- A UNIQUE AND MASSIVE PLATINUM CURVED RECTANGULAR WRISTWATCH 1942 (MOVEMENT) AND 1947 (CASE) MVT 922902
- length 47.5 mm, width 39 mm
Henry Graves, Jr.
Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.
Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."
Accompanied by copy of Mr. Fullerton's service records from Patek Philippe confirming cleaning and overhaul of this watch in March 2000.
Made especially for Henry Graves, Jr., this massive and unique wristwatch was a pivotal departure in Graves' late 1940s collecting habits. While his earlier acquisitions focused on accuracy and complication in the form of pocket watches, Graves' purchases in the late 1940s turned their focus to wristwatches. As he approached his 80th birthday, Graves decided to buy watches that could be discreetly worn and reflect the current fashion. The hands-free convenience of wearing a wristwatch over a pocket watch also appealed to his practicality.
However, Graves' wristwatch purchases were not meant to be showpieces; they were chosen for their precision and the architectural structure of their cases and dials. In this spirit, Graves would enthusiastically welcome such a unique watch to his collection as this massive platinum rectangular wristwatch. As with his pocket watches, a wristwatch made for Henry Graves, Jr. needed to be superlative, and this special order filled this desire.
Bought directly from Tiffany & Co., New York in late 1947 for the grand price of $1500, this watch shared the same retail as a Ref. 1518 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch of the day. This price represents one of the highest sums paid for any Patek Philippe time-only watch from the era. Furthermore, the records indicate that the Henri Stern Watch Agency (HSWA) took a special loss of $525 in the production of this special order for their patron collector. Knowing how much Graves purchased from Patek Philippe, the decision to sell this watch to Graves at a loss was most likely an easy business decision to make.
The reason for the high cost of this particular watch was the specially made and extremely heavy platinum case. During the second World War, platinum was declared a strategic metal and its use in the production of jewelry and watches was almost unheard of and often forbidden. Considering that Graves bought almost exclusively platinum Patek Philippe watches during the 1930s, he was enthusiastic to own a wristwatch of the same favored case metal and status that matched his pre-war collecting habits. The Henri Stern Watch Agency ordered the case on behalf of Tiffany & Co. for Mr. Graves from the French casemaker Villaret-Dauvergne. It is likely that the choice of supplier was a simple decision of economics to ensure Mr. Graves' satisfaction in quality while managing the costs of such a large case in such a precious metal.
The movement of this watch was completed and sold to HSWA in 1942. The 12 lignes movement was chosen for Mr. Graves' watch for its observatory-quality finish and accuracy. Stamped twice with the seal of Geneva, the movement represented the highest quality of Patek Philippe's wristwatch calibers.
The watch features an equally massive dial that made the time easy to read and the wearable equivalent of the Supercomplication in terms of magnitude. Then as now, the design of this watch inspires confidence and ensures quality with an unquestionably timeless style.