The most famous timepiece in the world just got even more expensive. The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication was expected to bring in about $17 million when it went on the auction block this week, but instead the one-of-a-kind pocket watch sold for $24 million, setting a new record for the most ever paid for a timepiece.
Yesterday we reported on the recent auction by Christie’s in Geneva where several watches by Patek Philippe brought in sums of more than $2 million each, but those figures sound like pocket change in comparison to the price that another timepiece from the brand fetched on Tuesday. At a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva the Swiss-made Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication pocket watch, which last sold for $11 million in 1999, brought in a whopping $24 million. According to a Sotheby’s spokesperson, this sale of the Patek Philippe watch “re-established its supreme status as the most valuable timepiece in auction history.”
The high price can be attributed to a bidding war among five superrich fanciers of fine watches who competed for 15 minutes before an anonymous bidder emerged victorious—and $24M poorer. The Henry Graves Supercomplication, named after the New York banker who commissioned the timepiece in 1925, has 920 individual parts and 24 features or “complications.”
Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches Tim Bourne and Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division Daryn Schnipper released this statement: “This evening’s stellar result confirms the ‘rockstar’ status of the Henry Graves Supercomplication. It is more than a watch.
“It is a masterpiece that transcends the boundaries of horology and has earned its place among the world’s greatest works of art. The fascination it has attracted over the past few months, as Patek Philippe celebrates its 175th anniversary, is a fitting tribute to the genius of the Swiss manufacturer.”
Watch lovers, start saving up now in case that anonymous buyer should decide to sell his new/old timepiece in the future.
Woz Disses the Apple Watch
Since Steve Wozniak departed the company he helped to create, Woz has never hesitated to criticize Apple or any of its products. Some of his ideas sound pretty sensible—too bad Apple didn’t pay any attention to them. It’s no big surprise that he’s not a fan of the long-awaited Apple Watch that will finally go on sale in spring 2015.
Back when Apple released the iPhone 5, Wozniak suggested that the company should have added a larger smartphone to the line. Time has proven the brand’s co-founder to be prophetic and this week he crowed to CNNMoney, “Apple could have had a much bigger share of the smartphone market if it had a larger-screen iPhone for the past three years. It could have competed better with Samsung.”
Not surprisingly, Woz has an opinion on smartwatches in general and the Apple Watch in particular. Wozniak started out enthusiastic about the idea of a wearable device but quickly grew disenchanted. “I kept saying that I’d like to have a smartphone on my wrist, so I bought a few smartwatches when they first came out,” he told CNNMoney. “I got rid of them so quick. I got real negative on smartwatches.”
After calling the Apple Watch a “luxury fitness band,” Wozniak admitted that his old company’s product did stand out from the rest. “It’s more distinctive than all the others. And who knows? It might sell well. There are a lot of wrists out there.”
We’ll find out how many of them will be sporting Apple Watches next spring.