Auction Watch: Patek Philippe Ref. 1252 “Chameleon”

A rare, sculptural object.

The Geneva spring auction season kicks off soon and as expected, most of the weekend’s highlights are the usual timepieces from establishment brands and independent watchmakers, including one that is a mix of both, the Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie pocket watch made by Philippe Dufour.

But one of the season’s most intriguing lot is altogether different – the Patek Philippe Ref. 1252 “Chameleon” that’ll go under the hammer at Antiquorum. Both intriguing and quirky, the ref. 1252 “Chameleon” is essentially a sculptural bracelet that happens to have a small, manual-wind movement installed.

While such bracelet wristwatches are common for jewellers like Cartier and Bulgari, the “Chameleon” is decidedly unconventional for Patek Philippe. Made in the late 1940s, this example of the “Chameleon” is only the second one known. The first example resides in the Patek Philippe Museum as inventory no. P-107.

The “Chameleon” is perhaps more object than timekeeper. It has an estimate of CHF50,000-100,000 – arguably not so much for a sculptural Patek Philippe of which only two are known, or a pricey, oddball ladies’ watch. But it is unquestionably interesting and perhaps one of the most intriguing objects on the block this weekend.

The “Chameleon” is lot 450 and has an estimate of CHF50,000-100,000. Its archive extract has been ordered and is pending according to Antiquorum. For more, visit


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