Watchmaking's 'holy grail': the extremely rare Patek Philippe Ref 5250

An extremely rare Patek Philippe Advanced Research Ref 5250 timepiece is the hotly anticipated lead lot at Heritage Auctions' December 4 Signature Fine Timepieces Auction.

"This timepiece represents the perfect blend of quality, artistry and technical innovation," said Jim Wolf, Director of Fine Timepieces at Heritage.

"It's one of just 100 pieces made by Patek Philippe incorporating a friction free silicium escape wheel, which is revolutionary technology in watch-making. An opportunity to acquire own one of these exceptional watches is very rare."

When unveiled in 2005, Patek Philippe's Advanced Research Ref 5250 was seen as a milestone in the development of timepieces.

The extremely rare Patek Philippe Advanced Research Ref. 5250

In incorporating a friction-free silicium escape wheel into a timepiece for the first time, Patek Philippe changed the game in fine timepieces. Silicium is anti-magnetic, super-smooth, super-hard, super-light and does not corrode. The company called the Ref 5250 a "test run" and produced only 100 pieces.

This timepiece, according to the international watch industry magazine Europa Star, placed a key emphasis on watchmaking's "holy grail" - the elimination of the need for lubrication.

Several subsequent models, such as the Patek Philippe Ref 5350 and Ref 5450, developed the concept even further, eventually optimising the entire escapement system with the technical advantages of silicon.

The watch is estimated at $120,000-140,000, and will be auctioned in New York.


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