Rare Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune Headlines Artifact Collection of Puyi, Qing Dynasty’s Last Emperor
Phillips and Bacs & Russo unveil several artifacts once belonging to Aisin-Giro Puyi, the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty, at the opening of Phillips’ new Asia headquarters in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District.
Among the collection that once belonged to Aisin-Giro Puyi is a red paper fan inscribed with a poem composed by Puyi, a manuscript notebook from his time in detention, 15 watercolor paintings attributed to Puyi’s brother-in-law Runqi, a leather-bound printed edition of Confucius’ Analects, and a rare Patek Philippe Reference 96 Quantieme Lune.
This particular Patek Philippe’s provenance is very interesting. Aisin-Gioro Puyi was born in 1906 and ascended to the throne as the Xuantong Emperor by decree of Empress Dowager Cixi just before he was three years old. He abdicated in 1912 during the Chinese Revolution and later became the ruler of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo during World War II.
After the war, when Japanese forces surrendered in 1945, Aisin-Gioro Puyi was captured by the Soviet Red Army and later incarcerated in a Khabarovsk detention camp for five years. During this time, Puyi developed a close friendship with his interpreter, Georgy Permyakov.
Puyi’s Reference 96 Quantieme Lune, which was finished by Patek in 1937, plus other possessions, were gifted to his friend Permyakov before he returned to China, according to a first-hand account by the Emperor’s nephew.
This particular Patek Philippe Calatrava ref 96 notably features a triple date calendar and moon phase indicator. Only seven other reference 96s of that particular complication were previously known, until Puyi’s watch resurfaced. Of these, only three sport this specific silvered dial with a rose-gold chapter ring, feuille (leaf) hands, and enamel Arabic ‘Roulette’ configuration.
The Imperial Patek Philippe collection will be up for viewing in Hong Kong from March 18th to 31st, 2023. After that, the collection will feature in an international tour to New York, Singapore, London, and Taipei, ending in Geneva on May 14th.The timepiece, along with several of the Emperor’s other treasures, will go on auction later this year. For more information regarding the collection tour schedules, please visit the Phillips official website.