At Christie’s May 11 Geneva sale, a private Swiss museum paid SFr.1,891,000 ($1,734,862) for a unique, oversize aviator’s wristwatch made by Patek Philippe. The 55mm timepiece features splittable center seconds and an hour angle dial. This is the only watch of its kind known to exist, and until the sale, there was no mention of such a watch in the literature. The Patek Philippe archives confirm that this watch was completed in 1936, and that it was sold on September 28 of that year.
The watch is thought to be a unique prototype made on special request. The case is chromed nickel. The dial is black lacquer. The scales and signature are carved into the plate and filled with off-white varnish. Luminous material was used to highlight the Arabic numerals and the outer 60 degrees scale, as well as the hands.
The “hour” hand rotates once in 24 hours, indicating the degrees of arc against the center circle divided into 360. The “minute” hand rotates once every 4 hours and is read against the scale of 60. The two second hands revolve every 4 minutes, showing the angular minutes. Consequently, the time shown in the image below reads 332° 8.5′, translating into 22 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds, the time that all watches show in books and catalogs.