December 6, 1999
Pocket Watch Sells for $11 Million
A gold Patek Philippe pocket watch, one of the most complicated watches ever made, sold last week at Sotheby's in New York City for a $11 million, setting a world record and far exceeding its presale estimate of $3 million-$5 million.
Sotheby's will not release the buyer's name. Patek Philippe says the buyer is a private collector from the U.S.
The watch was custom-made in 1933 for New York banker and watch collector Henry Graves Jr. It took Patek Philippe's watchmakers three years to design it and five years to manufacture it. Graves paid $15,000 for the piece, which has more than 900 individual 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
move to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL.
- by Michael Thompson