A ridiculous, fresh-to-market 'pink-on-pink' Patek 1518 is up for auction this fall. Let's take a look.

From an Egyptian Prince's vault straight to Sotheby's

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The Patek Philippe reference 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph is about as mythical as it gets. The first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph from the watch manufacturer, only 281 are said to have been made from its introduction in 1941 through 1954. Only 13 examples were known in the “pink-on-pink” fomulation, a pink gold case with a salmon dial.

So even in a world where you scroll past jaw-dropping watches every day, hardly stopping to give them a split second of your time, it’s not often you see this:

A post shared by Jonathon Burford (@jonbinla)

“Excited to finally announce this incredible watch – A ‘Pink on Pink’ Ref 1518 from Patek Philippe - Previously unknown and possibly the finest condition example to come to the market, consigned directly from the estate to Prince Tewfik Adil Toussoun of Egypt, first cousin of King Farouk I and accompanied by its original Certificate of Origin, instructions and box - December 2021 NYC Important Watches” — @jonbinla

Yep, that’s a previously unknown pink-on-pink Patek 1518, posted by Sotheby’s watch specialist Jonathan Burford. It’ll be on sale at Sotheby’s Important Watches Sale in December, surely one of the highlights of the entire auction season.

The watch was owned by Prince Tewfik Adil Tousson of Egypt, who owned it from 1951 until his death earlier this year.

Make that 14 pink-on-pink Patek 1518s, and this looks to be one of the best ones yet. Pink-on-pink is the rarest known variant of the 1518, next to the four examples in stainless steel.

After I saw Jonathan’s Instagram post, I reached out to him and he was kind enough to give us an early look at this fresh 1518.

Sotheby’s found the watch in the Prince’s safety deposit box, where it has remained virtually untouched for the past 70 years. Jonathan said he got “goosebumps” when he first pulled the watch out of the box, equally blown away by the fact that the watch also had its 1951 Certificate of Origin.

Prince Tewfik Adil “T.A.” Toussoun of Egypt died in April 2021 (obituary link) at the age of 96. T.A. is a direct descendant of Mohamed Ali, often considered the “founder of modern Egypt.” He was also a cousin to King Farouk I of Egypt, the penultimate King of Egypt (and, as Sotheby’s notes, another proud owner of a Patek 1518).

Born in Cairo, Egypt, but growing up in France after departing Egypt prior to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, T.A. would eventually come to the United States for college. He attended Cornell University, earning a degree in agriculture, going on to earn a PhD in Agriculture from the University of California Berkeley. He later became a professor of plant pathology at Penn State University,

“All throughout this honorable career, the complicated Patek Philippe remained a most prized possession of the Prince,” Sotheby’s adds.

On the subject of its Egyptian royal provenance, Sotheby’s points to a long history of selling significant royal Egyptian assets. Most recently, it sold a unique gold US coin previously owned by the aforementioned King Farouk I for $18.9 million, absolutely smashing the record result for a coin (watch collectors aren’t the only crazy ones…).

Back to this 1518. Jonathan said the condition of this example is “breathtaking,” remaining completely unrestored and unpolished, with the Vichet case still retaining its original hallmarks and brushing. The dial is also pristine, free of any major flaws. Altogether Sotheby’s says, “this example in such outstanding condition presents a rare opportunity for a scholarly collector to cherish and admire Patek Philippe’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch in a state near that of when it was fresh from the factory.” In other words, a true museum-worthy piece, when such terminology is often overused.

In addition to the pristine condition, the watch comes with all original boxes and the Certificate of Origin dating it to July 25, 1951.

So what might it sell for? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Last year, Phillips sold a pink-on-pink 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph for CHF 3.38m. That example didn’t have royal provenance, though it had been owned by one Jean-Claude Biver for the past decade, surely horological royalty himself.

In December 2019, Phillips sold another pink-on-pink 1518 for $2.3m (that one also fresh to market).

Sotheby’s is placing this estimate at $1.2-2.2m.

Remember, keep track of every big auction this season with our auction calendar.

Rescapement is a weekly newsletter about watches. To get all the latest vintage and auction coverage in your inbox every Sunday, smash the subscribe button: