GENEVA – The Henry Graves Supercomplication re-established its supreme status as the most valuable timepiece in auction history, selling for $24 million (CHF 23.2 million) at tonight's sale of Important Watches. Five bidders competed over the course of 15 suspenseful minutes, and when the gavel went down, the Henry Graves Supercomplication shattered the previous world record by nearly $13 million (CHF 12.5 million). Sotheby's first sold the Henry Graves Supercomplication in New York in December 1999, as a part of a sale of 81 masterpieces from the world-renowned Time Museum, when it sold for a record-breaking $11 million, a world auction record for a timepiece until tonight's auction.
Completed by Patek Philippe in 1932 and estimated in excess of $15.5 million (CHF 15 million), The Henry Graves Supercomplication is the most famous watch in the world and the most complicated watch ever made by human hands without computer-assisted technology. Tonight’s record bid brought the total of the Important Watches auction to an outstanding $32.6 million (CHF 31.6 million).
In addition to the Graves Supercomplication, Rolex watches performed strongly today, including a rare Daytona "Paul Newman" in yellow gold, circa 1968, which tripled its pre-sale low estimate, selling for $252,867 (CHF 245,000). Other highlights included a very important example of Patek Philippe Ref. 3974 in yellow gold, with automatic perpetual calendar, minute-repeating and moon-phases, circa 1991, which achieved $339,564 (CHF 329,000), and the IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Edition "The Last Flight," selling for $41,284 (CHF 40,000). The proceeds from this watch, designed to commemorate 70 years since the tragic death of celebrated writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, will benefit the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation and go to support the Hospital Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil’s largest children’s hospital.