Important Collectors' Wristwatches, P...

New York, Mar 05, 2009

LOT 539

Platinum Minute-Repeater Sold to Henry Graves Jr. Patek Philippe, Genève, No. 198095, case No. 606433. Made for Henry Graves Jr. in 1927. Very fine and extremely rare, tonneau-shaped, minute-repeating, platinum wristwatch with a platinum Patek Philippe buckle. Accompanied by an Exract from the Archives.

USD 250,000 - 350,000

EUR 200,000 - 275,000 / CHF 300,000 - 410,000

Sold: USD 630,000

C. Three-body, solid, polished, concave lugs, case back engraved with coat-of-arms and the motto ?Esse Quam Videri? (to be rather than to seem). D. Matte silver with applied platinum Breguet numerals, outer minute track, subsidiary seconds dial. White gold spade hand. M. Cal. 11???, rhodium plated, first quality (ébauche Victorin Piguet), fausses cotes decoration, 29 jewels, wolf?s tooth winding, straight-line lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance adjusted to 8 positions, blued steel flat balance spring, index regulator, repeating on gongs activated by a slide on the band. Dial, case and movement signed. Dim. 29 x 35 mm. Thickness 7 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-10-01



HANDS Original


Henry Graves, Jr. (1868-1953) A prominent business man, sportsman and collector from New York. He was a great lover of watches and a passionate collector of Patek Philippe watches in particular. Graves ordered a number of watches to specification from Patek Philippe and, notably, commissioned them to manufacture the most complicated timepieces. After three years of preliminary studies, it took five years to complete that extraordinary pocket watch (1928-1933), which featured 24 complications; its movement contained over 800 parts arranged on four levels. The Patek Philippe Graves Watch remained the most complicated watch ever made for over fifty years, until 1989, when Patek Philippe created the Calibre 89, with 33 complications, to celebrate their 150th anniversary.
Until the present day, fifteen timepieces commissioned by Henry Graves Jr. have appeared at auction. Twelve of these were pocket watches (including one desk clock) and only three were wristwatches: (i) a Ref. 1518; (ii) a Ref. 2425; and (iii) a tonneau-shaped platinum minute-repeater (see Antiquorum October 11th, 1987, lot 318). Cushion-shaped minute repeaters are equally scarce and to the best of our knowledge, only two others have ever appeared at auction: a yellow gold wristwatch (movement 198094, see Huber and Banbery p.316) and the other was a platinum and yellow gold watch that originally sold to Ralph Teetor. The present platinum-cased minute-repeater is the first of its kind to appear at auction and was previously unknown to the market. Having been stored away for the past 30 years, it has remained in remarkable unrestored original condition, showing strong hallmarks on the lug and inside the case back. This is a unique opportunity to acquire an understated yet complicated timepiece that embodies Graves?s philosophy ?To be rather than to seem.? For in depth description of the historical significance of Henry Graves Jr. collection of Patek Philippe timepieces, see "Patek Philippe in America: Marketing the World's Foremost Watch" by John Reardon, page 76-82.