Watches from two private collections by Reginald H. Fullerton and Henry Graves Jr. which were sold in an auction that preceded the event, totally eclipsed the results of the Sotheby’s Spring Important Watch & Clock auction. The undisputed star piece was Patek Philippe 18K Yellow Gold Minute Repeating tonneau-shaped timekeeper that snatched almost $3 million and became the highest priced watch ever to be sold at Sotheby’s anywhere in the world. All of the other pieces, from these two private selections that were available at the market for the first time, were sold out and earned the total price of over $8.3 million, heavily exceeding the prior expectations. These timepieces, together with timepieces from the Important Watch & Clock auction that followed (led by The Billiken clock) grabbed around $14.1 million, thus reaching the highest total value of timekeepers being sold by Sotheby’s in a single day in the past eight years.
The beginning of the auction day on June 14 started off with the offer of exclusive watches from two conjoined collections, acquired over the years by Reginald H. Fullerton and his grandfather, Henry Graves Jr. The selections are among the most amazing ones that have ever become available for bidding. Overall, it was estimated that the collections will reach somewhere around $4.5 million in total which was surpassed effortlessly. This sale featured the record watch price to be reached by the auction house and the special watch that made this happen was Patek Philippe 18K Yellow Gold Minute Repeating timepiece from the private collection by Henry Graves Jr. The product has a tonneau shaped case (with the length of 30.5 mm and the width of 30.5 mm) which is equipped with a round hand-wound nickel lever movement, supplied with a bi-metallic compensation balance. The back of the case bears the Graves Family insignia engraving, while the face of the watch involves a gilt dial with painted black enameled Breguet styled Arabic numerals with small seconds dial at the bottom, and with spade-shaped blued steel hands.
The Graves belongings included another timekeeper that caused a lot of excitement during the bidding and which was sold for the price that surpassed its estimated value for more than 200 percent. It was also a Patek Philippe, made with the case of the same material as the record one, but in a round shape (33 mm wide). It is Ref. 1436 timekeeper with a split seconds chronograph with applied gold Breguet numerals on a silver matte dial. Besides, its face includes two sub dials for constant seconds and chrono 30 minutes, as well as a tachymetric scale on the outer part. Inside the housing beats the mechanical hand –winding Caliber 13-130 movement with 25 jewels and a precision regulator. The watch was sold for $662,500.
The Prototype of Patek Philippe Ref. 2497 Watch
Another extremely rare timepiece on the auction originated from the Fullerton collection. It was the first Patek Philippe Ref. 2497, introduced by the brand at Basel Fair back in 1953. It includes a perpetual calendar complication with the phases of the moon and has applied cubist styled Arabic numerals on its silvered matte dial. It runs on hand-wound mechanical Cliber 27 SC Q movement with 18 jewels that is adjusted to temperature fluctuations. The timepiece has an 18K yellow gold round casing with the diameter of 37 mm, and it was sold for fantastic $722,500.
Unsold Important Watches
Compared to the timekeepers from two private selections, the Important Watch & Clock spring auction in New York seemed a bit anticlimactic. As expected, the most attention was on the rare Cartier clocks, with The Billiken timepiece stealing the show and earning nearly half a million dollars ($482,500). The price within the estimated value was achieved for Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 timekeeper with a perpetual calendar, a chronograph with register, tachometer and moon phases complications. The piece is one of the first models from the 1518 series and it was sold for impressive $325,500. Some of the highly anticipated watches featured in the auction, such as Patek Philippes 5033P-010, 5101R and 530, did not find the buyers.