At the time the watch was made it was the most complicated one Patek Philippe had ever produced. The company began experimenting with clockwatches in the first year of the partnership of Patek, Philippe and Gostkowski, that is in 1845. However, that watch was just a simple Grande et Petite Sonnerie (No. 1326) with no other complications. It took the company almost 25 years to produce a Sonnerie watch with another complication. In 1870 they sold one (No. 27210), with Sonnerie and perpetual calendr (see Antiquorum, January 30, 1977, lot 171, now in the Patek Philippe Museum). It appears that until the present lot no other ultra-complicated watch was made by Patek Philippe.Some of the features of this ultra complicated watch are quite esoteric. Patek Philippe watches with central minute register are extremely rare. They require more complicated mechanisms, but are more easily readable, which is a characteristic of watches made for the Russian market.The other feature which appears to be unique, is the employment of both Gregorian and Julian calendars. Although the Gregorian calendar was established in 1582, some countries took a long time to adapt to it. In Russia, for instance, it was not until 1918 that the calendar reform took place. Apparently, Gradowski wanted a watch showing the date in Powland as well as in other parts of Europe he might travel to. The difference between both calendars increases 0.0076 times a day, which means that aproximately every 131 years another day has to be added to the Julian calendar to keep up with the Gregorian. Patek Philippe solved the problem by making an advancement mechanism between the gold Gregorian and blued steel Julian hands. Every 131 years the owner needs just to push the pin and the Julian calendar is back in sync with the Gregorian one.It took the company another 25 years to make other Grande Complication Watches, and very few were made. Only seven are known (Nos. 174129, 174961, 198144, 198289, 198240, 866776 and 866782). They do not, however, have such esoteric features as double Gregorian and Julian calendars or central minute recorder.It was not until 1932 that the company produced a more complicated watch. This was the famous "Graves" sold in 1999 for the record-breaking price of over US$11,000,000. Among Patek Philippe's ultra complicated watches are of course the Star Caliber and the famous Caliber 89, the most complicated watch in the world.Jean de Gradowski.One of the intriguing features of the watch is the coat-of-arms engraved on the back cover. It is called Prawdzic, from "Prawda", meaning "truth". The founder of Patek Philippe, Antoine Norbert Patek de Prawdzic, had the same coat-of-arms. Were the two related? We have not been able to verify this at present. However, we know that the noble Polish family Gradowski comes from Gradow, near Sochaczew, in central Poland. They are first recorded in the 1500's. Maciej Gradowski was listed in 1525 in te court records of the Polish King Zygmund the Old, Stanislaw Gradowski was elected to the Congress of 1648, Mikolaj to the Congress of 1697. Marceli Gradowski, the grandfather of the owner of the present watch, was Szambelan in 1793 to King Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Jean Gradowski, a gentleman of considerate means, had the main residence in Warsaw. He traveled extensively, resided for a number of years in Geneva. The double Julian and Gregorian calendar he needed because Warsaw, at the timewas under Russian occupation. It was not until the end of the WW I that it became Polish again.We are grateful to Michal Gradowski for the biographical information.
3 very good
3 very good
METALLIC DIAL DETAILS 12 a dent
METALLIC DIAL DETAILS 21 soft overglazed
2 in perfect condition
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