A watch that once belonged to Ethiopian emperor Haile L Selassie is set to be among the most exciting horological sales of the year.
The unique Patek Philippe timepiece was commissioned by Italian pilot Federico Bazzi to be presented to Selassie on a 1954 visit to Switzerland.
Haile Selassie was presented with this watch on a 1954 trip to Switzerland
It’s a top of the range reference 2497 in 18k gold and features a personally engraved case back.
The reference is one of Patek Philippe’s most sought after. An ultra-rare white gold specimen achieved $2.1m in 2014.
This example is valued at $500,000-1m.
Haile Selassie was part of the Solomonic dynasty, whose members claim direct descent from the biblical figure King Solomon.
Selassie’s coronation in 1930 led to the establishment of the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica, whose adherents regard Selassie as the messiah promised in the Bible.
Selassie was formerly known as Ras Tafari, hence the movement’s name.
Thomas Perazzi, head of watches at Christie’s Geneva, comments: "It is without doubt one of the most captivating and important horological discoveries in recent years.
"The watch unites exceptional rarity, stunning looks, [and] the excitement of being a previously unknown iteration of the landmark reference 2497.
"Furthermore, it is the one and only known example of this reference to bear a type of military-style black dial with luminous Arabic numerals and luminous Alpha hands, all absolutely unrestored and in original superb condition."
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