The Henry Graves Supercomplication is “the most complicated watch ever made completely by human hand”, and it’s for sale on November 14.
New York banker Henry Graves commissioned the stunning pocketwatch in 1925 from Geneva watchmaker Patek Philippe. He received it eight years later. Three years of that was purely for research.
Just look at it for a minute:
The Henry Graves Supercomplication Patek Philippe. Picture: Sotheby’s
“The list of superlatives which can be attached to this icon of the 20th century is truly extraordinary,” auction house Sotheby’s says, describing it as “indisputably the Holy Grail of watches”.
What makes the Henry Graves Supercomplication – just saying it makes you feel special – so extraordinary is it carries the kind of features the rest of us didn’t get in one mobile device until more than 80 years later.
As well as the regular time, it includes:
- a perpetual calendar
- the phases of the moon
- sidereal time (a timekeeping system used by astronomers)
- power reserve
- indications for the time of sunset and sunrise, and
- the night sky of New York City
All up, it features 24 complications. It took computer-aided engineering until 1989 to come up with a successor – the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 – which featured 33 complications.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication sold in 1999 for $US11 million ($11.75 million) and is expected to surpass $18 million this time around.