The Graves Supercomplication is probably the most talked about and written about replica watch in the world, even counting the ink on Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman Daytona.”The history of watches is very popular. The watch was commissioned by Patek’s Henry graves JR., and is said to have been made to do better than another very complicated watch by James ward packard. The Graves watch, which took eight years to design and manufacture, was the most complex watch in the world when it was debuted in 1933
This would be the last time that the fake watch saw a six-figure price tag. Atwood died in 2010, at the age of 92, but long before his death, the huge collection of timepieces in the Time Museum were auctioned off due to the sale of the building housing it, in 1999. Over the years, the collection has been broken up and sold piecemeal at auction — a tragedy for horology students who could benefit from seeing such a wide collection in one place, especially today.
The Graves Supercomplication first came up for auction in 1999, right after the closing of the Time Museum. The Sheikh had been a figure that loomed very huge in the collecting world – a New York Times obit noted that as Qatar’s minister of culture, with a big ranging brief to collect artworks for five museums in Doha, he spent around $1.5 billion; he was also well famous as a private collector. He said, “I don’t feel like I have to compete for everything. But when a great work of art is for sale, it is never too expensive.”
Clearly price was no object for the Sheikh in 1999, but things were different in 2014 – a London court froze $15 million of the Sheikh’s assets that year, “as part of a dispute over unpaid bills to auction houses,” said the Times. The winning bid was placed by none other than Aurel Bacs, who made the bid on behalf of a today still unknown, but apparently very determined, client.
The record price of the watch has more or less to do with its performance as a Patek Philippe watch replica. Of course, the original owner’s fame was not a factor. Henry Graves was I am sure in his own right, an interesting and worthy individual – I don’t think that you become an ultra-wealthy financier in the age of robber barons by being a pushover – but I find no evidence of any more brutal exploitation of the working class than was necessary to maintain his place in society. In fact, he seemed to be a relatively reclusive man, more or less a mainstay of New York society