillippe was forced to change focus as well to reflect this functional need of society so they increased production of their wristwatch line from 7% at the onset of WW1 to 28% when at their height just before the stock market crashed by 1930.

Inevitably, as Patek Philippe was better tooled and known for their pocket watches leading up to this period, they could not produce their own inhouse wristwatch movements and other important parts and were relying on LeCoultre to supply them with ebauche movements and parts to adapt as their own. As the industry as a whole fell apart further: Patek Phillippe’s total wristwatch production dropped from 28% to 13% reflecting only the beginning of the trouble which the nearly 180-year-old firm was about to face.

The once vibrant Brazilian and European Markets became completely rattled by the World Wars and the American market which the Genevan manufacturer was able to rely on as a major source of trade also became heavily affected by the Great depression and World War II escalation. As a result, Patek Philippe was forced with no choice, but to sell as a result of their reduced sales, increased debt and unfulfilled contracts.

In 1932, Charles Henri and Jean Stern (also known as Stern Feres) bought Patek Philippe and beat out LeCoultre’s bid marking one of the most pivotal moments in Patek Philippe and timepiece history.

The Stern brothers not only saved Patek Philippe from going out of business, but it was under their leadership and innovation that the world’s most important vintage wristwatch concepts were designed and put into production which the brand is best known for today. Examples during this timeframe as the present example produced by them are highly revered by collectors as a result.

Prior to their ownership of Patek Philippe, as 2nd generation experts whose parents were master miniature enamellers, the Stern brothers were known as a world renown dial manufacturing company famous for producing the most beautifully decorated dials of their time. Having this unique expertise to add to Patek Philippe’s already stellar reputation and a track record of running their manufacturing company successfully through one of the most trying times, Patek Philippe began its cosmic launch to new heights.

Introduction of The Calatrava & The Bauhaus Movement

To combat the obstacles Patek Philippe was facing, the Stern brothers not only cut costs and improved efficiency, they invested in new machinery and equipment during the depths of the great recession with no compromises being made in the pursuit of excellence. This was extremely important as it gave Patek Philippe the newfound technical ability to produce for the first time a wristwatch product line entirely in house from the ground up meaning the movement, dial and case all made by Patek Philippe as this present example is an example of one of their very first Calatrava models.

Now equipped with this ability, the Stern Brothers recognized a shift in society’s attitude and style to return to simplicity with the world having witnessed such traumatic, complicated world events for the first time in modern history so they introduced a new wristwatch case design concept with new movement and with the aesthetics of a new design language founded on the principles of the Bauhaus movement: known as The “Calatrava” Wristwatch. The firms most significant flagship line and the line the present timepiece is part of when it was first created. The Bauhaus principles originally established in 1919 following the end of World War I, placed strong emphasis on principles of minimalist designs where form followed function and functionality through simplification.

The Calatrava’s design was inspired by the Bauhaus movement, a German school of Arts based on the belief that ‘less is more’ and ‘form follows function’. Since the purpose of a watch is to tell the time, these principles discouraged any embellishments which could detract from the hands. The result was a watch which was at once beautiful and practical.

As a result, Patek Philippe introduced the Calatrava which was designed featuring a round case, baton or numeral hour markers and small seconds sub-dial at 6. It did exactly what watches were designed for. Telling the time and follows every essence of form following function. Rather than thicker case designs, more elaborate wristwatches gave way to slimmer minimalist new designs which came to be known as the Bauhaus inspired aesthetic and the Calatrava was designed to have time only capabilities to appeal to a wider audience of buyers.

In terms of the lugs, rather than being soldered on, the Calatrava were integrated into the three-part case design and tapered to ensure an extremely comfortable fit on the wrist, a classic example of form following function.

Additionally, the design concept was introduced to lift the watch off the surface when not being worn in resting position by its lugs so the user doesn’t scratch the case back because it is designed to never touched the surface where it can be scratched when sitting unworn.

The primary focus was on indicating the time, and only the time, in the clearest and most attractive way possible.

Despite the fact that it has, as a maximum, three hands and only gives the time of day, Patek Philippe’s Calatrava became the most successful timepiece line in history with simply unmatchable dial layout, movement ergonomics and accuracy and refinement on the wrist. Slight changes in the lugs, metals, dials, numbers and more generate extremely high collectability as a result and investment values.

In addition the case design, to power the new concepts, Patek Philippe From 1934 onwards replaced the frosted gilt JLC 12-ligne movement which they use to have to buy from LeCoultre as a blank to inscribe Patek on and implemented their own new in-house caliber, 12”’120, developed under the direction of Jean Pfister, who was in charge of the technical department and CEO where these were created and was tasked with making the initial drawings for the new calibers – the first of which was the 12”’120 until 1958.

Moving closer to the time period’s production of the present timepiece, Around 1940 or 1941, Patek Philippe produced its own nickel-plated, “Cotes de Geneve” movement which formed the backbone of the Calatrava models even to this day and one the very first examples is also found on the present example being offered.

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4.8 out of 5 stars  |  Reviews: 30

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