A gold pocket watch made by Patek Philippe for Henry Graves, a New York banker, in 1933 has sold for a record $27 million at auction in Geneva. The previous record, set 15 years ago, was $12 million.
The double-faced pocket watch has 24 horological functions including a perpetual calendar, phases of the moon, a chronograph that can time two simultaneous events, Westminster chimes and indications for the time of sunset and sunrise and the night sky over New York’s Central Park as seen from Graves’ home on Fifth Avenue.
The watch was last wound in 1969 and is still ticking.
In the late 1920s, Henry Graves competed with James Ward Packard, the famed automobile manufacturer, for ownership of the most complicated watch in the world. In 1927, Packard commissioned a complicated watch but, not to be outdone, Henry Graves surpassed his rival in 1933 with his “Supercomplication” – the most complicated watch ever made. It cost 60,000 Swiss francs, nearly five times the price paid by Packard, but a small fraction of the 20.6 million Swiss francs paid at the auction.