Patek philippe john lennon

Court battle close to resolving ownership of John Lennon’s $10 million Patek Philippe grail watch

The watch is reported to have been given by Ms Ono to The Beatles star on his 40th birthday, just two months before he was murdered in 1980 outside his home in New York City.

An article by men’s luxury magazine GQ in 2020 describes “the legend” of John Lennon’s priceless Patek Philippe 2499, which is thought to have been stolen after his death by his wife Yoko Ono’s chauffer. 

The perpetual calendar watch is reported to have been given by Ms Ono to The Beatles star on his 40th birthday, just two months before he was murdered in 1980 outside his home in New York City.

Lennon was pictured with a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499 in that year (pictured above).

It is said to have fallen into the hands of Ms Ono’s driver, who then allegedly sold it.

Now that watch, often described as a grail watch by collectors hoping it might come to market, appears to have been located and is now subject to a court battle in Geneva that will establish its rightful owner.

If a years-long legal battle over the watch is resolved, it could pave the way to an auction sale that could see it selling for between $5 million and $10 million, experts say.

A key step in establishing the legal owner of the watch came in June, when a Geneva court ruled that it belongs to Ms Ono.

An Italian watch collector, who argues he bought the piece in good faith, is appealing.

That collector, who lives in Hong Kong, bought the watch for CHF 600,000, he claims in documents lodged with the Geneva court.

He wanted to have it valued in 2014, and Ms Ono was contacted to discuss its provenance.

That approach led to the battle over its ownership that has continued to this day.

If either Ms Ono or the collector legally establish ownership of the watch, and its link to Mr Lennon just before his murder, it could then become one of the most important auction lots in the watch world since the sale of Paul Newman’s Daytona for $17 million.

Its provenance, and the ensuing mystery about its whereabouts and ownership, will have collectors licking their lips at the prospect of acquiring it.

Even without the connection to The Beatles legend, the rare ref. 2499 commands stellar prices at auction.

Even in the cooling market of 2022, Sotheby’s in Hong Kong sold a pink gold piece with French language days and dates for HK$60.3 million (US$7.7 million) at its Spring sale, setting a new auction record for the model.