Vintage Patek Philippe from WC Poertner

We are so excited to share the details of one of our latest watch acquisitions today! At Raymond Lee Jewelers, we’ve built a legacy on our thriving pre-owned luxury watch business, both on the buying and selling end. We’re known internationally for our selection of fantastic watches that span every era, their excellent working condition, and our ability to showcase some of the most exciting timepieces this side of the auction gavel. On the other hand, our discerning clientele know that we’re the first (and usually last) stop for selling luxury watches. Our buyers are highly experienced, in love with watches, and eager to purchase the most exciting pieces for highly competitive prices. So when a client has a rare watch to sell, we’re very proud to be one of their first phone calls, and hopefully their last consultation appointment.

Recently, we did just that for a private client with a vintage Patek Philippe watch. We buy and sell antique watches and jewelry daily. Occasionally we’ll even buy a rare antique that’s not watch or jewelry related – maybe it’s just a cool luxury item – because we want to add it to our private collection. Well this watch happened to be a twofer and we got a great watch and a cool soon-to-be-antique. We also love when our newest finds come with provenance.

Vintage Patek Philippe

Provenance is the history of a highly valuable object, antique painting, literature or jewelry and watches. It makes something more valuable if, for example Elizabeth Taylor owned it. But you need to prove it. Hence provenance.

But anyway, the best kind of provenance is a first hand account, backed by papers. In this case, Erin saw a great chance to buy a piece of history and bought a vintage Patek Philippe with provenance engraved right on back:

Vintage Patek Philippe

The case back reads “W.C. Poertner from his many N.Y.A.C. friends April 2, 1924”

So. The NYAC part is easy enough – it stands for the New York Automobile Club. But who was this W.C. Poertner?

vintage Patek Philippe

W.C. Poertner in National automobile at Highland Mills, New York, 1909
(Spooner & Wells via Detroit Public Library)

W.C. Poertner, it seems, was a prominent member and head of his own car company and manufacturing factory, the National. According to Chilton’s Automotive Industries, Volume 24:

“The Poertner Motor Car Company 1922 Broadway handling the National is one of the most popular agencies in New York . WC Poertner president of the company is a veteran in the automobile business despite his youth and the wide metropolitan market of the National line indicates the activity of his organization in the trade.”

Vintage Patek Philippe

William C. Poertner, known by friends and “along the row” (aka dealer’s row in old Manhattan) as Bill, was relatively young for his prestigious membership and leadership positions among the nation’s most prominent car dealers. Here, he talks shop about when the best time of year should be for unveiling new models.  Smart guy, right?

We can’t find the occasion that warranted this gorgeous gift, but an 18kt Patek Philippe watch was just as big of a deal back then as it would be today. We’re leaning toward an excellent retirement gift.

Vintage Patek Philippe

We bought this watch because we thought it was interesting. For now we’re adding it to our private archive collection, so it won’t be available for sale. However, if the right person comes along, we can talk about selling via private sale. For us, this watch is an exciting marriage between two of our passions – luxury watches and luxury cars (see all about our next event that mixes both right here!) And we’re proud to own this little piece of automobile and Patek history.

 

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