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Patek Philippe watchThe Stephen S. Palmer Patek Philippe Grand Complication
No. 97912 (1898)
An 18 carat pink gold open-face, perpetual calendar chronograph
with moon phases
Estimated price: $1,000,000-1,500,000
Price realised: $1,701,690
A world auction record for a Patek Philippe complication.

A pocket watch by Patek Philippe which was sold for $2.2 million at Christie’s in New York last month has caused quite a stir! Never seen before in public, The Stephen S. Palmer Patek Philippe Grand Complication No. 97912 will send scholars back to the reference books to rewrite the history of Grand Complications – the most covetable and complex of all timepieces.

Until the appearance of the Palmer watch, it was broadly accepted that Patek Philippe did not make its first Grand Complication until 1910. However, documentation now shows that this model, estimated before the sale at $1-1.5 million, was manufactured in 1898. The 18 carat pink gold open-face, perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases, was originally purchased on October 3, 1900, for an impressive SFr 6,500.

Already a distinguished collector and client of Patek’s, Mr Palmer travelled to Geneva in 1900 to see the factory and at the same time acquired the Grand Complication and two other important timepieces. The pocket watch then returned to America and sat in Mr Palmer’s vault, virtually unused and with all of its original paperwork and presentation box. By anticipating all other Grand Complications by 10 years, it remains the best preserved and most complete of the Grand Complications known. Its discovery is a spectacular addition to scholarship surrounding Patek Philippe and Grand Complications in general.

Christie’s New York Sale of Important Watches was held on June 11, 2013. For more information please visit www.christies.com

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 4, 2013.