When the hammer came down on lot 79 at Christie’s December 14 New York auction, an unassuming Patek Philippe pocket watch with a pre-sale estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 had reached $242,500. The watch, manufactured in 1913, received a Geneva Observatory rating certificate in 1920 and was delivered to its American retailer in 1921. In 1925, it was purchased by American super-collector Henry Graves.
The 50mm diameter watch with enamel dial has hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, and an up-down or power reserve indication.
According to Christie’s sale notes, no one knows for sure how many watches Mr. Graves ordered from Patek Philippe, however it is understood that he commissioned approximately 30 timepieces in all. To date there are 15 known watches owned by Mr. Graves, and this piece brings the number to 16. The watch is engraved with the Graves family crest and motto Esse Quam Videri – To Be Rather Than to Seem.
A modern Breguet also generated an excellent result. Lot 327, estimated at $250,000 to $350,000, brought $434,500. This Breguet ref. 3857 in platinum is a minute repeater, perpetual calendar and tourbillon with jumping hours, retrograde date and leap year indication. Manufactured in 1997, it is one of three highly complicated pieces produced by Breguet to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Louis Breguet.
Complete sale results are available on the official Christie’s Web site.