A watch that was manufactured back in 1932 is still breaking world records and well that sure tells us one thing; it was one heck of a watch! It is known by the name of Henry Graves Supercomplication and has been sold for $24 million. The watch also holds the record of being the world’s most complicated handmade pre-digital timepiece (Guinness Record) and an anonymous buyer purchased it at Sotheby’s Geneva after only 15 minutes of bidding competition between 5 bidders.
The Supercomplication was crafted on commission for Henry Graves Jr., a New York Banker. According to Sotheby’s, Graves took inspiration from his rivalry with James Ward Packard, an automaker, regarding who could get the most complicated watch manufactured. The task was awarded to a Swiss watchmaking firm of Patek Philippe in 1925. The final product came after 3 years of research and 5 years of work done on bench and was delivered to Graves in 1933. The open-face watch, made in gold, was shipped under special conditions to ensure that the mechanism of the watch is protected when it sails over Atlantic.
Take a look at the watch and you would understand how it got the peculiar name; Supercomplication. To sum it up, it looks as if it was created in response to the demands given by an eight year old who is exceptionally gifted and has unlimited resources at disposal. The watch has two faces and that’s not the only thing; the gold case holds 920 parts, 430 screws, 110 wheels, 70 jewels, 120 removable parts and a small aperture that allows the user to take a look inside the mechanism and see if it is working fine.
The final product with all the workmanship resulted in a big watch having 24 complications – also known as 24 different working mechanisms – that include a perpetual calendar good to go up to the year 2100, a moon dial, sidereal time dial, power reserve indicator, sunset and sunrise times, night sky map that is set for New York and Westminster chimes that marks the passage of time if the user can’t find the minute and hour hands.
Sotheby’s spokesman said, “The list of superlatives which can be attached to this icon of the 20th century is truly extraordinary. Indisputably the ‘Holy Grail’ of watches, the Henry Graves Supercomplication combines the Renaissance ideal of the unity of beauty and craftsmanship with the apogee of science. Our offering of this horological work of art in 1999 was unquestionably the highlight of our professional careers and set a world record, which has held until today. We are extremely privileged to be offering it once again.” Check out the youtube video below for more details: