Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has valued a previously unknown Patek Philippe world timer at over CHF 3.5 million (£2.7 million).
It is the star lot of The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII, which takes place from May 8 to 9.
The reference 2523 has a cloisonné enamel dial with a depiction of Europe and Asia, one of only three made, Phillips reports.
Only eleven reference 2523 watches are known to have been made by Patek Philippe; five feature North America, three with South America and three Europe and Asia.
Of the three examples featuring the European and Asian continents, one is in the Patek Philippe museum, the other in a prominent private collection and the present, newly discovered example, fresh to the auction market.
It has been close to two decades since the last reference 2523 with Eurasian map has appeared on the market.
“The present reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial is truly the end game for many collectors. Arguably, it is difficult to find a more abused term in the world of watch collecting, but this is the one instance where the word can be used with its original undiluted meaning: the present watch is — simply put — one of the most sought-after, unobtainable, attractive and fabled timepieces in the world,” say Aurel Bacs, senior consultant Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, head of watches, Continental Europe and Middle East.
“The only parallel in terms of pure watchmaking importance in the realm of wristwatches — without considering watches with provenance — can possibly be found in a stainless steel Patek Philippe reference 1518,” they add.
Patek Philippe launched the reference 2523 in 1953 in an oversized-for-the-time 36 millimetre case, with two crowns and a city ring on the dial.
The watch can be viewed along with all lots for the Geneva Watch Auction: XIII sale in London at Phillips’ headquarters on London’s Berkeley Square from April 7 to 9.