IT’S COMPLICATED: The world’s most famous watch has changed hands once again, setting a new world record of $24 million at auction.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication, completed by Patek Philippe in 1932, is billed as the most complicated watch ever made without the assistance of computer technology.
It was commissioned by American banker Henry Graves Jr. and features 24 complications, including a sky chart depicting the night sky for the exact longitude of Graves’ apartment overlooking Central Park on Fifth Avenue.
The story of the race between Graves and automobile tycoon James Ward Packard to commission the world’s most complicated watch is told in journalist Stacy Perman’s book “A Grand Complication,” published by Simon & Schuster last year.
The Supercomplication retained the title of world’s most complicated watch until Patek Phillipe produced the Caliber 89, with 33 complications, to mark its 150th anniversary in 1989. Unlike the Caliber 89, however, only one example of the Supercomplication was ever made.
The watch set a world record when it was sold by Sotheby’s in New York in 1999 for $11 million. Sotheby’s also handled Tuesday’s sale in Geneva, timed to coincide with the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe, which saw the timepiece go for 23,237,000 Swiss francs.