PATEK PHILIPPE YELLOW GOLD REF. 2526J
When first released, the ref. 2526 was aggressively marketed and sold through retailers around the world. Originally retailing for 500 USD, this reference was an instant success due to its unique design and technical innovations. According to a period Patek Philippe ad, “In this model, attention has been focused on obtaining a thinner watch – without forfeiting any of the protective qualities … A different case and dial construction has accomplished this, and the result is very gratifying.”
Only 500 to 600 examples of this reference were made during the entire production between 1953 and 1960, meaning very few have survived in mint, unrestored condition. This example has a restored and repainted non-enamel black dial originally made by Stern Fréres. Based on the level of workmanship, it appears that this restoration was done by Stern Fréres by Patek Philippe. For price comparison, an exceptional unrestored example with a black enamel dial recently sold for over 310,000 USD at auction.
For less that 10% of the price of a superlative example black dial ref. 2526, you can have a watch with a beautifully preserved case and movement. The dial is no doubt a restoration from the modern era and it is executed brilliantly.
This is an extreme example in the price differences in the marketplace determined by condition and a valuable reminder to do your research and to know exactly what you are buying.
Read a detailed review of this reference for more information.