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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Record-Breaking Henry Graves ‘Supercomplication’ To Be Sold At Sotheby's

The Henry Graves Supercomplication, Patek Philippe, 1933

The watch that set a worldwide auction record 15 years ago will return to the block in November at Sotheby’s Geneva sale of Important Watches November 14. The Henry Graves “Supercomplication” has an estimate in excess of CHF 15 million ($16.8 million).

The Henry Graves Supercomplication made by Patek Philippe in 1933 is the most complicated watch ever made completely by human hand, Sotheby’s said. It is also considered to be the world’s most famous watch. It’s reappearance on the market after its record sale will coincide with Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary celebrations. 

Sotheby’s first sold the timepiece in New York in December 1999, with an estimate of $3-5 million. It sparked an extended bidding war and sold for a record-breaking $11 million, becoming the most expensive timepiece ever sold at 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.”

In 1925, Patek Philippe was commissioned by Henry Graves, a prominent New York banker, to produce the most complicated watch in the world. The product of three years of research and five years of effort it resulted in a gold openface minute repeating chronograph clockwatch with Westminster chimes. Among its features are a perpetual calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and indications for time of sunset and sunrise and the night sky of New York City. With a total of 24 horological complications, The Graves watch retained the title of the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years and even then was only surpassed by technicians working with the aid of computer-assisted machines.

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