Patek Philippe. An exceptionally important, possibly unique and previously unknown 18k gold perpetual calendar wrist watch with sweep centre seconds, moon phases, black luminous military-style dial, luminous alpha hands, engraved case back, former property of His Majesty, king of Kings, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, Ref. 2497, Movement no. 888’058, Case no. 679’792, Manufactured in 1954. Estimate: $520,000-1,000,000 / €460,000-920,000. This lot is offered in our Important Watches auction on 9 November at Christie’s Geneva.
Geneva prosecutors are preparing to release a Patek Phillipe watch that once belonged to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, ushering in a new phase of the battle between Christie’s auction house, a Sudanese client, and Selassie’s descendants who say the timepiece was stolen.
The Geneva prosecutor’s office will lift a sequestration order on the watch in the next two to three weeks after it failed to find grounds for criminal wrongdoing, a spokesman for chief prosecutor Olivier Jornot said. That could, in theory, free Christie’s to put the watch back up for auction with the client’s permission.
Christies Auction house will soon be auctioning off one of the most beautiful and exotic Patek Philippe models ever made. It is believed this model is unique in the sense there was never a Reference 2497 made with this black dial with even Arabic numeral five minute markers, as well as with a sweeping second hand. According to Christie’s Auction House, the watch is all original, including the leaf hands.
The dispute over what Christie’s describes as an “exceptionally important, possibly unique” timepiece, pits two prominent African families against each other in a tale that goes back more than half a century. The watch, which is expected to fetch as much as $1 million, was commissioned by Federico Bazzi, an Italian entrepreneur who wanted to give Selassie a gift during a visit to Switzerland, according to the auction house.