What’s It Worth? Two Titans Craft A Masterpiece

Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. had a very cozy relationship early on. In fact, at one point, Patek Philippe and Tiffany even shared the same building in Switzerland, according to many sources.

Patek and Tiffany continued to work hand-in-hand for many years after Tiffany closed their factory in Switzerland. Tiffany loved the quality of Patek but sometimes the cases did not meet the aesthetics that Tiffany customers preferred.

Last week, a jeweler in Washington State sent us an extraordinary example of collaboration between Tiffany and Patek Philippe. The watch in question is one of the tiniest watches ever manufactured by Tiffany or Patek Philippe. It is only 16mm (1/2 inch) in diameter. This tiny movement was sent to Tiffany in a plain 18KG case. Tiffany then had their artisans remanufacture the case in New York City with over 2 carats of fine old European-cut diamonds and an exquisite miniature painting of a child. And there is enamel all over the case, not just on the portrait.

We bought the watch, suspected immediately that it might have been made by Patek Philippe and sent it to the factory for an extract from their archives. Patek Philippe responded to us in the affirmative, that it was indeed manufactured originally by their company.

A watch like this has value on many levels. Patek Philippe is one of the finest watchmakers in the world. Tiffany & Co. has some of the finest artisans in the world. Collectors love this kind of piece because of the extreme miniaturization of the watchmaking process, and of course, everyone likes portraits of children, as well.

This is a triple threat in the world of collectibility. Retail value is $15,000-$20,000; auction estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

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Comments, questions or suggestions for this column, please send to jeffreyphess@aol.com.

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