Like many rich banker, Henry Graves Jr. liked to collect objects as well as money.
Graves had been buying watches from Patek Philippe since 1903, and by 1910 he had started to commission them. Teams of Patek Philippe’s craftsmen, scientists and engineers took three years to design, and a 5 years of careful study and research went into this watch. it boasts an 18k gold design with 24 complications, over 900 parts, and two incredible dials. which was delivered to Henry Graves on January 19, 1933.
Yet this masterpiece that became known as the Graves Supercomplication never brought its owner Henry Graves Jr. the pleasure he expected. Far from it. After he had taken delivery of Graves Supercomplication in 1933 at a cost of $15,000 the Supercomplication seemed to bring him not only unwanted attention but great misfortune.
It was the time of the Great Depression, and Henry Graves Jr. had become a figure of public resentment after people who were starving and destitute discovered that he could spend thousands on such luxuries.
‘Such things bring one nothing but trouble,’ said Graves, who by then was in his late 60s. ‘Notoriety brings bad fortune.’
Just seven months after Graves received the watch, his best friend died. And worse was to come. In early November 1934, Graves answered the telephone to be told that his youngest son, George, had been hurtling in a car down a boulevard in Pasadena, California, and crashed, killing himself.
‘What is the point of being wealthy and owning such objects if something like this could happen?’ he asked his daughter.
After Henry Graves Jr. died in 1953. His daughter Gwendolen inherited the Supercomplication and in 1960 passed it to her son, Reginald ‘Pete’ Fullerton.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe was held in the Rockford Time Museum until it was sold at Sotheby’s for a record breaking $11,002,500 to an anonymous bidder in New York City on December 2, 1999.
The owner was later known to be a member of the Qatari Royal Family, Sheikh Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani. The 48-year-old billionaire, who was known as one of the biggest art collectors in the world, wanted to sell the watch and had it prepared to be put up for auction died suddenly, aged 48, continuing a catalogue of misfortune associated with the watch
And in November 2014 Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication pocket watch by Patek Philippe was sold for over $24 million dollars in Geneva, Switzerland.