Christie’s, New York, 9 December 2014
Sold for $50,000
The name of Henry Graves Junior will be familiar to most QP readers as a result of his ownership of the now legendary “Supercomplication” pocket watch which recently re-asserted its position as the world’s most valuable timepiece by selling for a record $24 million.
It’s well known that Graves was a Patek devotee and that he owned many of the firm’s watches, both in wrist and pocket form – but, according to Christie’s, he eschewed his more valuable and expensive pieces as “daily wearers” in favour of this delightfully spare Reference 565J.
From the completely opposite end of the horological spectrum to the Supercomplication, this yellow gold three-hander with baton markers was the watch worn by Graves for knocking about in – and, as the first large-cased (34.5mm), water-resistant piece to be made by Patek, it probably proved entirely practical for the purpose.
It last appeared on the market in June 2012 when Sotheby’s sold 13 ex-Graves pieces together with 40 others from the estate of his late grandson, Reginald ‘Pete’ Fullerton. On that occasion, the Reference 565J achieved $47,500, just $2,500 less than it sold for this time at Christie’s. So it’s not exactly proving to be an investment in the Supercomplication league. But it’s still a darned nice wristwatch.