A pink gold Patek Philippe 2497 perpetual calendar is top UK replica watches so rare it could already be a story in itself. When I saw the example at Christie’s Geneva sale this week, it was one of the first things I clicked on after getting briefly distracted by diamond-studded Daytonas and Rolex dials with stars (more on both of these coming soon, I swear). But this particular pink gold Patek 2497 is even better because it once resided in the collection of a man whose untimely death became the subject of newspaper headlines and even a police investigation: Peter S. Knoll.
First, the AAA Swiss fake watches. The perpetual calendar 2497 was one of Patek’s first serially-produced perpetual calendars, made from 1951 through 1963. It’s a Russian nesting doll of rarity: only 115 examples were made, and just 20 in pink gold. Of those 20, only six are from the first series like Knoll’s 2497. Rarity like that will get you a hefty estimate of CHF 600,000 to 1.2 million, or roughly the price of taking a family of four to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.
The case in this first series example is made by Vichet and looks a lot like first series 2499 cases – it has elongated, stepped lugs that curve sharply, and a totally flat caseback as compared to the later Wenger cases of the 2497 and 2499. The case of the Knoll 2497 looks especially sharp, with hallmarks still intact. According to Christie’s, the silvered Stern Frères dial featuring Arabic numerals has been cleaned but remains in original condition. High quality replica Patek Philipe watches dials from this era are true works of craftsmanship in themselves: the calendar windows are cut by hand, and an engraver would first engrave the “Patek Philippe” signature, seconds scale, and calendar before applying and heat-treating the hard enamel signature. This time-intensive process is why these details can still look so crisp today, even 70 years after production.
Patek originally produced the Knoll 2497 in 1953, but it sat unsold until 1970. Peter S. Knoll then bought the luxury copy watches at auction in 1980 and engraved it “Peter S. Knoll, New York City, 1980.” Engraving a watch that you won at auction nearly thirty years after it was produced is a bold move I hadn’t considered, but I respect Mr. Knoll for it. While recently collectors have come around a bit and appreciate the story and originality of a good caseback engraving, that wasn’t always the case. Engraving a watch makes a statement that nowadays might feel audacious, but back then was just what people did – “I bought this watch, and I’m gonna keep this watch.” I’m glad the engraving has survived the last 40 years (in the early years of 1:1 replica watches collecting, they were prone to getting polished off); without it, this 2497 might not have caught my eye.
The Knoll 2497 last appeared at Phillips in 2015, where it sold for CHF 593,000 all-in, towards the lower end of its CHF 400,000 to 800,000 estimate. If looking at the numbers alone, it was probably a bit of a disappointment for the owner, as the watch had previously sold for CHF 446,250 in 2004. Of course, you also got to own and wear a legit one-of-six Patek for a decade, so hey – you’re probably still alright. A lot of fake watches online gained a lot more value during that ten-year period compared to this particular 2497.
The estimate this time around is equally ambitious, but perhaps a few more bidders will get involved. After a few years of people getting all lathered up about pretty basic and common modern super clone watches wholesale, it feels like the long arc of watch collecting is starting to bend back towards vintage Patek, as it always does. After all, the most exciting watch for many this auction season is another complicated Patek, the “Imperial Patek” complete calendar 96.
So that’s the watch. But who was this Peter S. Knoll, who once owned the “Knoll 2497,” anyway?
Peter S. Knoll was the son of Hans Knoll, who together with his wife, Florence, founded Knoll Furniture, which made a lot of the designer furniture you see in museums, Architectural Digest, or even a well-appointed Hodinkee photo. The younger Knoll died in his Upper East Side townhouse at the age of 75 in 2018. His death sparked controversy and an investigation after newspapers reported that Knoll died of hypothermia after his brownstone had been without heat since 2014. These headlines eventually led to an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Knoll’s death. Apparently, Knoll became quite ostracized later in life and never divulged his situation to anyone close to him and he’d been using space heaters or staying at the houses of other acquaintances on especially cold nights. Nothing was ever resolved, though it did bring attention to issues related to delivering utilities to seniors.
Knoll kept to himself late in life – there was a lot of conjecture after his death about his state of mind in those later years. In the reports after his death, Knoll was described by one of his neighbors as a “hoarder.” Well, one man’s hoarder is another man’s collector. The son of a furniture magnate, Knoll had a taste for luxury and the money for it too, and surrounded himself with cars, designer furniture, art, and Swiss movements replica watches during his life.
The 2019 sale of his estate put on display hundreds of the objects he once owned, including a ton of high quality fake watches. Earlier in life, Knoll had been a well-known watch collector, frequenting auctions and previews for decades; remember, he bought the 2497 at auction way back in 1980. Thanks to Eric Wind, who came to know Knoll during these years and tipped me off about this fascinating story.
The cheap replica watches in his estate sale hint at a design-driven interest in watches that spanned across decades – from the early 20th century through the Art Deco era, up through mid-century (or mid-century modern, as much of the furniture his father produced would be described as).
There was an early-20th century Zenith wall clock with an eight-day movement that sold for $15,000. A rare Movado M95 chronograph with Breguet numerals and Patek-style case in beat-up condition that sold for $5,500. The estate also had a gold Art Deco-era Rolex chronograph and a later pre-Daytona from the ’50s, both selling for more than $30,000. There was also designs as varied as a gold Rolex King Midas, and an early Explorer, among other fake watches site from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breitling, TAG Heuer, and others. But the Patek 2497 was long one of the crown jewels of his watch collection.
Really, it’s kind of eerie to search “Peter S. Knoll” on the internet. He was the son of a millionaire and “never worked a day in his life,” as one report about his death put it. But search his name and you won’t find much evidence of his life except for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his death and for the things he accumulated during his life. An estate sale full of replica watches shop, furniture, art, and design objects paint the picture of a man who was born with everything he could have ever needed, but seemed to be in constant search of something more.
Not to be too macabre about it all, but it made me think of the objects we surround ourselves with. Sure, it’s nice when they say something about us, but it’s far more important that there are other things worth saying, too. In the end, a simple engraving on the caseback of one of the rarest 2023 China Patek Philippe replica watches ever is one of the most lasting marks Knoll made.