Professional Jeweler Archive: Pocket Watch Sells for $11 Million

March 2000


Pocket Watch Sells for $11 Million

Sotheby’s auction sets record

A gold Patek Philippe pocket watch, one of the most complicated watches ever made, sold for $11 million in December at Sotheby’s in New York City. That far exceeded the $3 million to $5 million presale estimate and set a world record for a timepiece sold at auction.

Sotheby’s declines to name the buyer, but Patek Philippe says it’s a private collector from the U.S.

The pocket watch was custom-made in 1933 for Henry Graves Jr., a banker and watch collector in New York City. Patek Philippe’s watchmakers took three years to design the watch and five years to make it. It has more than 900 parts, including 430 screws, 110 wheels, 120 various movable parts and 70 jewels. The 24 complications include a tiny rotating picture of the stars and moon phases over New York City on any given night of the year.

The watch and 80 other fine timepieces from the Time Museum in Rockford, IL, sold at the auction, raising more than $28 million. The museum is closing, and its remaining 1,400 pieces will be moved to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL.

– by Michael Thompson

This Henry Graves procket watch sold for $15,000 in 1933 and for $11 million at an auction in December.

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