In-Depth Hands-Up With The Henry Graves Junior. Patek Philippe Super complication

Today is an extremely large day for all of us Swiss Best Patek Philippe enthusiasts – it’s the day this great Genevan company will unveil its celebratory watches because of its 175th birthday. I’m in Geneva to pay for this in more detail once the curtain lifts later tonight, but prior to getting to that particular, I figured today was nearly as good each day just like any to inform you something special. Since beginning HODINKEE over six years back, I have reached see some vital, and rare, watches. Pieces like split-seconds chronographs from Rolex watch, an Hermes-signed Paul Newman Daytona, a distinctive chronometer grade Patek possessed with a disgraced Texas attorney (and never through the guy from Fight Club, ever), or even a platinum 2499 possessed by Eric Clapton. I have seen the very first Grand Complication available by Patek Philippe, and most a couple of mega-watches possessed by the most crucial watch collector ever, New You are able to banker Henry Graves Junior. However the one dream watch which i had not had the ability to touch within the metal was basically the dreamiest of all of them – the Henry Graves Junior. Patek Philippe Super complication, the most crucial (and costly) watch in the world. But late this summer time, that transformed.

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In This summer of the year, Sotheby’s confirmed to HODINKEE that indeed, they’d be auctioning from the Henry Graves Super complication for that second time. The final time they offered this monster, 70 mm, one-pound-plus mega complication; it shattered auction records and offered for $11,000,000. Another watch has not hit half that quantity since. Which is due to its possession which i wasn’t, until this very day in this summer, sure that I’d ever view it within the metal within my existence. The thing is the timepiece does not fit in with the Patek Philippe Museum; it goes to some private family – the Qatari Royal Family to become exact. Even though that family was generous enough to loan the timepiece Patek Philippe Museum for quite some time, it has not been in display there in on the decade. Think of the frustration for me personally, the timepiece guy, the inability to begin to see the watch!


After which came a 2012 article from Bloomberg recommending this person in the royal group of Qatar really required to sell this watch. The details were shady, and also over 18 several weeks passed with no particulars – or any confirmation of who possessed the timepiece which they’d market it. But, it switched to be accurate (a minimum of the most costly watch on the planet could be offered – Sotheby’s obviously cannot disclose who’s consigning it) as well as on November 11, 2014, at 6 p.m. in Geneva, the earth’s best watch will hit the block once more. The estimate this time around? More than $15,000,000.

What makes this watch stand out, and why was I so happy to spend an mid-day by using it in the Sotheby’s New You are able to office in August? Well, Patek Philippe No. 198.385 would be a special commission from Mr. Graves, had already were built with a storied good reputation for special commissions. This enormous illustration of human resourcefulness consists of 24 different horological complications. 24. And also the watch was built during a period of seven years, starting in 1925. 24 complications, using the work happening within the 20’s, implies that that watch was built entirely manually, and all sorts of information for that 24 complications were refrained from the use of a single computer. That’s absolutely mind-dazzling. What exactly will it do, exactly?


There is not much it does not do. The Super complication, according to Sotheby’s directly is:

“A gold, double-called and double open-faced, minute repeating clock watch with Westminster chimes, grandee and petite sonnerie, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minute and 12-hrs, perpetual calendar, moon-phases, equation of your time, dual energy reserve for striking on and on trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, signs for occasions of sunrise/sunset along with a celestial chart for that evening time sky of recent You are able to City.”

It may sound so simple once they place it this way, does not it? On one for reds (seen above) you’ve standard time, perpetual calendar display via apertures at 3:30 and eight:30, with date at 6 o’clock (outdoors running seconds) and moonphase at 12 o’clock. The double-registers at 2:30 and 9:30 contain both 12-hour and 30-minute chronograph counters, additionally to energy reserve for that time-telling area of the movement, and also the central alarm mechanism.


Along the side of the situation you will find several switches. One of these turns the sonnerie off and on, the following switches it from a petite (only the quarter, instantly) and grand sonnerie (hour and quarter, instantly), along with a third turns the central alarm off and on. On the other hand, you will find the minute repeater slide. However the minute repeater around the Graves Super complication is really “Westminster chime.” What this means is it plays the chime in the Westminster London clock everyone knows as Large Ben, a tune obtained from the 5th bar of Handel’s aria in the Deliverer, “I understand that my redeemer lived.”

You’ve never seen anything such as this inside your existence.

The split-seconds chronograph is run by the winding crown, despite the fact that the timepiece has not been maintained since 1969 (seriously), it works perfectly, just like the chiming and alarm systems.

