Every watch has a story. And working with pre-owned watches, we at Crown & Caliber hear quite a few of them. The journey a watch takes before it gets to us has many twists and turns, and maybe even an unexpected name attached.
The watch in question was a Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 3919. At first, we were disappointed. There was an engraving on the case back that we hadn’t known was there. This meant we would likely have to remove it or sell it as-is, which could hurt the resale value.
As it turns out, we were wrong.
One of our watchmakers looked over the watch and determined that the engraving was in fact done in the Patek Philippe factory. It was fine and delicate, reading, “Patek Philippe Pour Gobbi 150 Ans 1842-1992,” simply translated to “Patek Philippe for Gobbi 150 Years.” This could only be a reference to Gobbi Milano, the luxury watch retailer in Milan, Italy. The Gobbi name is associated with the highest quality of service along with one of the finest selections of high-end watches anywhere in the world.
Knowing we had a special time piece on our hands, we dug further into the boutique’s history. Raimondo Gobbi opened the very first shop in 1842, and it’s been family-owned ever since. Its first services related to pocket watches and pendulum clocks. Ten years later, Raimondo Gobbi became the “Clockmaker of the Royal Court”. This distinction planted the roots for a prestigious company. In the 1930s, Gobbi added jewelry to its already-stellar range of luxury Swiss watches. The original establishment was destroyed during WWII. But, the Gobbi family opened a new boutique in 1949 in Milan, where it stands today.
Through years of outstanding service and selling fine time pieces, the Gobbi name has clearly become one of legacy and luxury in today’s market. Present-day brands available at Gobbi include Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor, as well as Gobbi’s jewelry collections.
The Gobbi Signature
The name Gobbi made news in 2010 when a Patek Philippe World Time reference 2523 watch sold at auction for the equivalent of $2,727,651.00 US dollars. The watch featured the Gobbi Milano signature on the dial, which doesn’t affect value in most cases. However, this time it did.
Several details made the watch different. First, it was the third example of ref. 2523 in pink gold sold at public auction. Second, it was only the second known example of that reference in rose gold with a blue enamel dial. Thus, the Gobbi Milano signature made this watch the rarest of the rare and certainly helped it sell for a high number.
The Gobbi signature clearly holds a special value. And for the particular watch we sold, the Gobbi engraving made a run-of-the-mill Calatrava into something truly unique. It’s fun to run across an unexpected detail like that every now and then.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 6, 2015. We have updated it for clarity.
Image Credits: Header,1,4; Crown & Caliber. 2; Gobbi 1842 Milano. 3; Christie’s.