MANUFACTURED IN 1927 FOR AMERICAN BANKER HENRY GRAVES JR AND UNKNOWN TO THE MARKET UNTIL JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, THIS WATCH IS ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT PURE MINUTE REPEATING WRISTWATCH MADE BY THE HOUSE.
Born into an affluent banking family, Graves Jr soon developed a passion for complicated timepieces and became an endeared Patek Philippe’s client. Mr. Graves is famous for his unusual competition with Mr. James Ward Packard – whom ironically he never met in his entire life over who would own the most complicated timepiece. Beyond allegedly saving Patek Philippe’s from bankruptcy during the years of the great depression, this antagonism is what brought to the world pieces such as the Henry Graves Supercomplication, finished in 1933 after 8 years of studies and development, and which remained the most complicated timepiece in the world until 1989, when Patek introduced the Calibre 89. There is no need to further underline the importance of the Graves provenance for a Patek Philippe creation, and obviously the few timepieces that escaped his collection are now highly prized crown jewels in the world’s most important collections and museums.
In order to fully appreciate the rarity of the present timepiece, it is worth noting that among the more than 30 Patek Philippe watches made for Graves, only four of them were fitted with minute repeating mechanisms: Two fitted with tonneau-shaped cases, both on permanent exhibition at the Patek Philippe Museum. Of the remaining two, one was fitted with a tortue/tonneau-shaped gold case, sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2012. It is now one of the most cherished possessions of an important private collector. The other one is the present lot. Consequently, this is most likely the last opportunity – possibly for decades to come, to acquire a Graves minute repeating wristwatch, and the only known with a cushion-shaped platinum case.
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