Turn the keep an eye on, and you will begin to see the Super complication’s infamous sky chart, the muse for oh lots of Patek’s later watches.


Round the outdoors from the dial you will see a 24-hour display – this really is sidereal time. The 2 sub-registers off-center show the sunrise and sunset, as the central sub-register at 6 o’clock shows the equation of your time. Obviously, the absolutely stunning sky chart, equation of your time, sunrise and sunset are adjusted particularly towards the New You are able to City home of Henry Graves Junior. at 64th Street and fifth Avenue.

Up top about this second side from the Graves Super complication? The personalized dial saying to whom this watch was built, solely, by whom. Henry Graves, Junior. Of recent you are able to, by Patek Philippe, of Geneva Europe. It does not get a lot better than that. Really, it absolutely does not have any much better than that.

Things I never understood concerning the Super complication until seeing it within the metal is the way large it’s, and just how the dials basically float over the situation. Each dial, totally unrestored and including beautiful, mild patina, is not set in to the situation whatsoever. They sit over the situation, so when the leading hinges close, they’re surrounded snuggly.

It’s really with these little gaps between your dial the situation that certain can easily see the beating balance wheel, as well as browse the serial quantity of the timepiece. Remember, in dual-on the side’s watches, you have to take away the hands, and also the dial, to determine the movement. This really is clearly the riskiest a part of any service, and Patek think it is to put the serial number ready viewable without needing anybody to get rid of anything. Brilliant, really.

What can’t be communicated for you via these photographs, or anything I only say, really, may be the sheer impressiveness of the piece within the metal. It’s gigantic – over 70 mm across and weighing on the solid pound – however it does not feel overgrown like many grand complication wrist watches. This watch feels right, just the way in which it’s. To determine all of the functions still work perfectly over eighty years after production, without the assistance of computer systems, is really enchanting. Here you go in hands, to provide you with a concept of scale.

I must be truthful and state that seeing the Graves Super complication was something of the emotional experience for me personally. Like a true believer the most impressive horological craftsmanship is behind us, this watch is usually the very pinnacle of the items makes this hobby a lot fun. Even though this giant pocket watch is not practical, it’s amazing to consider the number of great Patek Philippe’s were thanks to the introduction of its 24 individual complications. This watch is usually the godfather to any or all complicated Patek, so that as I said 2 . 5 years back after i purchased a watch owned by Mr. Graves’ grandson; in my opinion this family is the most significant family within the good reputation for collecting. It had been Henry Graves’ orders, including this enormous one, that stored Patek alive throughout its most trying years, which watch, by having an $11 million cost or otherwise, means a lot to look at enthusiasts, and as much to present day watchmakers (though I doubt many understand it).

Above is really a picture I simply needed to take. That’s my Universal Geneve ca. 1948, when the property of Pete Fullerton, the grandson of Henry Graves. At some point, both of these watches were within the same household, and these are reunited fifty years later.


Significantly improved you realize a bit more concerning the Henry Graves Super complication, we must request the (eleven) billion dollar question: what’s going to it cost on November eleventh in Geneva? It’s one which nobody, and that i mean nobody, appears prepared to answer. Therefore it offered for eleven in 1999, however that number has shown to be untouchable since, despite the fact that pocket watches in general are a little of the stale market. I have talked to buddies in the market, enthusiasts, and sellers, with no one can tell where you can peg the Graves watch. Sotheby themselves possesses a pre-purchase estimate of “more than $15,000,000.”

Under normal conditions, coming back close to 37% over fifteen years would appear totally reasonable. Imagine it had offered for $110,000 in 1999 – to consider it might bring $150,000 in 2014 will be a sure wager. But we are speaking millions here, most of them. Think about it that in 1999, the timepiece offered to among the richest families in the world and today these are, as to think the 2012 Bloomberg report, consigning the timepiece to pay for a personal debt to Sotheby’s. Cure can afford that much for any single watch, and something you can’t you should get some wrist and decide to try dinner? Clearly the Patek Philippe Museum is going to be interested, also it may be their last opportunity to claim the timepiece his or her own, and so I expect these to push hard. But, so as for this hitting 15 million, Sotheby’s will require a minimum of one other mega-buyer. It might easily happen, which watch – perhaps the finish all trump card in the overall game of horological one-upmanship – could cost much more. We just have no idea because there’s so very little available info on enthusiasts of the quality.


What we should can say for certain is the fact that we come in the area to pay for this historic moment and you will see a lot more in the future around the Henry Graves Super complication. Meanwhile, relax and revel in these live photos of the most basic, most costly watch available.