Sotheby’s in New York, 14 June 2012: Priceless Pateks
Both now deceased, some of their watches went under the hammer at the Sotheby’s auction, which took place in New York on 14 June. The biggest surprise was the Henry Graves Jnr. 18-carat gold tonneau minute repeating wristwatch, engraved with the Graves family coat-of-arms, that was estimated at $600 – 800k and finally went for an astounding, record price of $2,994,500. This short video, presented by Sotheby’s expert Daryn Schnipper, tells the story of Henry Graves Jnr.’s quest to own the most complicated Patek Philippe and his grandson’s similar fascination with the celebrated watchmaker.
Graves Jnr. went head-to-head with James Ward Packard (of automobile fame) for the honour of possessing the finest Patek ever made. The result was the appropriately named ‘Supercomplication’ pocket watch of 1932. It was subsequently sold by Sotheby’s for $11,002,500 in 1999.
While the 14 June auction might not have scaled quite those heights, it nevertheless included 13 Patek Philippe watches that once belonged to Henry Graves Jnr., in addition to more than 40 highly collectible timepieces (including examples of Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex and Bulgari) belonging to his late grandson. Many – including the $3m record-breaking wristwatch described above – have the family crest engraved on their reverse.