Henry Graves Supercomplication Auction
Considered by many to be the world’s most famous watch, the Henry Graves Supercomplication created by Patek Philippe in 1933 will return to public viewing again. Sotheby‘s Geneva will auction off this historical timepiece at its Important Watches event on November 14.
One of the most complicated timepieces ever made completely by human hand, it is reappearing on the market 15 years after its record sale and will coincide with the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe. This one of a kind timepiece is estimated to sell at $16.8 million.
In 1925, Henry Graves, a prominent New York banker commissioned Patek Philippe to create the most complicated watch known to man. This timepiece was a product of three years of research and five years of effort, which resulted in a gold open face minute repeating chronograph clock watch with Westminster chimes. Among its distinguished features are a perpetual calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and indications for time of sunset, sunrise, and night sky of New York City. The timepiece has a grand total of 24 horological complications, and has retained the title of the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years, although it was only surpassed by technicians working with the aid of computer assisted machines.
The first auction of the timepiece occurred during one of Sotheby’s auctions in December 1999 that had a pre-sale estimate of $3-5 million. However, an heavy and extended bidding war ensued and the timepiece sold for a record breaking $11 million, making it the most expensive watch ever sold at an auction.
“The list of superlatives which can be attached to this icon of the 20th century is truly extraordinary,” Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s worldwide head of Watches, and Daryn Schnipper, chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division, said in a joint statement. “Indisputably the ‘Holy Grail’ of watches, The Henry Graves Supercomplication combines the Renaissance ideal of the unity of beauty and craftsmanship with the apogee of science.”