Phillips has lined up the star lot to end them all for its fourth watch auction in Geneva in November.
Phillips has set an estimate of US $3m+ on the stainless steel Patek Philippe ref.1518 it will put under the hammer at its Geneva saleroom at the beginning of November.
The watch is one of four known to exist and has never been offered at auction before.
The model, produced in the 1940s and 1950s, was the first perpetual calendar chronograph ever produced in series, just 281 watches were made with the vast majority in yellow gold.
Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Phillips’ watch department, said: “Throughout my career, I have been longing for the day when I would be entrusted with the sale of a Patek Philippe reference 1518 in steel. Many collectors have also long-awaited this occasion, which for sure will be a day to remember in Geneva.”
Phillips has determined that only four stainless steel examples are known to exist with three of those having appeared at auction, the last more than a decade ago. Since its rediscovery in the 1990s, has always and exclusively been held in private collections.
Phillips has previous form in achieving record sums for stainless steel Pateks. In 2015 it achieved nearly $5m for a stainless steel single-button chronograph, reference 130, $3.3m for a stainless steel split seconds chronograph, reference 1436 and $1.2m for a stainless steel chronograph, ref. 1463.
Phillips and Bacs also preceded over the sale of the most expensive wristwatch in history when last November it sold a unique stainless steel Patek Philippe 5016A minute repeater perpetual calendar with tourbillon for CHF7.3m.