PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN COLLECTION
Horace Sears, the son of the Reverend Dr. Edmund Hamilton Sears, grew up in the idyllic town of Weston, Massachusetts, a small town outside Boston. Sears began his career as a clerk for a Boston ship chandler selling canvas for sails and grew rapidly in his role. Before long, he co-founded the textile firm Wellington, Sears & Co., where he amassed his fortune. In addition to Sears’ business accomplishments, he was also a great philanthropist.
In 1898, Sears started the development of his grand estate, Haleiwa, in his childhood home of Weston. Like many Gilded Age magnates, Sears hired only the best to help design and build his magnificent home in the style of the Renaissance Revival. The legendary Olmsted Brothers were commissioned to design the landscaping, and Arthur Shurcliff later added Italianate decorative elements to the landscape, such as fountains, terraces, and balustrades. The estate was completed in 1901 and it is relevant to note that the mansion housed a 200-seat theatre used to hold performances by the Friendly Society, a theatrical group that raised funds to benefit the First Parish Church. This was particularly special to Sears, as he was the President of First Parish Friendly Society.
Sears was a prominent figure in Weston and dedicated much of his wealth to the betterment of the town. He was the driving force behind the Village Improvement Plan that created the Town Green. Additionally, the Sears Hall was named after Sears after his generous donation to the town hall in 1917.
It would only befit a gentleman of Mr. Sears’ standing to own a watch such as the present lot. Highly complicated, featuring perpetual calendar, split second chronograph and minute repeating, it embodies the apex of watchmaking. The first such known piece is recorded from 1887, and scholars estimate that no more than two such pieces might have been made annually.
Within a few years of the present lot’s sale in 1908, Patek Philippe would begin to receive commissions from now-celebrated horological patrons James Ward Packard and Henry Graves, Jr. With this investment in a timekeeping masterpiece, Sears was a pioneer of American turn-of-the-century magnates whose fortunes and curatorial eyes brought them to Patek Philippe.
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