Sotheby’s Geneva achieved a world record price for timepiece as the legendary Patek Philippe Graves Supercomplication sold to ‘the man in the red tie’ for more than $24m (£15.1m) yesterday.
The winning bid smashed the estimate of prices in excess of $15m.
The 70mm drum watch, hand-built over eight years featuring 24 complications, was commissioned from Patek Philippe by banker and watch collector Henry Graves Jr in 1925. When finished it was the most complicated watch ever produced and remained so until Patek’s Calibre 89 in 1989, however this watch was created with the assistance of Computer Aided Design (CAD), a technology not available in the 1920s.
The person placing the winning bid has been identified on Hodinkee.com as Aurel Bacs, formerly head of Christie’s International Watch Department, and newly appointed consultant for Phillips Auction House. It is assumed that Bacs, who was also a prolific bidder at Christie’s Patek Philippe 175 Auction at the weekend, was bidding on behalf of a client.
Sotheby’s handled the sale of the watch the last time it was offered in 1999 after Graves’ death. Then the watch achieved $11m (£6.4m) and is believed to have been sold to art collector and member of the Qatari Royal Family, Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, who died in London at the weekend. It has been reported that Al-Thani, who had spent more than $1bn on art during his lifetime, put the watch up for auction this summer to cover an outstanding debt with Sotheby’s.
The gold, double-dialled and double open-faced watch features 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.