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How much would you spend on a watch? This one fetched €17 million... a world record

The handcrafted timepiece is named after its original owner, a New York banker,who ordered it in 1925.

A PATEK PHILIPPE gold watch billed as the most expensive – and most complicated — in the world fetched a record $21.3 million (€17.1 million) today when it went under the hammer in Switzerland.

The sale of the “Henry Graves Supercomplication”, a handcrafted timepiece named after its original owner, a New York banker who ordered it in 1925, was the main event at a jewel and watch auction held in Geneva.

The watch, which weighs more than half a kilo and comprises 900 separate parts, had been estimated to go for a lower amount, $15 million.

WATCH 2 Source: Screengrab/Sothebys.com

Bidding

But frenzied bidding pushed the price up higher, and the final amount paid was “a new world record,” Sotheby’s said.

The winning bidder, who remained anonymous, will have to fork out a total of $24 million, including the commission.

It took Patek Philippe five years to put the watch together. Graves’s name is right there on the dial.

Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s worldwide head of watches, said the sale confirmed the watch’s “superstar status”.

Bourne called it an “icon of the 20th century, a masterpiece that elevates the discipline of watchmaking to art”.

‘Symbolises strength, power and money’

A watch industry expert told AFP before the auction the timepiece was not just an immensely expensive accessory.

“This is not a watch you can wear. It is a watch that symbolises strength, power and money,” he said.

The Patek Philippe piece displays not only the hour but also a plethora of other indicators: a perpetual calendar, the phases of the moon, sidereal time, indications for the time of sunset and sunrise, and the shifting night sky over Manhattan.

Its Westminster chimes sing joyfully every 15 minutes

The watch has been on the block once before, at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in December 1999, when the Time Museum in Rockford, Illinois closed its doors and emptied its inventory.

That time, the exquisite timepiece went for a mere $11 million.

© – AFP 2014

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