Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Pocket watch fetches record price at Geneva auction

Around half a kilo in weight, the pocket watch demands deep pockets Keystone

A pocket watch manufactured in the 1930s by the Swiss luxury watch brand Patek Philippe was sold for $21.3 million (CHF20.5 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva on Tuesday. It is the most expensive watch ever sold.

Including commission, the anonymous buyer will have to part with $24 million, to gain possession of the timepiece. The watch was put up for sale by an anonymous seller who had purchased it in 1999 for $11 million.

The pocket watch was commissioned by Henry Graves Jr., a New York banker in 1925 and was only delivered to him in 1933.

 “It is a masterpiece which transcends the boundaries of horology and has earned its place among the world’s greatest works of art,” said Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s worldwide head of watches.

The “Henry Graves Supercomplication” pocket watch is also the most complex timepiece made without the aid of computers, boasting a total of 920 individual parts and 24 complications. A complication is any function that goes beyond merely telling the time.

The Supercomplication possesses some unusual and bespoke complications like the sunrise and sunset time indicators for New York and the night sky over Central Park in Manhattan.

Popular Stories

Most Discussed

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR