Henry Graves, Jr.
Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr.
With an Extract from the Archives confirming the date of manufacture of the movement in 1895, encasement in 1927, and subsequent sale on June 16th, 1928.
Research has shown that this previously unknown watch is likely to be the earliest minute repeating wristwatch purchased by Henry Graves, Jr. Henry Graves Jr., is known to have owned four minute repeating wristwatches.
The present watch is also the only one made for Graves in yellow gold. The three others were cased in platinum. Of those, the most famous and nearly identical to the present lot is No.198212, now in the Patek Philippe Museum. For an illustration of No.198212, see Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Second Edition, p. 315. One platinum example, in a smaller cushion form case, No. 198095 appeared at auction for the first time in 2010 and another platinum cushion repeater, No. 198378 appeared at auction over 20 years ago.
At this early date, very few minute repeating wristwatches were manufactured by Patek Philippe. It is thought that the earliest minute repeater built as a wristwatch was created in 1906, but may have never been cased. From 1925, the sale of minute repeating wristwatches can be traced and were made up until 1942. That said, there are only twelve today known from the earliest production period. It is not until post war times, in the late 1940s into the early 1950s, that Patek Philippe's production of minute repeaters was done in series and models were assigned reference numbers.
Of further interest is the fact that this watch was delivered a year following Henry Graves, Jr.'s most famous watch commission for No. 198035, the Supercomplication.
Today there are twelve Patek Philippe minute repeating wristwatches known from the early part of the 20th century. Of this group, only three have tonneau cases: two were made for Graves, and the third is known through a published archival photograph. The illustration is in Armbandurhen, Khalert, H., Mühe, R. and Brunner, G. p. 39. It should be noted that the first digit of the movement number is cut off in the photograph, however it is most likely 198306.
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