The world economy is looking up and as a result you are seeing the record of most expensive items in different categories being broken every other day. Graves Supercomplication watch made 80 years ago for the secretive New York financier Henry Graves, Jr. is scheduled to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 11. With a low end estimate of 15 million Swiss Francs it is all set to become the most expensive timepiece ever. Sotheby’s had taken the watch on a world tour spread over two months and the watch expectedly created a buzz in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, London, and New York.
Graves Supercomplication has the same status as Mona Lisa has in the field of fine art. Patek Philippe, who were commissioned to make the watch, took five years to design the pocket watch and another three years to craft it to reality. The watch crafted out of 18 carat gold boasts of 24 complications making it the most complicated watch of its era. Apart from having a perpetual calendar, the watch is capable of measuring sunrise and sunset. The chime incorporated in the watch has the same melody as the Big Ben and above all the watch features the celestial chart that perfectly plots the night sky above Graves’s former duplex overlooking the Central Park Zoo on Fifth Avenue.
The custom made watch was delivered to Mr. Graves in 1933 and had cost him $15,000 at the time. To recreate an equally complicated watch would easily cost $2 million today. The current owner of the watch, Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar had acquired it in a tense but thrilling auction way back in 1999 for $11 million which is still standing as a record for the most expensive watch ever. The Sheikh has accumulated huge debts with Sotheby’s and has pledged over 200 items, including the most complicated watch, for auction to cover the debt. Watch collection has, over the years become a global money spectacle much like art, cars, and wine and seven figure prices for remarkable pieces have become rather common. Watch this space to know the result of the auction.