In July, Sotheby’s confirmed they would be auctioning off the Henry Graves Supercomplication for the second time. The last time they sold this monster, 70 mm, one-pound-plus mega complication, it shattered auction records and sold for $11,000,000. Another watch hasn’t hit half that amount since. The watch doesn’t belong to the Patek Philippe Museum, it belongs to a private family – the Qatari Royal Family to be exact. While the family was generous enough to loan the watch Patek Philippe Museum for several years, it hasn’t been on display there in over a decade. The watch guy at Hodinkee got some 1:1 time with the beauty.
On November 11, 2014, at 6 p.m. in Geneva, the world’s most valuable timepiece will hit the block once again. The estimate this time? In excess of $15,000,000! So what’s the deal? Why is it so complicated and so expensive? Well, Patek Philippe No. 198.385 was a very special commission from Mr. Graves, had already had a storied history of very special commissions. This enormous example of human ingenuity contains 24 different horological complications. Twenty four. And the watch was constructed over a period of seven years, beginning in 1925. Twenty four complications, with the work taking place in the 1920s, means that that timepiece was built entirely by hand, and all calculations for the two dozen complications were done without the aid of a single computer:
“A gold, double-dialed and double open-faced, minute repeating clockwatch with Westminster chimes, grande and petite sonnerie, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minute and 12-hours, perpetual calendar, moon-phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky of New York City.” –Sotheby’s
There’s way more details and fun facts about this timepiece (in addition to a comprehensive photo gallery) on the website linked below. Enjoy!