World’s Most Famous Watch for Sale

The Henry Graves Supercomplication, (1933) which formerly belonged to the late Sheikh Al-Thani, sold for $24 Million at Sotheby's Geneva just a day after his mysterious death. Photo: Sotheby's


Sotheby’s announced Friday that The Henry Graves Supercomplication will be for sale November 14, 2014 in Geneva. The watch, made by Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1933, is both the world’s most famous watch and the most complicated watch ever made entirely by human hand. It is estimated at more than CHF 15 million ($16.8 million). 15 years after its record-breaking sale, its reappearance on the market is set to coincide with Philippe’s 175th anniversary celebrations.

Tim Bourned, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches, and Daryn Schnipper, the Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division, called it, “the Holy Grail of watches,” and added that, “Our offering of this horological work of art in 1999 was unquestionably the highlight of our professional careers.”

The timepiece was commissioned by New York banker Henry Graves in 1925. After three years of research and another five of work by technicians, the watch was made. Its complications include moon phases, power reserve, a perpetual calendar, as well as indications of sunset and sunrise times. The gold openface minute repeating chronograph clockwatch with Westminster chimes has a total of 24 horological complications. It was the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years, only being surpassed when technicians used computer-assisted technology.

Its record sale 15 years ago was held by Sotheby’s New York. The December 1999 sale included 81 works from the Time Museum. The watch was estimated at $3-5 million, but set a record and exceeded expectations by fetching $11 million – the most expensive watch sold at auction.

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