The first contest was organized in Geneva in 1790. Kew, Neuchâtel and Besançon created similar competitions in the following century.
In the 1920s, Patek Philippe manages in parallel the miniaturizations of the complications and for the accuracy. In Switzerland, there is no hurry. Mechanisms intended for the contest must have been proven for years in the workshop before being listed to the observatory. The assembly in a case and the sale are subsequent to the competition.
On December 1 in Hong Kong, Phillips sells a tourbillon in stainless steel with a regulation of one minute, lot 315 estimated HK $ 3.9M.
The mechanism was executed in 1924 and won the first prize in Geneva in 1931. After being mounted in a gold case, the pocket watch was sold in 1935 to its first private owner.
The tourbillon is a system of rotating cage patented by Breguet in 1801 but for which he had failed to realize the implementation. The tourbillon compensates for the effects of earth gravity, but had the poor reputation of losing precision when the instrument was leaning. The prize obtained by Patek Philippe in 1931 demonstrates their control of this difficult technique for single units or very small series.
SOLD for HK$ 4.8M inccluding premium