A Patek Philippe wristwatch, made for legendary watch collector Henry Graves Jr, has beaten its estimate by 274.3% at a Sotheby's auction in the US.
The 18k yellow gold tonneau minute-repeating wristwatch sold for $3m against an $800,000 high estimate at the June 14 auction. Its 1928 sale date makes it the earliest known minute repeating wristwatch purchased by the renowned collector, a key factor in boosting its price.
The only example made in yellow gold, it is engraved with the Graves family coat of arms and motto. Graves owned four minute-repeaters in all, the other three were cased in platinum.
It was one of 13 Patek Philippe watches in the sale that had previously been unknown.
"It's like finding a dozen Picassos from the finest Picasso collector sitting in a closet," commented John Reardon, Sotheby's New York head of watches.
American Henry Graves Jr inherited his love of watches from his father, who famously competed with James Ward Packard to become the owner of the most complicated timepiece in existence.
That tussle bore the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which made $11m at a Sotheby's sale in 1999, setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a watch at auction.
An 18k yellow gold centre-seconds perpetual calendar Patek Philippe wristwatch with Moon phases also performed well at the June 14 auction, making $722,500 against a $500,000 valuation.
Patek Philippe is the big mover on the watch auction scene. A two-crown world-time reference 2523/1 achieved a $1m world record for its reference on June 13, while four world records were set for watches by the Swiss manufacturer in New York on April 25.
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