On the off-chance you were wondering: despite their uniformly sacred aura, not all perfect replica Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronographs are created equal.
A specialty of the famed Genevan Maison throughout the 20th century, that wisdom becomes doubly relevant once you start talking about the luxury fake Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 — a run of 349 complicated watches manufactured between 1951 and 1985.
Described as “one of the greatest family trees in the Swiss watchmaking industry”, the four series of cheap super clone Patek Philippe 2499s together embody a near-perfect union between design, mechanical sophistication and miniaturization (on a scale hitherto never attempted) that have made it a constant in the world of watch auctions.
Last weekend, the (increasingly homogenous) worlds of pop culture and luxury watchmaking once again collided when Arthur Touchot — Head of Digital Strategy at Phillips Watches — broke the news that the personal AAA quality replica Patek Philippe 2499 of John Lennon had been found. “It’s a crazy story,” wrote Touchot (via his private Instagram).
“The watch has basically been sitting in Geneva as a registered stolen item and become the subject of a legal fight between parties trying to prove ownership [of it].”
Thus far, here’s everything we know: the best quality fake Patek Philippe 2499 owned by the revered musician and Beatles founder was originally gifted to him by his wife Yoko Ono in 1980. Reputedly one of three presents — along with a Tiffany & Co flag pin and knit tie, hinting at a double-signed dial — purchased by Ono on the occasion of Lennon’s 40th birthday, there are only two known photographs of him sporting the top quality copy Patek Philippe 2499 prior to his tragic murder that same year.
According to Touchot’s own research (which includes what is effectively a Statement of Claim from the Genevan Court of Justice) Lennon’s copy watch actually resurfaced some years prior; and has been the subject of an ongoing civil proceeding between its present owner — an Italian collector who contends the Swiss movement replica Patek Philippe was acquired lawfully from a now-kaput German auction house for CHF$600,000 (~AU$1.046 million) — and Ono since 2014.
What is significantly more unclear however is the Swiss super clone watches’ provenance for the period between 1980 and the early 2000s. Experts have postulated a couple of theories, with two of the most widely circulated being that it was initially sold to a dealer by the John Lennon estate (who subsequently attempted to reacquire the top quality fake Patek Philippe); or that it was stolen by Ono’s former chauffeur before finding its way onto the auction circuit.
No matter the outcome of the ongoing Swiss legal proceedings, assuming the endgame is to offer this particular Patek Philippe 2499 replica for sale at auction, it will be crucial for the consignor (and the house that offers it on his/her behalf) to establish an authentic chain of provenance over the past 43 years.