Christie’s sold a rare Patek Philippe reference 2499 Serpico y Laino timepiece for CHF 3,252,500 (approximately £2,485,541 at current exchange). The watch was sold by the descendants of the late owner, who bought the timepiece from the famed jeweller, Serpico y Laino, founded in Caracas, Venezuela in 1925 by jeweller Leopoldo Serpico and goldsmith Vicente Laino. The boutique had an exclusive trademark for both Rolex and Patek Philippe and often sold their timepieces, which also bore the name of the boutique beside the name of the brand.
The watch was purchased in the early ‘60s and is of particularly special provenance not only because Patek Philippe’s reference 2499 is considered a holy grail timepiece among watch collectors, but also because no other Patek Philippe reference 2499 from Serpico y Laino is known to exist. The watch was also offered in superb condition and bears the stamps “S.&L.” and “18K” on the caseback. The 37.6 mm watch houses an 18-karat gold perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases.
To accompany the sale of the watch, the children of the late owner composed a short letter commemorating the timepiece that reads:
“I’ll tell you a story… We are in the early post-war years. My father is part of those who migrated to the new world. In the fifties at a very young age, he took a suitcase full of hopes and fears and set off in search of fortune.
He told me about the early days: 10/15 people had to share the same roof in uncomfortable conditions and work non-stop. Great sacrifices in difficult years, rewarded by an economy that experienced great growth.
What we are experiencing here and now is an effect of his perseverance over time.”
The timepiece was estimated to sell between CHF 1,500,000 and CHF 2,500,000 and soared well above with a final hammer price at CHF 3,252,500. The sale of the Patek Philippe reference 2499 Serpico y Laino and the F.P. Journe, Audemars Piguet, and Omega timepieces, all of which sold for well above their estimates at Phillips, prove that while certain references and special models will always command top dollar, nothing commands top dollar like a watch with an enduring story to tell.