PATEK PHILIPPE “EMPIRE” OVERSIZED WRISTWATCH, REF. 2511J
As one of the largest and rarest of 1950s Calatrava models, the ref. 2511 is not a watch many people have seen before outside of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. This reference was only made for a short period from 1951-1954. With only six examples of the reference previously known to exist in yellow gold, the discovery of this seventh example is quite exciting for collectors of Calatrava watches with unusual cases. The massive 36.5 mm case of this watch has a signature “empire” style with fluted lugs and fluted sides. Note the parallel molded design around the case and matching pattern on the lugs. The case was made by Dubois & Cie in Le Locle and the dial was made by Stern Frères. Of the known examples, all have Arabic numeral 12 and batons combined with stick hands. The notable exception is the example at the Patek Philippe Museum that has applied batons and dauphine hands with a Serpico y Laino retail signature. The discovery of this second example with the same dial layout offers an interesting opportunity to own one of the rarest mid-century Calatrava watches. Fresh-to-market with an unrestored case, the dial of this watch has aged beautifully with crisp pearling, and an attractively colored varnish.