Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Most Expensive Watch

In December 1999, one of the most complicated watches ever made became the most expensive watch ever sold when it was hammered down for $11 million at Sotheby's.

The gold pocket watch, which featured 24 complications, was the result of a long-standing competition between two magnates of America's Gilded Age. New York financier Henry Graves Jr. and Ohio automobile engineer James Ward Packard vied with one another to own a timepiece with the greatest possible number of complications. (Complications are mechanical functions of the watch other than the hours, minutes and seconds.) Packard commissioned 13 complicated watches from Patek Philippe between 1900 and 1927. They included a perpetual calendar with phases and age of the moon, indication of sunrise and sunset, and a celestial chart depicting the constellations of stars in the sky over Packard's home in Ohio.
Not to be outdone, Henry Graves Jr. also commissioned a series of complicated watches from Patek Philippe, culminating in a timepiece that took three years to design and five years to produce. When completed in 1933, the watch had a different horological function for each hour of the day and included a chart of the nighttime sky over Graves' home in New York.
Graves died in 1953, and his heirs sold the watch to the Time Museum in Rockford, Ill., in 1968. When the museum closed, the watch was among 80 other pieces from the collection that were deaccessioned and sold at Sotheby's in 1999. All together, they brought $28 million. The Graves watch had a presale estimate of $3 million to $5 million, and sold for $11,003,500 to an anonymous collector.

Forbes Fact: In 1989, Patek Philippe created the world's most complicated timepiece, the Caliber 89, in celebration of the firm's 150th anniversary. A pocket watch like the Graves and the Packard, the Caliber 89 has 33 functions and 1,728 unique parts. Its complications include the date of Easter, sidereal time and a celestial chart with 2,800 stars.
by Anna Rohleder

2 comments:

kirlis2000 said...

Hi Rui! I'm Carlos Marzo, from Spain (you are from Portugal no?) I'm working in my own web about watches, and I'm looking for exchange links with others blogs and web about this passion.

My web is: www.tiempodelujo.com

and my e-mail: admin@tiempodelujo.com

If you want, I'll add your site in my links section.

Thanks! You have a great blog!!

kirlis2000 said...

Thanks Rui! I've added your weblog in my link section!

Obrigado!