The yellow gold single button split-seconds chronograph originally sold on Oct. 13, 1923, making it the earliest known split-seconds chronograph made by the firm. It is the only split-seconds chronograph made by Patek with a white enamel dial. (Split-seconds watches have two independently controlled sweep-second hands).
Read MoreWhy does this watch cost $1.3 million? It's complicated
The watch was part of a sale of 171 watches at Sotheby's that fetched $11.7 million. Of the 171 lots, 143 sold.
Sotheby's said demand was fueled by a broad diversity of buyers from around the world.
Read MoreRent-a-Rolex? Luxe watches go timeshare
"Bidding throughout yesterday's auction was truly global, demonstrating the continued strength of the watch market worldwide," said Katharine Thomas, head of Sotheby's Watch Department in New York.
A titanium Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon with 12 complications, including a perpetual calendar, fetched $1.325 million.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank