Patek Philippe Ref. 96 ‘Number 4’
We are proud to present a watch with a very, very significant history. Without it, Patek Philippe might not have existed today…
Patek Philippe was struggling financially when the Stern brothers took over the company in 1932. They recognized the need for a simpler watch that would appeal to a larger audience. The resulting reference 96 became a massive success, saving the company.
The watch you see here is an archetypical dress watch. Many of its design elements look very familiar today. Keep in mind that when this watch was designed, wristwatches were still a very new concept, especially for men. Many of the design cues we see here debuted on this very watch.
Patek named this line of watches Calatrava, after the Calatrava knights from the 12th century. The name has later become to be used within the watch community for any minimalist dress watch, usually with sub-seconds, regardless of brand. Patek Philippe later incorporated the Calatrava cross as their logo.
The first 96’s were powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre calibers. From 1934 on, the watches were equipped with a new in-house caliber 12”’120. The version of the offer here dates back to 1937 and features this (then) brand new caliber. Only 95 pieces made and we have number 4, back case is signed and it is double confirmed because we have an extract archive from Patek Philippe.
At 31mm, this watch is not for everyone. But for one lucky person out there, this is the one perfect watch!
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