Here’s a Patek you don’t see every day. It’s luxury replica Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96 watches– the first Calatrava reference – but not just any 96. Unlike the typical time-only Ref. 96, this one’s a triple calendar with a moonphase. It’s just the eighth complete calendar Reference 96 like this to be found, and this one’s even more notable because of where it comes from. It previously belonged to Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and Phillips has just announced it’ll be offered at auction later this year.
Puyi lived a complicated life in China, ascending to the throne of the Qing dynasty when he was just two years old, but forced to abdicate just four years after that – an emperor deposed by the age most of us hardly knew our ABCs. His life is portrayed in The Last Emperor, filmmaker Bertolucci’s 1987 epic that won the Oscar for Best Picture.
The relevant part of his complicated life, for our Patek-pertinent purposes, comes from 1945 through 1950, when Puyi was a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union, when he became friends with his translator Georgy Permyakov. According to Phillips, Puyi’s nephew said that Puyi eventually gifted this Calatrava to Permyakov. The UK high quality fake watches remained with Permyakov until he died in 2005, and with his estate until 2019. According to records, the watch was originally purchased at a Paris retailer in 1937, and it’s not clear how Puyi originally acquired it.
Like the simple Ref. 96 you might be familiar with, this complete calendar example measures just 30mm in diameter. Inside is an ébauche from Victorin Piguet, the movement supplier that provided many of best Patek Philippe replica watches’ early complicated calibers (and its first split-seconds chronograph, first chronograph, first minute repeater – I could go on).
Beyond the provenance, this complete calendar is actually horologically important to Patek and not just a little historical oddity. These were all made in the 1930s and early ’40s, before Patek really began serially producing complicated calendar copy watches for sale like this. Remember, Patek introduced its first serially-produced perpetual calendar (Ref. 1526) and first perpetual calendar chronograph (Ref. 1518) fake watches wholesale in 1941. Before this, complicated perfect replica watches like this were basically special orders or super-limited production. So what you see here isn’t just an (admittedly cool) complicated Calatrava. It would’ve been one of the first calendar China super clone watches online Patek made, ever.