Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Most Expensive Pocket Watch
In 1933, Patek Phillipe delivered a gold coach watch to New York banker Henry Graves Jr. dubbed the “Supercomplication”. For over a decade, Graves had taken part in a vain competition with another of America’s richest elites, Ohio automobile engineer James Ward Packard to have commissioned a watch with the most complications in the world. The horology term ‘complication’ refers to a mechanical feature beyond the simple hours, minutes, and seconds movement. The Graves Supercomplication watch had 24 complications, and took over five years to design and manufacture the 900 parts making up the complicated and expensive pocket watch. Packard ended up losing the competition at this point.
The Graves Supercomplication had more complications than any other timepiece ever created until Patek Phillipe outdid themselves in 1989 with the Caliber ‘89, which surpassed the Supercomplication by containing 33 complications. Among the secondary functions featured by Graves’s pocket watch was a celestial chart based on the night sky above Graves’ home in New York! After Graves died the watch ended up in Seth G. Atwood’s Time Museum in Rockford, Illinois from 1953 to 1999.
When the museum closed in 1999, the watch was sold at Sotheby’s Masterpieces from the Time Museum auction. On December 2, 1999 the world’s most expensive pocket watch ever became the Graves Supercomplication when an anonymous Middle Eastern collector made the final bid of $10 million dollars.