On 11 June 2013 the most important watch in this auction season was auctioned: the Patek Philippe Grande Complication “Stephen Palmer” reached a record price of more than 2.2 million US dollars in the New York headquarters of the auction house Christie’s. A lot of ash for a clock. And probably not too much.
Record Price For A Patek Grande Complication
The announcement came almost with the pathos of a routine act. But the auction object was a very special piece of clock history. After all, “Stephen Palmer” went to the very first Grande Complication of Patek Philippe, for which an estimate of 1.5 million dollars had been estimated. “I take that with great pleasure,” the auctioneer said when he received an offer for $ 1.8 million. But there was still no reason to determine the market price.Once again, the particularity of the oeuvre to be auctioned was referred to.Once again lovers and capital investors, private and commercial were encouraged to continue. Finally, the clock landed for 1.9 million dollars under the hammer.
If you add a premium and a tax, this makes a total price of 2,251,750 dollars (EUR 1,695,000) to be paid by the auction buyer. Although this is the highest value ever achieved for a Patek Philippe Grande Complication, perhaps one or other interested observer may have expected an even more exciting maximum. Finally, some seemingly less spectacular watch the manufacturer has already achieved higher bids in the recent past.
The First Patek Philippe Grande Complication
The American private collector, who finally won the contract, has secured the page 1 of a Patek chapter, which was not known for a long time. Before the clock appeared at Christie’s, it was assumed that the first Grande
Complication of Patek Philippe would not have been commissioned until 1910. However, the enclosed purchase documents for the Stephen Palmer Grande Complication show that this watch was already sold to its name provider ten years earlier and was already manufactured in 1898.
The pocket watch, which can be identified as the first Patek Philippe Grande Complication, has a perpetual calendar, moon phase calendar, minute repetition with Grande and Petite Sonnerie and a chronograph with a rattrap function. Remarkable is the flawless condition of the watch: All parts are original and have survived the last century as good as undamaged. The corresponding certificates have also been retained.
The fact that Patek Philippe achieved legendary status due to its manufacture of highly complex movements makes this watch all the more historic and interesting for collectors. Let us take a closer look at the fact that the specimen comes from a time when, compared with today, much less technical tools were available for production, the mechanical inner life of this Grande Complication is all the more remarkable. Worth mentioning is the use of 19-carat rose gold, which was unusual for the time at the turn of the 20th century. Most of the high-quality pocket watches were held in yellow-gold cases at that time.
Guaranteed For Records At Auctions
No other watchmaker is so often in demand for credentials like Patek Philippe. The list of the most expensive watches, ever auctioned at auctions, is almost sown with timepieces from the prestigious Geneva manufacturer. In the top 10, there are no less than nine Patek Philippe watches. With the record sum of 11 million dollars, the “Supercomplication” from the possession of the famous watch collector Henry Graves achieved the highest price, which was ever determined at an auction for a clock. It has 24 complications and was manufactured from 1928 over a period of five years.
It is hardly surprising for experts that the timepieces of Patek Philippe are traded for such high sums. For them, the Grande-Complication models of the Swiss manufacturer are exceedingly stable value systems, where one can expect enormous gains in value. The reason for this is the reputation of the Geneva-based manufacturer, which is inseparably linked to the company history and the extraordinary creativity of Patek Philippe.
They also remained loyal to the present of their line and rely on continuity instead of daring experiments. According to Thierry Stern, the value stability as well as the often high profitability are ironically due not least to a conservative price policy. In contrast to the mechanically particularly elaborate models of many other manufacturers, the amounts paid for new watches were never extended, and thus ensured that the prices were not impacted, but – as in the case of the Stephen Palmer Grande Complication – auctioned yesterday Of the market.