Launched in 1951, the reference 2497 was the first sweep seconds Patek Philippe perpetual calendar watch made in series. It was made for 12 years during which time 179 examples were crafted. Note that this number also includes reference 2438-1 (essentially the same watch but with a waterproof screw back). The watches can be divided into two series. The first series is characterised by an alternating dot and Arabic markers dial and leaf hands very similar to those found on the 1526. In marked contrast, the second series features hash marks with sword hands. All watches are manual wind.
Because these are the first serially produced perpetual calendars with central seconds hands, both series feature a large visible seconds track around the perimeter of the dial. Because Patek had (temporarily) dispensed with the seconds hand at six o’clock, the indication for the date is now larger and significantly easier to read. For the first time, Patek also did away with the circular track framing the date, creating a much cleaner lower half of the dial.
Seen at Watch Art Grand Exhibition
The particular watch exhibited at the Watch Art Grand Exhibition breaks a few of the above discussed traits, most visibly the seconds track around the perimeter of the dial is missing and the track around the date sub-dial is present. Patek’s own records state that this particular watch is from 1952 and features a rose gold case (36.6mm diameter, No. 674 392), with satin-finished rose gold dial from 1964, rose gold feuille hands, blued steel center seconds and applied gold baton indexes. Inside, it is driven by the caliber 27 SC QP (movement No. 888 028) with straight line lever escapement, compensation balance and Breguet balance spring. Interesting to note that, therefore, the watch — while it is marked as a 2497 — has case and dial that are from two very different decades.
Editor’s Note: An immense thanks and hearty gratitude, to our friends at Patek Philippe for allowing us to photograph this piece of horological treasure while it was on show in Singapore, during the 2019 Watch Art Grand Exhibition.